By Michael Moon
Henry Darger (1892–1973) was once a health facility janitor and an immensely effective artist and author. within the first many years of maturity, he wrote a 15,145-page fictional epic, within the nation-states of the substitute. He spent a lot of the remainder of his lengthy lifestyles illustrating it in amazing drawings and watercolors.
In Darger's unfolding saga, pastoral utopias are time and again savaged via severe violence directed at little ones, rather ladies. Given his worrying subject material and the intense solitude he maintained all through his existence, critics have characterised Darger as eccentric, deranged, or even harmful, as an intruder artist pressured to create a fable universe. Contesting such pathologizing interpretations, Michael Moon seems to be to Darger's assets, to the narratives and fabrics that encouraged him and infrequently chanced on their manner into his writing, drawings, and work.
Moon reveals an artist who reveled within the burgeoning pop culture of the early 20th century, in its newspaper comedian strips, pulp fiction, illustrated children's books, and heavily produced non secular artwork. Moon contends that Darger's paintings merits and rewards comparability with that of contemporaries of his, resembling the "pulp historians" H. P. Lovecraft and Robert Howard, the oz. chronicler L. Frank Baum, and the newspaper cartoonist Bud Fisher.
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Additional resources for Darger’s Resources
Darger’s apparent ability to recognize, and his willingness to acknowledge, that at least some other people may find him or at least some of his behavior strange and even crazy bespeaks a lucid self-awareness that seems to me to belie any assumption that his work is best understood as solely a means of escape for him from social oppression or psychic pain. Turning to Darger’s resources as a primary focus for understanding his work is a move I have made precisely to try to counter the kinds of analyses that tend to regard Darger largely as a pitiful character who escaped his miserable existence by allowing himself (or feeling compelled) to be consumed i n t ro d u c t i o n .....
No sir,” he replies, “and I’m sure that I’ll never find it. I’ve found all my stolen property but that. The picture amounts to nothing, and neither its loss. All that is necessary is the destruction of the remainder of her [Annie Aronburg’s] murderers” (519). Here, Darger through one of his alter egos expresses himself willing to “get over” his rage at God for not answering his prayers for the return of the lost photograph, and to (as it were) rejoin the more conventional revenge or return-to-justice plot that drives the other “good” characters in In the Realms.
Comics’ Tales from the Crypt. In scenes depicting the tortures the girl Agnes underwent for refusing to abandon her Christian faith, we children may well have found Treasure Chest more macabre, grotesque, and frightening than the ordinary green-ghoul fare our guardians worried about our consuming. But in spite—or because—of its undeniable scariness, the legend of the martyrdom of Saint Agnes fascinated some of us children. I recall our being less taken with the next year’s all-school play, The Martyrdom of Saint Tarsicius, the story of a pious Roman boy who allowed a mob of pagan males to beat him to death rather than give them the ciborium containing consecrated hosts that he was conveying to an underground cell of his fellow Christians.
Darger’s Resources by Michael Moon