“Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places.” ― H.P. Lovecraft
What is the Necronomicon? Cthulhu? Yog-Sogoth? Arkham? What is this ‘cosmic horror’ genre all about? Whether you’re someone that’s wise to this jargon, or just the casually interested, The LoveCraft Anthologies Volumes 1 & 2 have something to offer. After reading both graphics, I can now throw out the word ‘Lovecraftian’ when describing a film or event, and look snotty when I tell people at cocktail parties of how Stephen King once described H.P. Lovecraft, as “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” Over 15 different artist’s work is shown in the short stories of both volumes, keeping the perspectives of madness constantly fresh.
Lovecraft’s philosophical principle was that the idea of life was completely incomprehensible to the human mind and the universe at large, including evil in all its forms, is overwhelmingly indifferent to man’s existence. The quest for knowledge, a central theme in many of his stories, can end only in madness and destruction at the hands of powerful ancient and astral deities, like Cthulhu. Mankind is rapidly awakening these beasts from their slumber with its futile and ignorant attempts at a discovery of origin. Macabre describes something as containing a grim or ghastly atmosphere, emphasizing on the details and symbols of death. The Lovecraft Anthologies has this in spades, accompanied by virtual collage of artistic styles and representations.
The last I checked, Amazon was pricing both of these volumes at around $10 each. I mention that because, for the ranging amount of illustrations within both books, that is a hell of a steal. Most of the illustrators wielded great skill in the ability to create a mood of fear and mental disorientation, and many more have earned a place on my radar for their varied talents of design. The various illustrators allowed the repeated themes of ancient evil and mental deterioration to be quickly renewed and kept fresh while weaving all the chapters into one cohesive whole.
H.P. Lovecraft, the man, was an interesting guy to say the least. After watching the documentary on the man,shown below, I found his biography rather reflecting on the work. Many find him to be, including many reputable authors, a most singular influence on sci-fi and horror today. To many he was a reclusive and disturbed, bigoted asshole. Either way, or bits of both, there is no denying that once you read these graphics you will not walk away without retaining the knowledge of his hand in many of the works of film and literature today, and for the last 60 years.
Vol.1 – 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.
Vol. 2 – Pickman’s Model, The Temple, From Beyond, He, The Hound, The Nameless City, The Picture in the House, The Festival, and The Statement of Randolph Carter
Illustrators with links to personal websites. Great artwork on them, take a peek at what you will be seeing in the anthologies.
This award-winning documentary by Wyrd Studios is great if you have the time and want to discover the history of H.P.Lovecraft, how his life may have influenced his stories and commentaries by John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, and others.
“The innovative Lovecraft anthology series continues with a chilling companion to the first volume. Beautifully illustrated and adapted with great craft, this graphic collection explores Lovecraft’s favorite themes: forbidden knowledge and insanity. The art is brilliant in its variety, each style perfectly matched to the story, whether it’s about a painter obsessed with ghouls, a submarine stuck in a mysterious city on the ocean floor, or semi-fluid beings floating in from the deep cosmos. Reader, beware!”