Amanda Palmer Talks About Her Conjoined Twins Graphic Novel ‘Evelyn, Evelyn’ [Exclusive Preview]
With the Dark Horse Comics release of Evelyn, Evelyn (a graphic novel interpretation of the bizarre band project by Dresden Dolls singer Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley with art by Cynthia von Buhler) only days away, ComicsAlliance conducted a short interview with Amanda Palmer about the book, a blackly humorous modern fable about two conjoined twins. We’ve also got some exclusive art from Evelyn, Evelyn, which also features an afterword by Palmer’s husband Neil Gaiman.Evelyn, Evelyn is a violent fairy-tale of the kind no longer told to modern children. Blame it on a more politically correct culture or just the simple, thankful fact that death is less often a part of everyday life, but the type of grim fables told to kids a hundred-plus years ago just aren’t around anymore.
The story open on the titular twins, who lose both parents only to be raised as caged chickens, until later being housed by child-pornographers at a camping ground and ultimately ending up in a low-rent traveling circus. And in a tongue-in-cheek reference to a modern tragedy, the twins are born on September 11th, 1985.
When asked if, as a New Yorker and with the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center towers coming down, whether or not that specific date was significant in some way to the book, Palmer said only, “Yes. It is. Definitely.”
Palmer and Webley’s act and story behind the music facade almost immediately drew controversy on its announcement for using a real world medical condition to pique interest in fictional characters, some going as far as to decry the creators as “ableist.” The online uproar got loud enough that Palmer responded to critics in a blog post, trying to explain her stance on the project.
From a creative perspective, there’s a fine line between gimmick and concept. Jason Webly and Amanda Palmer have gone through a lot of effort to craft the story of Evelyn, Evelyn, even creating a behind-the-scenes documentary, seen below, about the fictional characters.
The art in Evelyn, Evelyn by Cynthia von Buhler, a well-known children’s illustrator whose style makes the visuals all the more haunting, are top-notch and give the book a vintage feeling perfect for the tone and content of the story.
Now, whether you will find the dark humor or Evelyn, Evelyn to your liking is entirely personal. Much in the same way Star Wars fans may not be able to get into Harry Potter, the new book by Palmer & Co. might not appeal to fans of the Justice League, but regardless, it is a project that involves a high level of talent and execution.
Palmer answered some brief questions about the new graphic novel via email, and below, we’ve got an exclusive six-page preview of the book that arrives on shelves September 21st.
ComicsAlliance: Why did you decide to make a graphic-novel about the origin of Evelyn, Evelyn?
Amanda Palmer: The story is so incredibly theatrical! And the song’s images were so rich as to just jump immediately into the minds as grotesque and vivid visuals… It just BEGGED for it.
CA: How concerned where you with releasing a story that involves a good deal of taboo topics centered around children?
AP: Not concerned at all. It’s art. If people have a problem with it, I’ll deal with that concern as I need to. I actually think the content is rather tame.
CA: Although traveling carnivals and freak-shows are more a relic of the past, have any of you been to any modern equivalent?
AP: I’ve spent a lot of my touring time with modern-day carnys and circus people; they surround me and many of my friends work in that world. I’ve never seen anything the likes of which disturbed me; on the contrary, the carny and new-circus community i know is very loving and forward-thinking. Ironically, it’s the larger corporate circuses that feel most upsetting to me, in terms of the treatment of the souls on stage.
CA: What about Evelyn, Evelyn allows you to create music you wouldn’t on your own?
AP: The whole collaboration was a great excuse to spend time with each other as friends; and the book allowed us to take that one step further and include Cynthia, who’s a fantastic artist.
The making of the album was a real stretching and growing experience for both of us, I think. We had to see how our songwriting brains could merge and compromise with each other, which was a real challenge, but an insanely fun and game-like one. We spent a lot of the time writing just trying to amuse and out-do each other. That’s where, I think, the real magic always comes from. When you’re more invested in entertaining yourself or the person across the table than an imaginary audience of thousands.