My first thought when I heard H’wood had picked up The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft to be turned into a motion picture even before the first issue had hit the stands was, “They’re going to make a movie of this?”  Now, after finally getting my hands on the first is thought is, “They’re going to make a movie of this!”

lovecraft_cov01.jpgPoor Howard Phillips Lovecraft.  Through his life he was a struggling writer, barely making a penny per word for the tales he would whip up for Weird Tales magazine.  This story follows Lovecraft as he begins to discover and create the mythos of the Necronomicon.  However, in this tale, what we know as a literary device dreamed up by a man who lived with his spinster aunts is pushed on the readers as the real deal.

I’m no expert on the life and times of Mr. Lovecraft.  I know the basics of his life, but I have no idea if he really was the tormented soul other comic stories featuring the scribe make him out to be.  And even though Mac Carter does have the right names, dates, and locations in place, it’s obvious that the events portrayed in this first issue are – shall we say – very loosely based on real life.  Or are they…?

Even though events are being stretched, it appears that readers are witnessing Lovecraft pushing through his writer’s block as he prepares to conjure his most popular and well know story; The Call of Cthulhu”.  And in the process, the writer may be becoming the very source of evil he is writing about, as a passing encounter with “the book” leaves him changed to the point where his dreams start to become reality – in a very disturbing and bizarre way.

At one point Lovecraft is accosted by two sailors, who proceed to beat him up and steal his money and watch.  Later that night, while aboard their ship, a horror from the deep attacks their ship, killing the two sailors, and the prostitutes they were hooking up with.  While Lovecraft thinks it is all a dream, he is shocked to discover the events actually happened the next morning.

While the strange events surrounding Lovecraft are the center of the story, it is is love of the local librarian that is causing him difficulty, and his dislike of those that do him wrong may eventually be the undoing for everyone in this story.

As far as the story and pacing go, Carter and artist Tony Salmons are able to take the language of film, and particularly the theories of film editing, and use them in a way that makes for natural transitions between locations and times, making the comic book read more like a movie.  And if this is the blueprint for the coming movie, then I can say I’m nearly ready to plunk my nickel down for a ticket.  Providing the rest of the series turns out to be as engaging as the first issue…

The problem with a lot of mini-series lately is they start of strong, but by the end, they’ve totally run out of steam, limping across the finish line and disappointing the reader.  I’m hopeful that this series continues strong and Carter is able to deliver a well told tale in three more issues.  I’m most concerned the series will end like an episode from either The New Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkness, or Spielberg’s Amazing Tales, where a writer is being tormented by these little creatures, and at the end of the episode, the creatures tell the writer the only way to keep them in line is to write about them. If this is the eventual reveal of this mini-series, I’ll really be disappointed.

H.P. Lovecraft is a master of the horror genre.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a huge following.  Those fans that are out there have probably already purchased this issue, but if you aren’t familiar with his works, then this might be a good series to jump on as an introduction to his prose.  The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft is deserving of 4 out of 5 Stars.


The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Bert
    April 17, 2009 at 12:00 pm — Reply

    Too bad most reviewers don’t seem to be Lovecraft fans. Vertigo did a comic back in 2003, called Lovecraft, that told the same basic story, but a lot better, both in writing and in art. I found this comic pretentious, and dull.

  2. Mike Keller
    April 17, 2009 at 12:37 pm — Reply

    Wait (Ph’nglui) Stephen, are you (mglw’nafh) trying to say (wgah’nagl) that the whole thing (fhtagn!) is some kind of ‘mythos’??

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