Page 45 Review by Stephen and Mark
"The living are more transparent than the ghosts."
Behold a brand-new hefty hardcover with a die-cut cameo, and adorned with a golden heart-lattice frame, cake wedges and bats.
Too, too heavenly!
Within you'll find all seventeen issues of MEAT CAKE and their full-colour covers, along with new material created for this collection and a fashion-shoot photo gallery of Dame Darcy herself decked out as a lace-loving naval officer, bare-chested-sailor-strewn mermaid and genteel country lady, coming across in toto like a sublime marriage of Danielle Dax and Lynsey de Paul.
Magnificently individualistic, Dame Darcy has always been a Renaissance Woman: comicbook creator, musician, actress, fortune teller (I did not know that), and dollmaker.
From 1993 she summoned louche and sybaritic, macabre and mysterious neo-Victorian fantasies full of dastardly deeds, with decorative chapter titles that glide and slide across the mastheads. Think Emily Carroll's THROUGH THE WOODS in spidery black and white, a delinquent Donna Barr in a secret passage full of cobwebs and bats, or early Kate Bush lost alone in the woods!
"Any of your friends can become your enemy but a relative is one from the start."
In 2003 Mark previewed a less extensive edition thus:
"I love people who draw and write as if no one matters but themselves. Selfish storytelling, done for their own obsessions and somehow leaked out into the world for the occasional sympathetic eye to wander over. If Edward Gorey had a sickly daughter who refused to live in - and was possibly allergic to - the 20th Century, she would look and draw like the singular Dame Darcy.
"Willowy, kohl-eyed waifs summoning up the energy to pine for a similarly insubstantial beau, identical twins, ghost girls, animal-headed ne'er-do-wells all live here in the woods.
"A keepsake collection of the best of the first decade including the collaboration with Alan Moore. Darcy followed in Melinda Gebbie's tailored satin footwear by drawing the ever-slinky Cobweb stories for Alan's TOMORROW STORIES. Here she brings more attic-creaky, two-headed girl freak stories littered with romantic Victorian prose and consumptive females. Characters named Perfida and Hindrance are not to be passed over."
To which I would add stockings. There are lots and lots of tiaras, stockings and knives.
Here's an advertisement from 2007, and if you think persuading Joan Collins of even Elizabeth Taylor to endorse a spellbinding perfume would be a coup...
"Hi! I'm Helen of Troy.
"Thyme derives from my tears and thus shares my essence.
"Bathe in an infusion of thyme and you will radiate the power of a...
Looking back at us over her shoulder as a ship sails towards her between two ominous rocks, she adds:
"Use with caution!
"I was kidnapped twice!"