How do you read a book without words?
With your imagination, of course.
Smug jokes aside, Max Ernst’s The Hundred Headless Woman does have words, in the form of French and translated captions. They don’t help much. This really is a funny old graphic novel, with one picture per page, and none of them ever make any sense. Here’s an example:
I think Max Ernst made this image with collage techniques. I don’t think he used scissors and glue, I think he had some kind of lightbox. That little cherub is pulling the same face Australia does whenever Tony Abbott says something. And take a squiz at the bottle, talk about your wonky perspective.
There’s some kind of demented story here, and although I cannot understand it I can detect it through the presence of recurring characters.
So it looks as though Morticia Addams had a wardrobe malfunction while playing with her giant doll’s head. Which is actually creepy, for once. I don’t know who this Eternal Father character is, but he shows up a few times.
So overall the Eternal Father isn’t someone you envy. I’m guessing he’s God, or maybe Zeus. Possibly an aged Thor.
This Loplop bloke seriously freaks me out. Someone is going to die after twelve days. Ernst refers to Loplop as the Bird Superior, but I seriously considered him to be an avatar of Nyarlthotep before the door motif made me decide that he works for Yog-Sothoth.
Cthuloids? I know that it’s trite to make Lovecraft references when confronted with bizarre imagery, but that octopus makes it inevitable. This picture is probably set in Antarctica.
So yeah, if you’re over eighteen and Terry Gilliam’s animations from Monty Python’s Flying Circus don’t scare you, I think you’d enjoy Max Ernst’s The Hundred Headless Woman.