Maurice Sendak

Avengers in the style of Maurice Sendak, shamelessly pinched from here.

You owe it to yourself to follow the link and see the illustration to scale. It's wonderful!  Somehow I think it's a better tribute to Sendak than his Times obit, with this lede:
Maurice, widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83. 
Is there anything at all the Formerly Gray Lady won't render bathetic? Or into a dig at America?
In book after book, Mr. Sendak upended the staid, centuries-old tradition of American children’s literature, in which young heroes and heroines were typically well scrubbed and even better behaved; nothing really bad ever happened for very long; and everything was tied up at the end in a neat, moralistic bow. 
Pish-tosh! What American children had read to them until very recently was the Bible, Shakespeare, Grimm's fairy tales, Mother Goose, and uniquely American folk tales such as Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry and Johnny Appleseed. Later we added in Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. There's absolutely nothing buttoned-down, trim and neat in any of it. (They must be thinking of McGuffey's primer, which is not literature.) It's only recently we've got it into our fool heads that kids must be insulated from anything "real." I will pay you $5 if any reviewer at the Times has ever read any actual American children's literature.

So anyway...look at the picture. Sendak wasn't dark; he was hilarious. (Has anyone at the Times ever read Where the Wild Things Are to a kid?) Melancholy I'll give them... he was Jewish, for pity's sake, there's a certain amount of "oy" in everything, but that's exactly what makes his illustrations beautiful, sometimes wild, and deeply humorous. Here's a much better obit -- because it's interested in Sendak, not in its own liberal pieties.

from Little Bear Goes to the Moon, Maurice Sendak (see the angst in Little Bear's face?)
Shamelessly pinched from here.

So dark. Shamelessly pinched from here.

Having a wild rumpus and not at all terrified (same link as above.)

For hours and hours of pleasure in my own childhood and again in adulthood as I read to my kids, I thank him.