Throughout history, one of literature’s most powerful attributes has undoubtedly been its ability to engage the imagination by letting readers conjure up mental images of its narrative worlds and the characters that inhabit them. Thankfully, the Internet is here to rob us of that last shred of mystery.
Brian Joseph Davis, co-founder of short fiction magazine Joyland, recently launched The Composites, a Tumblr devoted to illustrations of famous literary characters that Davis creates using law enforcement composite sketch software and authors’ descriptions. Finally, you can stare into the creepily rendered eyes of Humbert Humbert or Blood Meridian’s Judge Holden (whom Davis compares to a “middle-aged Billy Corgan”), brought to unsettling, fascinating visual life. You can also now rub in David Fincher’s face all the things he got wrong about Lisbeth Salander as portrayed by “The Roons,” or Helena Bonham Carter as Marla Singer (pretty close, actually).
Davis takes suggestions, as long as they’re interesting and descriptive, so allow curiosity to get the best of you, and go demand a sketch of James O. Incandenza or whatever.