Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror come in many forms including subtle humor. Edward Gorey was a master of this facet of the macabre.
Edward Gorey was born in Chicago, Illinois in February 22, 1925 and died April 15, 2000
Gorey came from a colorful family background. His parents, Helen Dunham Garvey and Edward Lee Gorey, divorced in 1936 when he was 11, then remarried again in 1952 when he was 27.
In between, one of his step-mothers was Corinna Mura, a cabaret singer who had a brief role in the classic film Casablanca. His father was briefly a journalist. Gorey’s maternal great-grandmother, Helen St. John Garvey, was a popular 19th century greeting card writer and artist, from whom Gorey claimed to have inherited his talents.
Gorey attended a variety of local grade schools and then finished his schooling at Chicago’s Francis W. Parker School. He spent two years in the Army at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, and then attended Harvard University from 1946 to 1950, where he studied French and roomed with future poet Frank O’Hara.
Although he would frequently state that his formal art training was negligible, Gorey studied art for one semester at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 1943. He eventually becoming a professional illustrator and from 1953 to 1960, he lived in New York City and worked for the Art Department of Doubleday Anchor, illustrating book covers and in some cases adding illustrations to the text.
He has illustrated works as diverse as Dracula by Bram Stoker, The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, and Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. In later years he illustrated many children’s books by John Bellairs. Gory is also known for his inimitable art styling in his own popular books such as The Doubtful Guest, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and The Headless Bust. Delightful.
No one ever said that Sci-Fi had to be dull and humorless.