Torture (Trigger Warning)

Dear Insane Children, 

Do you remember your childhood? I once heard that when adults can’t remember their childhood, it suggests the memories were not worth keeping – that perhaps there was pain, sadness, and/or abuse in the past. I have some happy memories. Also, some are painful. And lots of gaps in between.

Never knew my father and never knew the true circumstances of my conception. Depending on whose version of that event you believe, the truth of my coming into being lies somewhere between terrible and not-good. Regardless of the “how,” the result was I was raised by a single mother. One who sometimes failed to select appropriate partners. And so there were… events. Ranging from being locked outside on a patio overnight to being thrown from a boat into a patch of seagrass (scared to death, tangled up, and almost drowned). 

Yeah, there was physical violence. But mostly it was psychological. Even the worst kind of bullies know it’s difficult to make excuses for a kid with too many bruises. And, from the perspective of the abuser, psychological warfare is much more “fun.” Taunting, tricking, and torturing a child without hitting… is something that can go on for years without anyone ever knowing. And if the child tries to tell someone? 

Well, “He’s just making it up. Has an overactive imagination.” 

I’ll show you a fucking overactive imagination. 

All of this to say… Alice’s torture within the asylum is, for me, a topic akin to the fuel rods inside a nuclear power plant. It burns and pulses within, providing an angry power to all my creative efforts on this franchise. It doesn’t define the main character but it is a prime motivator for many of her actions and reactions. 

And as much as I hate to think about my own personal experience with all of this… I hate to imagine anyone else (even a fictional character) going through this kind of thing. But we must go there… we must dive into the deepest and darkest moments – if only for the brilliant contrast created when our hero finally breaks free from the pain of her past. The light at the end of the tunnel is only as bright as that tunnel is dark. 

And that’s what today’s illustrations are about… 

These are glimpses into moments of terror and torture experienced by Alice in the asylum. 

I’ve made it clear to our team that we can say a lot about what happened here without actually showing (too) much. And that it is not our goal to produce something akin to “torture porn” – we won’t go there. That is not and has never been the point of this journey nor of these scenes.

So the main emphasis in these images is the relationship between Alice and her White Rabbit Plush Doll. And shows that the orderlies (echoes of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum) know the best way to inflict harm on Alice is to harm her furry companion. 

Once again, Adam and the art team are creating incredible images to illustrate these powerful scenes from within in Asylum Narrative. Really amazing (and difficult) work. 

There are some earlier versions of these illustrations. Ones that include elements I felt uncomfortable with… and which I believe will never see the light of day. These go far enough. 

Adam is now working on some concepts which pull together all of these images into one that represents the mental shattering that takes place within Alice’s psyche.

I appreciate you being along for this journey. And I hope that some of you will find comfort in seeing our hero endure and overcome these obstacles. Because that’s what this story is really about – showing that you can escape any abyss. I’ve done it. She’s doing it. And you can too. 

From Shanghai with Love, 


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