If you happen to find yourself in a Lemony Snicket book, be afraid and be prepared—to be laughed at. It is hard to find a balance between misfortune and humor, but Lemony Snicket, also known as Daniel Handler, achieves it regularly.
Handler claims that his inspiration came from the first book he ever bought, The Blue Aspic, by Edward Gorey. The story of a rising opera star and an obsessed fan, The Blue Aspic is described as “a heart-wrenching and oddly hilarious tale of unrequited love and the dangers of celebrity” by goodreads.com.
Edward Gorey was best known for his cartoons of children coming to macabre ends, such as falling victim to natural disasters, being carried off by giant birds, or being eaten by comic monsters. Gorey’s work, however, is not horrific— it’s hilarious. His style served as some of Daniel Handler’s greatest inspiration when writing A Series of Unfortunate Events, a charming chronology of the hazards heaped upon the heads of the Baudelaire orphans.
So, if you find yourself suddenly etched in a cartoonish fashion in a Gorey illustration, or perhaps parading about in the melancholy pros of Handler, prepare for misfortune and death. But be consoled by the fact that somewhere, you are making some reader smile.