★★★ 3.5 Stars
Genre: Dark Poetry
Publication Date: October 28th, 2008
Publisher: It Books
“The boy with nails in his eyes put up his aluminum tree. It looked pretty strange because he couldn’t really see.”
And there you have the general atmosphere of the entire book in one sentence.
À la Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies, a picture book in which a series of unfortunate children meet horrific, and more importantly alliterative, fates, Tim Burton’s Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy is a collection of poems about mutated children who horrify their peers and disappoint their parents to the point of cannibalizing them just so they won’t have to deal with them anymore.
Unfortunately, it does come across as a quirkier but weaker Gashlycrumb Tinies.
If you create any kind of bleak, monochromatic art, you’re going to have to deal with the phrase “Hey, you remind me of Tim Burton” a lot. I promise you this. Nevertheless I honesty do really like Tim Burton’s style and animated films. Corpse Bride was one of my favourites as a child and still is today. Not going to say Burton hasn’t been a big influence on me. He has. But with this, I expected something a little more macabre from his poems, to tell you the truth..
Oyster Boy and his dilapidated pals are cute. I love Mummy Boy, who plays “virgin sacrifice” at recess and has a head full of scarabs. There’s a lot in here that feels aimless and random though. Not quite horror, not quite humor, not quite surrealism kind of aimless. Still, it’s got clever limbs here and there. And up there. And over there. And nestled in the corner giving me that look I can’t stand.