Haunted Advent Calendar Day 1

To celebrate the release of our second Self Made Hero book of M. R. James adaptations – Ghost Stories of an Antiquary Vol 2 – we’re going to be counting down to Christmas in true Jamesian style, with a new haunting image and nugget of info every day.

On top of that, we’ll be giving away a copy of the book via Twitter every Sunday in the lead up to Christmas. Check the #MRJ2GIVEAWAY hashtag for details of how to take part.

Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to you, My Lad” is perhaps the best known of M. R. James’ ghost stories, with no small thanks to the Jonathan Miller’s 1968 BBC adaptation.

As “Whistle” featured in Vol 2, we knew that choosing the right artist was especially important for that story, because so many readers already have such strong visuals for it in their heads. Miller’s adaptation is a largely faithful one, but it does dispense with James’ narration, and most of his dialogue, in favour of a much more ambient (and incredibly effective) aural approach.

Given the way in which Leah and myself approach our adaptations – making it our mission to always preserve as much of the original text, and intent as is possible – we knew that we were going to have to find a way of preserving some of that sense of “space”, distance, and loneliness, which Miller brought to his version.  We needed an artist who we had absolute confidence would handle the story in a very nuanced and sympathetic way. Al Davison  was, therefore, a natural choice. Though a combination of traditional pen and ink, watercolours, and digital art, Al brought the story – and its mysterious ghost – to life incredibly effectively.

I believe he even has original pages of art from the story up for sale. Tweet or DM him at @AstralPunkX to find out more.

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