Books by Mervyn Peake

Released: Nov. 1, 2001

The late author/illustrator of the Gormenghast trilogy takes a place among precursors of the psychedelic era's underground comix artists with this heavily mannered 1939 tale. A sudden yen to capture a "preposterous creature" prompts pirate captain Slaughterboard to land on a pink island where purple grotesqueries such as the Dignipomp, the Balleroon, and the Guggaflop reside—plus a butter-colored Yellow Creature who becomes the Captain's prize, then pet, then inseparable companion. The pictures, originally black and white but tinted in various shades here, feature a variety of fantastical figures, from cork-nosed Peter Poop and other members of the Captain's misshapen crew to the dog-headed, human bodied Yellow Creature, all posed making languid, delicate gestures. This has aged relatively well, but the perfunctory story line takes such a distant backseat to bizarre detail and an ironic tone that even sophisticated readers will find it little more than a curiosity. (Picture book. 9-11)Read full book review >