#WiHM7: The Women Behind GUIGNOL – A Tale of Escalating Horror

Women In Horror Month

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 watercolorist Laura McCombs.

GUIGNOL artist & photographer Laura McCombs.

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.


Art Dollz model Elli is the first person to ever cosplay as GUIGNOL's villain, Lilly Langtree.

Art Dollz model Elli Diaz as GUIGNOL’s Lilly Langtree.

Elli Diaz
Artist & Model

Art Dollz

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.


GUIGNOL Halloween Horror

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.

Women In Horror Month


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.

Guignol - A Tale of Escalating Horror

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PHOTOS: Art Dollz Presents GUIGNOL Release Party at MIETTE

GUIGNOL – A Tale of Escalating Horror creators Brett Schwaner and Keith Hogan celebrated the debut of GUIGNOL Book One with a live signing event in New Orleans on Saturday, October 3rd, 2015.

The Official Release Party was held upstairs at Miette (located at 2038 Magazine Street) during Art for Art’s Sake (presented by the Magazine Street Merchants Association). The signing was presented by Art Dollz.

Brett Schwaner and Keith Hogan would like to extend a HUGE thanks to everyone who stopped by during the release party, as well as to Art Dollz and the staff at Miette for setting the stage for such a memorable evening. When in uptown New Orleans, be sure to visit Miette for an incredible curated selection of handmade arts, crafts, and gifts.

Photos by Caroline Watson, Keith Hogan, and Madison Leavelle.

GUIGNOL creators Brett Schwaner and Keith Hogan will next appear at Undead Con in New Orleans on Friday, October 30th, hosted by Tubby& Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop. More information on all upcoming events can be found here.

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GUIGNOL 1ST PRINTING SELLS OUT, 2nd Printing Announced
TEASER: Something Terrible Is Happening

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Guignol Release Party


When: Saturday, October 3rd. 2015 – 5:00PM – 9:00PM

Where: MIETTE – 2038 Magazine Street: New Orleans 70130

Facebook Event Page

Creators Brett Schwaner and Keith Hogan mark the release of GUIGNOL – A Tale of Escalating Horror with a special in-store signing appearance at MIETTE during Art for Art’s Sake 2015.

The debut novel from New Orleans author Brett Schwaner, GUIGNOL (pronounced geen-yawl) is the tale of an ordinary children’s Halloween play gone horribly wrong, but with a shocking twist.

Far from being a children’s book, GUIGNOL is recommended for mature readers, owing much inspiration to such contemporary creators such as Neil Gaiman, Becky Cloonan, and Emily Carroll. The first volume in an all-new on-going series, GUIGNOL Book One features over 300 pages of story and 50 full color illustrations by artist Keith Hogan.

A FREE Event Open to ALL AGES

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GUIGNOL 1ST PRINTING SELLS OUT, 2nd Printing Announced
NEWS: FREE Preview Begins March 22nd
TEASER: Something Terrible Is Happening

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Body Count 5

GUIGNOL – A Tale of Escalating Horror will be featured in the October 2015 issue of the BODY COUNT Indie Horror Zine.

Issue 5 of the underground print companion to the Body Count Blog + Podcast features an interview with GUIGNOL creator Brett Schwaner, as well as Halloween party music picks from illustrator Keith Hogan.

BODY COUNT ZINE #5 also features Marcus Dunstan (of the SAW and Feast film series), filmmaker Patrick Rea, a tribute to Wes Craven, and New Orleans punk rockers PEARS the Band, who recently signed to Fat Wreck Chords.

BODY COUNT ZINE #5 is available for pre-order through September 30th. Visit the Body Count Blog for additional details.

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Guignol On Sale Now


GUIGNOL 1ST PRINTING SELLS OUT, 2nd Printing Announced
NEWS: FREE Preview Begins March 22nd
TEASER: Something Terrible Is Happening

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GUIGNOL 1ST PRINTING SELLS OUT, 2nd Printing Announced

Obscurity Publishing
Obscurity Publishing has announced that the 1st printing of GUIGNOL – A Tale of Escalating Horror has officially SOLD OUT.

A 2nd printing will begin shipping the week of September 8th, 2015.

1st printing orders for the debut volume of GUIGNOL, the illustrated horror/adventure series from New Orleans indie-creators BRETT SCHWANER and KEITH HOGAN, ended on July 31, 2015. All orders received before that date will be filled with limited 1st printing copies.

2nd printing copies are now available for pre-order via the GUIGNOL webstore.

GUIGNOL – A Tale of Escalating Horror is the illustrated tale of a children’s Halloween play gone horribly wrong, but with an unexpected twist. Book One features over 300 pages of story by author Brett Schwaner and 50 full color illustrations by Keith Hogan. Preview the first 100 pages right here.

GUIGNOL is RECOMMENDED FOR MATURE READERS, and draws inspiration from  modern adult horror classics as THE WALKING DEAD and BATTLE ROYALE, as well as the works of  NEIL GAIMAN, EMILY CARROLL, and BECKY CLOONAN.

GUIGNOL 2nd PrintingCurrently shipping to the USA/ Canada/ UK/ EU/ Australia

Available in 120+ countries Worldwide starting September 2015

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Guignol Cover

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FREE Preview Begins March 22nd.


FREE Preview Begins March 22nd.

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Something Terrible Is Happening.


FREE Preview Begins March 22nd

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