The Call of Cthulu: a Graphic Novel, by H.P. Lovecraft, adapted and illustrated by Dave Shephard

I have lived and worked in H.P. Lovecraft's home town of Providence for many years, just down the street from one of his houses of horror (the Shunned House), and so I've picked up, by osmosis, a general familiarity with the monstrous Cathulu, but the original short story has floated off to the side of my tbr list for ages.  So when I was offered a review copy of the new graphic novel version of The Call of Cthulu, from Canterbury Classic's new  Dark Tales series (April 2018), I seized upon it happily, as a chance to encounter Cthulhu in a more palatable form than Lovecaft's 90 year old original.

An evil alien god, Cthulhu, haunts the dreams of  the unfortunate Henry Wilcox.  He consults a professor, who then dies suddenly, leaving it to his nephew to figure out just what evil being was haunting Wilcox.  The nephew travels around the world, following rumors of cultists who await the rising of the Cthulhu and the chaos and destruction that will follow.

The horror is of such an over-the-top variety that it's not actually disturbing; more disturbing is that the barbaric cultists of Cthulu are all too clearly the product of the rascist idea of savagery vs civilization.  Shephard mitigates this somewhat, by making many of the cultists clearly white, but it still made me uncomfortable.

Shephard notes that he took some in his retelling to  make the narrative flow in a more linear fashion; not having any allegiance to the original this was fine with me.  The illustrations are vivid, the story engrossing.  If you like horrific sci fi graphic novels, and want an easy introduction to Lovecraft, this one is worth the read.

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit that Lovecraft holds no appeal for me, though I somehow feel I ought to read something because he holds cult classic status. The graphic novel might be a good way to get a taste, except that octopus thing would probably give me nightmares; the cover already is making me feel queasy. Dark tales are just not my thing.


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