Alice looks gaunt and goth in her latest print incarnation.
In a new separate, but well-timed, HarperCollins edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," the blond heroine retains her puff-sleeved dress and white apron. But a black hair bow evokes bat wings, and the pupils in Alice's sad, lined eyes are fanglike.
Artist Camille Rose Garcia knows her audience: "I have a lot of fans who like darker things."
Garcia's punkish, black-lipped Alice is a 21st-century version of a girl who has inspired hundreds of artists.
When Garcia re-examined the adventures for a new book, she noticed that the story is, in fact, grim.
"It is darker and weirder than I remembered it being," the California artist says. "It's like a bad dream. Everybody is really mean to Alice."
No wonder Alice looks so weepy in Garcia's illustrations, which complement the goth mood of the upcoming Tim Burton movie. (Movie-linked goth clothing, plus necklaces that say "Drink Me," are even offered at Hot Topic stores.)
Garcia's print version (Collins Design, 159 pages, $16.99) is already No. 6 on the New York Times' best-seller list of children's chapter books.
"I'm glad no one hates it yet," Garcia says with a laugh.
In a cheerful voice, Garcia talked by telephone about how her art is known for its pale-and-depressed, "Edgar Allan Poe-type" mood.
Born in 1970 in Los Angeles, the daughter of a mother who painted murals and a father who directed TV movies, she was influenced by Disney animation and cartoons. Those she reinterpreted
in art exhibits including "The Saddest Place on Earth."
About a year ago, a HarperCollins editor who knew Garcia's style asked her to produce about 50 illustrations for a trendy "Alice."
Garcia didn't want the book (marketed to ages 9 and up) to be "too frightening," and she's not entirely thrilled with the "Alice goes goth"
She emphasizes that she loved the Victorian illustrations by John Tenniel and wanted to pay homage to Lewis Carroll's original illustrator.
She even kept the composition of some of the drawings.
An adult who sees the Burton movie and Garcia's artwork may find the psychedelic feel of the mushrooms and Alice's potion enhanced. But the original 1865 story is full of reality-altering substances. Garcia doesn't think kids will be traumatized by her new watercolors of an Alice with black eye shadow and lips:
"I consider this a fairly conservative, classic version," she says.