GUIGNOL Creator Brett Schwaner writes:
GUIGNOL is proud to support Women in Horror Month 7 #WiHM7 with a look at The Women Behind GUIGNOL – A Tale of Escalating Horror. Women in Horror Month is celebrates the achievements of all women across the world of horror, observed annually during the month of February.
Women in Literature: A Radical Notion
I fully admit to being male, but I take the radical notion of writing women as ‘normal people’ with ‘depth’ and ‘complexity.’ Guignol is not ‘female-fronted’ horror, to borrow a dreaded term from the world of music journalism.
The very idea of women as normalized leads in fiction is still a relatively recent development in the scope of literary history. When you consider the entire history of written language, the vast majority of it has been composed by men, often about men, with women as an afterthought or accessory. Before Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter (a story written by a man; first published in 1850), there are no major female leads in western fiction, and it was not until the arrival of the many great female authors of the 19th century that women began to form self-realized identities for themselves in literature.
Guignol could not have come into existence without the hard work of several talented women. In honor of Women in Horror Month, we’re taking a moment to shine the spotlight on their contributions.
GUIGNOL artist & photographer Laura McCombs.
Artist & Photographer
Women in Horror Month Heroes: Ellen Ripley (Alien); Jennifer Kent (The Babadook)
Horrified of: the thought police
Laura’s artwork appears in Chapter 14 of Guignol Book One. The double page spread beginning on pg. 230 reveals a crucial aspect of the story – the twin “Sunset Over Still Waters“ pieces. Both sunsets (which can be viewed side-by-side in the gallery below) illustrate a pivotal recurring plot point in our story. The first depicts a sun setting over still waters as drawn by Guignol‘s Lilly Langtree; the second shows the same theme by Guignol lead character Maelynn, signed “MAE” in the lower right corner. Laura will be returning to contribute additional artwork in Guignol Book Two, as our tale of escalating horror continues. In the meantime, Laura is working on a series of horror icons on velvet. You can view two of the pieces – “Predator” and “Jason” (in-progress) below. Laura is a Louisiana native and graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University.
“A Sunset Over Still Waters” – duel watercolors by Laura McCombs from GUIGNOL Book One.
“Predator On Velvet” by Laura McCombs
“Jason” by Laura McCombs (in progress)
Art Dollz model Elli Diaz as GUIGNOL’s Lilly Langtree.
Artist & Model
Women in Horror Month Heroes: Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs); The Bride of Frankenstein
Horrified Of: exorcism movies
Elli is our official cosplay model, depicting Guignol‘s Lilly Langtree, who appears on the cover of Guignol Book One. Elli made her debut as Lilly last October at our official release party, which was held at Miette in New Orleans, presented by Art Dollz. As an artist, Elli started out making domino bracelets embellished with digital collage images, usually a mixture of horror and kiddie ephemera, including old horror posters and paper dolls. Her artwork has since evolved to focus on LEGOs (and occasionally the horror of LEGOs). You can see examples of both Elli’s bracelets and LEGOs in her gallery, illustrating the influence of horror on her work. Although Elli personally favors fantasy over horror (citing Neil Gaiman as being her biggest obsession), she grew up surrounded by horror-loving fanatics who gave her constant exposure to the world of horror. Some of her favorites include Stephen King’s It, John Carpenter’s Halloween, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Elli is a longtime New Orleans resident. She dreams of some day doing big art shows with creepy cartoony characters again. Elli will also soon be making the jump from character model to contributing artist. Look for her artwork to appear in the pages of Guignol Book Two.
Skull Domino Bracelet by artist Elli Diaz.
“Flores Para Los Muertos” by Elli Diaz
Artist Elli Diaz models some of her work: brick punk heart, aux cable earring, and scrabble rings.
Mae (left) and Lilly (right). Artwork by Keith Hogan, 2015.
Guignol’s Lilly Langtree and the real Lillie Langtry
Actress and Stage Manager Lillie Langtry (1853-1929), as “Miss Hardcastle” in her role from “She Stoops To Conquer” from the New York Public Library’s collection.
There was an actual person named Lillie Langtry who serves as the offhanded inspiration for Guignol‘s fictional villain, “Lilly Langtree.” Lillie Langtry (1853-1929) was a British actress and stage manager. Theater critics offered mixed commentary on her acting abilities, but she found success while touring in America and garnered a more positive reception from general audiences. She had a friendship with Oscar Wilde and is believed to have been the inspiration for the Sherlock Holmes character, Irene Adler. She was perhaps best known for her high profile affairs and for being a socialite. While Guignol‘s Lilly Langtree is quite theatrical in her own right, her overall personality and character arc draws little else from her real-life namesake. I created the idea of Lilly as the horror character that you see today when I was a sophomore in high school, constantly daydreaming about horror stories. It was not until the publication of Guignol that I finally found an appropriate venue for the character.
What’s Your Favorite Holiday?
All of the creators here at Guignol HQ proudly support Women in Horror Month. Thanks for reading along! Discover more about the contributions of women in the world of horror all year long at the Ax Wound ‘Zine + Blog.
To all of you who may be visiting for the first time, welcome to Guignol – A Tale of Escalating Horror! Follow along with us on social media for more horror to come: Facebook / Twitter.