I’ve mentioned before my love for adult cartoons, specifically lately Rick and Morty, and I’m looking forward to catching up on Bojack Horseman season 3 hopefully this summer, and last night I was looking at a cartoonist I’m following on instagram called Talon’s Treehouse and learned he has a youtube channel.
However, what I found most interesting on his channel was his “Digital Chapbook,”
The first chapbooks appeared in 16th century Europe and were notable for 2 main reasons: they were cheap to produce, thus they were cheap to buy. Originally, chapbooks were constructed out of low-grade paper and often illustrated with wood-cuts that had nothing at all to do with the text. They were marketed by traveling chapmen (merchants of trinkets & odds ‘n ends), sold to the working class and spread little ballads and short tales of comedy, tragedy, romance and adventure far and wide. They were, quite literally, the first pulp fictions.
Chapbooks mostly faded away once newspapers arrived and only retain a sparkle of life thanks to poets, who sometimes test their work in small amounts before reproducing them for wider audiences. Occasionally those who explore bookmaking as a hobby create their own chapbooks. Overall, however, chapbooks are by and large a relic of the past. Maybe…
My name is Talon and I write and illustrate the little stories that fall out of my head. As a kid, I fell in love with old radio shows, comics and Read-Along Books. This Dapper Rook Digital Chapbook is my way of blending all those elements together and creating something that really has just one purpose–the same purpose the original chapbooks had way back when–nothing, but to amuse.
So sit for a minute. I’ve drawn you some pictures to look at as I tell you a story that you’ve never heard before…
-In description for “A Dapper Rook Chapbook” series (link to playlist here)
The stories Talon tells in his chapbook are all very short (1 or less minute each) and so very strange. Sometimes they’re violent, like Old Lady Head, some are nostalgic, like Smolders of the Masquerade, but they’re all surprising and strange leaving one satisfied, despite his style borrowing the convention of unsettling endings from dirty realism more often than not. The effect that is left on me is a certain wanting for more, not just more because it’s strange (nor because you can easily binge watch all his videos in under half
hour) but also because I’m particularly interested to see the evolution of Talon as an animator. His growth in skill and scope is apparent but I’m also interested to see where the Digital Chapbook idea goes and how it will effect the future of digital story telling.
This idea of the Digital Chapbook reminds me of an app I have been looking into called “Hooked” which is an experimental medium for fictional storytelling in the form of text messages. I downloaded the app and will be writing about it on an upcoming Mystery Monday.
Anyway I love experimental fiction in all its different forms. If you have an experimental fiction story to recommend, feel free to leave a comment below.