Well it's Wednesday and the one day of the week when my Blog subject is pre-ordained as it's time to catch up with the doings of Gina, Cary and Rabby, who have been subject to a series of weird and dangerous happenings within the portals of the cyber world of Cloud 109 where they spend so much of their time. Cary has informed the rest of the trio, that the source of the grief is a virus that has affected the whole of the Cloud 109 site.
So here's page 8 as an aide memoire and hard upon it's heels is page 9 where they re-enter the Cloud 109 cyber lounge and listen to site controller Madge Crumb's reassurances, is this woman on the level? The earlier pages are at weekly intervals throughout this blog - hope you enjoy today's page.
I was working over the weekend on one of three pages currently in production and as is my wont as this page is particularly dark, I was hoovering up various bits of reference for creepy lighting efx and bizarre references to add into the background. In particular if you note the grinning head down at the bottom of my work page, I recalled the thrill of horror I experienced when as a callow youth leafing through a copy of Forrest J. Ackerman's "Famous Monsters of Filmland", I stumbled over a photograph of Conrad Veidt in the title role of "The Man Who Laughs".
The film concerns the story of a man who as a child is subject to a weird mutilation whereby a hideous grin is carved onto his face. The story is one of those masterpieces of silent cinema and Veidt who was a truly brilliant actor, conveys much of the passion and angst of his role through his eyes hiding the lower part of his face with a cloak. The moments when he does reveal his disfigurement are truly chilling, much in the way that Lon Chaney's unmasking in "The Phantom of the Opera" does.
So thinking about both Veidt and Chaney, I reflected on the lengths to which these guys would go to not only psych themselves up for the roles they undertook but also inflict pain and discomfort on themselves to add that little bit extra to their performance. In the case of Veidt's portrayal of Gwynplaine in "The Man Who Laughs', he wore a set of false teeth that were so constructed that they forced his cheeks back into a truly hideous rictus grin.
The results were so unsettling that cinema audiences experienced that delicious mix of repulsion yet fascination and it evidently seems to have been a source of inspiration for the young comic creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger some ten years later.
Colin Dexter cover gallery
40 minutes ago