Map of Hell aired on National Geographic in the US last night. Presented by Danny Trejo – the Hollywood actor best known for playing menacing bad guys – the feature-length documentary maps the evolution of ideas about the underworld, Satan and eternal punishment.
Peepshow was asked to illustrate visions of hell through the ages, from Dante’s Inferno to early Christian descriptions of a fiery place where sinners burn in darkness. The stylised sequences combine live action footage with composited animation and offer a contemporary take on some familiar imagery.
Keen to avoid cliches and do something different to their previous TV work, Peepshow looked to graphic novels, film posters and the work of comic book artist Jack Kirby to create the show’s graphics. With a limited colour palette inspired by comic book printing, sequences have a slightly psychedelic feel.
The collective was asked to create two types of sequences: visions of hell outlined by poets and philosophers through the ages and sequences which contextualise those visions by depicting the eras in which they were conceived. In these scenes, statues of Homer, Plato and other key thinkers are pictured alongside images of an erupting Vesuvius or the burning of Rome, illustrating events that might have influenced their ideas.
“These stories and ideas have been illustrated and visualised many times before so we were keen to make something a little different,” say Peepshow’s Miles Donovan and Pete Mellor. “During the initial conversation about working on the show, the channel