Tackling the traditional trope of ‘learn your alphabet’ children’s books (C is for Cake, D is for Duck) Nathan O. Marsh inverts and plays with words in a way which is both intelligent and inventive. Instead of D being for duck or dog, instead it's illustrated by ‘Dammit Diane, don’t do drugs and date the devil’. Classic.
The best thing about these illustrations is the attention to detail. The disappointed dad has a disgruntled speech bubbles which says ‘discouragement’ whilst he holds a ‘dumb Doberman’. Meanwhile, Diane drapes her arm over the devil who has a ‘dinosaur-esque demeanor' as they are watched by a ‘disinterested duck’.
Although possibly not the go-to method to teach a young child their ABCs (a less esoteric alternative might be E is for Eucharist: A Catholic Alphabet Book) Marsh's illustrations are fun and informative. You could spend hours poring over each letter, finding new characters and creatures each time as he tackles themes of loneliness with Lloyd and Liam, underwater goings on with the hidden hermaphrodite hooker and a whole host of nightmarish monsters which can be navigated with a meticulous map.
We asked a few alliterative questions to the creator of these excellent etchings to find out more...
Is alliteration always an arduous approach to actualising your agenda?
It varies. A variety of vivid verbs is vital for vignettes.
How temporally taxing is it to tack together a tapestry of tales?
A dozen days. But it's a diversity of different disasters that distinguishes my day-to-day, so distractions can drag out drafting a damn decade. It's deliverance when done, sometimes dissatisfaction. I deal by driving on.
Why are words wondrous?
Could be their capacity to communicate through clever combination, or in how cultures change them over centuries, creating compact yet complex capsules of connotation.
Read the rest of 'F' to find out about dreams...
Why do perfectly patterned phonetics perform pleasingly?
Abandoning alliteration for accurate answers: I dunno. Human fondness of repetition and pattern is ubiquitous. It can probably be lumped in with the other idiosyncrasies early brains sprouted to sort out an interpretation of the world. But it's an entertaining stunt when an unnatural restriction on words continues to function all the better.
Intricate ink itchings imply in-depth inklings of imaginative intimations?
(Or... You must have a wide vocabulary and an instinctive knack for story-telling to keep creating stories using this technique! What’s your background to this project?)
Well I read some books and don’t do much other than draw stuff, those are my qualifications.
Can you convey how carefully you create these comic characters?
Ideas just arrive. The characters are sort of already there with their attitudes and intentions when I look for them. My favourite part is making sure their posture and costuming properly describes them. So I guess where they're really being created is in the focus on detail. Before this I wrote fake non-fiction, and similarly I had to figure out a broad evolutionary history for my animals before I could draw them.
Read the rest of 'P' and see if Percy wriggles free here
Letter C is a dog instead of a cat because I’m a renegade.
To read more of the Alphabet Apocrypha click here!