Edward Gorey received the ultimate birthday gift today — a Google doodle. The quirky Chicago-born artist produced a large body of macabre pen and ink drawings and cartoons over his lengthy career. According to Biography, by the time he died in April 2000, he’d published “more than 100 independent works” and illustrated “countless” others.
Alexis Kleinman for The Huffington Post wrote that the doodle is an “homage to Gorey’s most famous book, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which depicts the deaths of 26 children, each representing a different letter of the alphabet.” Gorey was well-known for creating gothic-tinged pieces that blended truly bizarre murders or death with everyday life.
However, Gorey’s immortality may be thanks to one key piece of work — the 1980 intro for PBS series Mystery!
A YouTube top comment from a poster called TheNepenther echoes what countless others have said: “I actually used to watch this show JUST for this cartoon!”
Maria Popova of Brainpickings called the intro “an absolute micro-treat of Goreyesque grim whimsy.”
But words don’t really capture the oddball appeal of Edward Gorey’s gothic outlook. You’ve got to look at the art. Here’s The Evil Garden, posted by fan Shivabel.
Edward Gorey’s playfully dark attitude has influenced many other artists, perhaps most famously director Tim Burton. His work is also often said to be the inspiration behind Nine Inch Nail’s 1997 music video, “The Perfect Drug.”
Edward Gorey was genuinely eccentric in life, not just in art. According to David Feeney for The Guardian, he attended every single performance of the New York City Ballet for 25 years — in a unique costume that matched an oversized fur coat with white tennis shoes.