Edited by Dan Lockwood
Self Made Hero – 2011 – $19.95
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
This is a collection of seven of H.P. Lovecraft’s best and best known stories done in graphic novel (read as: comic book) style. Each entry has been adapted by a different author and illustrated by a different artist. Well editor Dan Lockwood actually tackles writing three of the tales himself, but since he does an excellent job at transforming HPL’s words from short fiction to comic book format, I’m not complaining. That brings me to the first point when discussing comic adaptations; how well do the authors tell the story in a much more abbreviated format?
Thankfully here, they do it very well. All the passages are lifted directly from Lovecraft’s text, or if changes are made, the authors proved to be capable mimics. Naturally not all the words in 20 page story can make the jump into comic book form, but the key points and central themes are all intact, as are the beginnings, endings, and memorable high points.
Another key ingredient in adapting the original stories is the art. Lovecraft’s often long (winded?) and involved descriptions of locations and abhorrent monsters can be condensed from multiple paragraphs or pages into a single well drawn illustration. But is the art here well drawn and more importantly; interesting to look at?
Again THE LOVECRAFT ANTHOLOGY knocks it out of the park when it comes to artwork. There are a bunch of different styles on display here, and surprisingly I liked them all. That is strange, as usually with collections like this there is always an artist or two that I just don’t “get”. Not so with this book. Every entry in this anthology I enjoyed to look at as much as I enjoyed reading, with some being truly memorable and nightmarish.
As for what HPL stories you can find in this anthology, the list reads like a best of Lovecraft. “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The “Haunter of the Dark”, “The Dunwich Horror”, “The Colour Out of Space”, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, “The Rats in the Walls”, and “Dagon” are all found there. The fact that there are so many great stories in this Volume One, does have me wondering what will be in the second volume. However, based on the strength of this book, I’m definitely looking forward to what comes next.
THE LOVECRAFT ANTHOLOGY: Volume One is a great book for devoted Cthulhu cultist and neophytes to the wonderful and weird world of Lovecraft alike. Fans of HPL will enjoy seeing their old friends all gussied up with great art. Those who always wondered about Lovecraft but might have been put off by the Grand Old Gent’s dated and thick prose can enjoy the stories in bite-sized bits. It is the definition of win/win and as such, it gets a very high recommendation from me.