Comic Review on Lovecraft Anthology Volume 2
Review of THE H.P. LOVECRAFT ANTHOLOGY VOLUME 2
From the website COMIC REVIEW
Review Written by NICK BLACKSHAW
Having recently read some of the works of H.P Lovecraft, I took on this review of The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume II (edited by Dan Lockwood) for two interlinking reasons: firstly, having read less successful graphic novel adaptations of well regarded literature in the past, I was sceptical about this approach to Lovecraft’s work. Secondly, I was intrigued by the approach that the artists and writers in this collection would take to a writer whose work is written in such a way that you make your own visual interpretation of it.
The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume II is a far more successful graphic interpretation of well regarded literature; each artist and writer interprets the stories in such a way that you can see and appreciate their interpretation. The first example that stands out for me is The Hound (adapted by Chad Fifer and drawn by Bryan Baugh); the only way in which to describe their aesthetic approach is cartoonish (I must stress that this is not a bad thing at all!) because it is such an odd design it makes the story of a grave robber who faces the wrath of a ghostly hound after stealing a jade amulet more stark. For example, the significance of the (literal) jade amulet is offset against the sepia colours through which the story is told, this is predictable, setting up the reader in their comfort zone, however you don’t later expect the SHLACK! of the protagonist killing the vulture as he tries to exhume another grave and the bloody climax of the story (the red pencilled over the sepia colours) leaves a chilling imprint on the reader’s mind.
Meanwhile, The Statement of Randolph Carter takes a similar approach to The Hound in that writer Dan Lockwood and artist Warwick Johnson Cadwell create an innocent, simplistic approach to their drawing (it is quite similar to Dilbert in that one expression says a lot for each character) which then allows the chill that comes with the final delivery in the story of something that is discovered in a tomb raiding escapade hits the reader with a big dramatic fist to the chest! (It certainly did me anyway).
However, this anthology simply doesn’t just challenge your expectations, it conforms to the popular gothic imagery that Lovecraft created. Pickman’s Model as designed by Jamie Delano, Steve Pugh and Jon Howard, create a classic interpretation of Lovecraft (as if Lovecraft designed this graphic story himself) but still has the power to hold your attention as a reader with the stark images of Richard Pickman’s paintings and the life like drawings which are akin to the work of Alex Ross.
The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume II has restored my faith in the graphic adaptation of well-known literature. The writers and designers behind this anthology have delivered work that only challenges, engages and excites the reader but is also instantly recognisable as Lovecraft which is a comfort. I shall be excited by another opportunity in the future to review work of such a high calibre.