Friday, October 10, 2014

Dave Mckean: The Arcane The Image

To look into the art of Dave Mckean is to look into places of unlimited intrigue, depth and range. The works are window openings into a mysterious and arcane psyche. The portals are many and vast as a journey outward into the stars or equally inward to the micro biotic multi-verses. 

                                            Mckean seduces and captures with the creations of his unbridled talent and imagination. His worlds are mystical, magical potions of the best alchemy. Mirror Mask, The Sandman, Wolves in the Wall, Coraline are among the stories, novels and films of Dave Mckean. They are all collaborations in part with his colleague/friend; the much admired writer Neil Gaiman.
The work can be dark, foreboding and something strange as that of a counter-culture artist. Mckean’s art is not repellant like many other counter-culturists but inviting and dreamlike without being the stuff of nightmares.    

In 1993 DC Comics would introduce their now legendary line of graphic novels; Vertigo. Editor Karen Berger would enlist writer Neil Gaiman for the initial series of books; “Sandman.” The entire line of books including Gaiman’s “Sandman” were targeted for mature readers and are among the most popular and celebrated of the Horror/Fantasy genre. Dave Mckean would join “Sandman” as official cover artist mid-way through it’s run and his work would become the art most associated with “Sandman.” They are also among Mckean’s most recognizable and original creations. “Sandman would be described as:

“A comic strip for Intellectuals.”

Norman Mailer

Another author from the Vertigo Line; Grant Morrison had earlier (1989) penned the then radical hard-cover novel, “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.” His was a Dark Knight Tale remarkably conceived and illustrated with Mckean’s extraordinary graphics and evocative paintings. It remains a land-mark achievement and is in every sense a classical marriage of prose and image.

As a film maker; Mckean’s seminal work to date is “Mirror Mask.” It is yet another brilliant collaboration with Neil Gaiman and The Jim Henson Company. The plot is a variation of Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.” The look is visually stunning with the definitive style of Mckean’s best product. It is memorable as a cult film with a distinct “indie” flavor. 

The reflective study of the works of Dave Mckean is a perfect start for a breezy October evening and then on; into the night.

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