Posted on May 14, 2006 by Flames
Most of us who love the horror genre have at least heard of H.P. Lovecraft. His influence spreads out like the tentacles of the beings that populate his stories–into movies, comics and role-playing games, as well as the works of today’s great horror writers.
Lovecraft is a graphic novel written by Hans Rodionoff and Keith Giffen, with art and cover by Enrique Breccia. Lovecraft, published by Vertigo, puts a unique spin on both H.P. Lovecraft the man and his creations. The story asks the question: What if everything Lovecraft ever wrote about was real?
The tale is a fictional biography of Lovecraft, following him from childhood through a good portion of his adult life. He becomes the guardian of the fabled Necronomicon, and constantly struggles to keep the minions of the Old Ones from crossing into our reality. He eventually decides that by writing about the Old Ones in his stories, he will ensure that they cannot cross over to our world. He puts the ancient incantations that seal the gates between worlds into his writings, so that each time someone reads his works, they strengthen the gate that holds the Old Ones at bay. The key, of course, is that people must continue to read his stories…
The strength of this book is its imagery. The book is disturbingly illustrated by Enrique Breccia—and I mean that in a good way. His painted pages range from highly detailed to nightmarishly abstract. Many of Lovecraft’s creations make appearances in the book, from the fish-like residents of Innsmouth to the grotesquely tentacled Wilbur Whately, who is in constant pursuit of the Necronomicon. Another strong point is that the authors never let the dialogue get in the way of the art. That’s not to say the dialogue is bad, it just doesn’t drive the story the way the images do. Anyone who’s read a Lovecraft story will be familiar with the tongue-twisting phrases like “Y’haah Shog-Yoggoth!” that are uttered throughout the book.
Overall, Lovecraft is a great tribute to its namesake. For fans of the mythos, this is a must-have book, and the forward by John Carpenter is a nice bonus. For those not familiar with Lovecraft’s work, this book may be a little inaccessible, as it assumes the reader has some familiarity with H.P.’s creations and the mythos overall. I would suggest reading the essentials first (Call of Cthulhu, Shadow Over Innsmouth, Dunwich Horror), and then deciding whether or not to buy this graphic novel, as the $24.95 price tag is not for the faint of heart. But then again, neither are the Old Ones…
Reviewer: Brian LeTendre