The Lovecraft Anthology. Vol. 1: A Graphic Collection of H.P. Lovecraft's Short Stories

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32 Responses to “The Lovecraft Anthology. Vol. 1: A Graphic Collection of H.P. Lovecraft's Short Stories”

  1. No offense to the guy doing the voice-over, but I can only think of two people who could have done full justice to reading Lovecraft: Orson Welles and Vincent Price.  Oh, and maybe Rod Sterling.  Anybody else?

  2. edgore says:

    Neato, but read the stories Mark – Lovecraft is all about the overwrought descriptions of things that cannot be describes. Well, that and racism. Seems like the former would get completely lost in graphic format.

    • Hanglyman says:

      Seconded. There’s nothing wrong with a comic adaptation, but if it’s your first time experiencing a story, you really need to read it or else you’re missing out on a lot. Lovecraft is much, much scarier when your own imagination fills in the blanks.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I just went on a Lovecraft reading spree.  He didn’t really write very much and a lot of it is pretty unreadable.  He’s more meaningful as the progenitor of a sub-genre than as a writer.

      • Jorges Luis Borges, Michel Houellecq Alan Moore, Robert Anton Wilson, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, China Mieville, and pretty much every writer of fantastic literature currently drawing breath would probably beg to differ.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Maybe you just haven’t read any of his awful stuff. His body of quality work is tiny compared to his influence.

          • Yes, his body of work is small, and the stuff that he wrote that was really, really good is smaller still, but surely you would have to concede, your own subjective reactions aside, that there was something about his work that has excited and influenced a great many creative people?  Borges, who is one of the most universally loved and justifiably acclaimed writers of the twentieth century, admired him enough to write a story in his honor.  For those of us who admire Lovecraft , he essentially created his own genre (something very few writers do, ever), and in the Cthulhu Mythos he created the first great literary mythology of the modern, post-Einsteinian view of the cosmos.  His prose, so often derided, has a kind of irresistible camp grandeur, and is actually the only idiom in which the type of stories he wrote would have worked.  I appreciate that you don’t like him, and I respect that, alls I’m saying is maybe add an “imo” or something.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            …there was something about his work that has excited and influenced a great many creative people?

            I thought that was clear in my original statement. And if he had lived 20 more years, he might have had a large body of good work. But even Mr. Lovecraft seems to have believed that he wrote a lot of crap.

        • mat catastrophe says:

           Funny, you left Michael Moorcock off your list…

          Oh, that’s right.

          http://flag.blackened.net/liberty/moorcock.html

        • mat catastrophe says:

           I don’t seem to have a “reply” button for your reply to my reply. Maybe BB doesn’t want infinite nested replies. Maybe my browser is just stupid. Whatever.

          At any rate, you seem to be glossing over the fact that your “argument” pretty much consists of a single point that only reinforces what Antinous said: that Lovecraft himself is someone is “more meaningful as the progenitor of a sub-genre than as a writer”. You really didn’t provide any argument that any of those writers that you listed have ever claimed that Lovecraft was worthy of any praise as a writer, per se, and you only infer that they have ever said they felt influenced by him in any way.

          In fact, you say that they would merely “probably beg to differ”. That’s not a stunning argument for much of anything.

          • technogeekagain says:

             Remember that HPL was writing magazine serials and being paid by the word. A lot of his work was strictly potboiler, and I feel he can be forgiven for padding it when that’s what the publishers paid him to do.

            Also remember Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of anything is crap.

            However, I do find a lot of Lovecraft’s work quite readable; the trick is finding the right pieces. I was quite impressed with _At_The_Mountains_Of_Madness_, even if the ending is a bit weak; it’s an excellent illustration of creating a sense of discomfort by gradual accumulation of details rather than by jumping out and shouting “boo” while throwing a bucket of red paint over the stage set. The horror, if it catches you that way (and he leaves you to decide just how horrified to be about it) comes from threat and implication — “they’re here, beware”.

          • No, it’s you and Antinous who are talking baleful nonsense here:

            “You really didn’t provide any argument that any of those writers that you listed have ever claimed that Lovecraft was worthy of any praise as a writer, per se, and you only infer that they have ever said they felt influenced by him in any way”.

            I’m just guessing at what the last part of that sentence actually means, but  how often do you encounter artists who are influenced by other artists without thinking that they are worthy of praise?  Do you honestly think that artists are influenced by people that they think are shit?  “Wow, this is not worthy of any praise whatever, I’m gonna imitate the shit out of him!”

            I cited all those writers because they have all expressed admiration for Lovecraft as a writer – none of them have written exclusively in the “sub-genre” that Lovecraft created. 
            The writers who have written exclusively in that “sub-genre” – people like August Derleth and Brian Lumley – are of virtually no literary significance whatsoever.  Hence I don’t see how Lovecraft’s significance can lie in the creation of that sub-genre.

      • ashypete says:

        I find Lovecraft a polarising writer. His repressive, ornate, purple prose is something that has more in common with Henry Darger then it does with literature. A product of the mind of  a true outsider. As such, it might be an acquired taste.

        While I certainly have enjoyed some of his work (At the Mountains of Madness being a favorite), as Antinous , I find much of his published work to be a chore to get through. 

  3. technogeekagain says:

     It’s on haitus right now, but the webcomic _Lovecraft_Is_Missing_ has been doing a nice job of playing with the time and the mythos.

  4. Christopher Darren Horn says:

    Sweeeeet!

  5. mesocosm says:

    It’s difficult to get around the severe problem of racism that contaminates his writing, with his frequent references to the degenerate swarthy races and so forth. And this is unforgivable:
    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/On_the_Creation_of_Niggers

    I loved other aspects of his writing and imagination as a teenager, and it’s really too bad. I don’t know that I can overlook this anymore.

    • ashypete says:

      I’m not well versed in this period of literature but is not some of this connected with the ideas of eugenics, phrenology and race, which were current and commonplace at the time? Or at least still considered as viable explanations for the “way things are”?

    • Peter says:

       Michel Houellebecq wrote an excellent essay,  “Against the World, Against Life”, that addressed racism in Lovecraft’s fiction and its literary effect. He makes an interesting case for it being more than just an accident of history or an unfortunate character defect of the author to be set aside as much as possible, but instead presents it as Lovecraft’s method of presenting a profound and affecting expression of revulsion and hatred for existence. It is worth pointing out that the revulsion racial enmity is used to arouse is ultimately directed at otherworldly abominations that always manage to have some deep fundamental connection to the human.

  6. snagglepuss says:

    Lovecraft was, unavoidably, a product of his time and his environment – Along with his own personal failures as a human being, regardless of those times or environments.

    After first reading him 45 years ago, I could even then sense and infer the institutionalized (sic) bigotries that were so prevalent at the time that hardly anybody even noticed them, and which he so casually embraced.

    45 years from now, I’m sure that some kid will notice the cultural anachronisms of, say, William Gibson or Dean Koontz – (Hopefully, also L. Ron Hubbard and the bibble) – And will shake his (or her) head as they are taken out of the moment by their glaring stupidities. A Shame, that…

    That said, this looks enjoyable – In that over-wrought, post-Victorian way that Lovecraft so represented.

    • mesocosm says:

      If someone in the US argues today that Arabs are a savage, primitive race, can we just shrug and say, well, they’re a product of their times?

      I would say of course not. Whether or not there is a prevailing anti-Arab sentiment, people are responsible for their beliefs.

      I’d add that Lovecraft does not seem to me to be representative of prevailing attitudes of his day. I have a degree in early-20th century English literature, and I can’t easily think of another author of comparable stature who wrote so openly and so often about the superiority of the white race.  Can you name one?

      • snagglepuss says:

        Oh…both E.R. Burroughs and H.G. Wells pop to mind, although they were certainly more circumspect about their racism, preferring to couch it in pseudoscientific – yet culturally accepted – terms…..

        And – I’d think that a writer’s stature is generally something that comes AFTER their upbringing and influences have been engraved on their personalities. I’m not an expert on Lovecraft, but I do know of his deeply uptight upbringing – The home schooling, the family neuroses (And physical illnesses that were passed off as neuroses), and the atmosphere of inherent personal superiority, white privilege and class distinctions which was the air he breathed.  That atmosphere was also a very substantial component of the culture that surrounded him on the occasions that he ventured out into the world, and it goes a long way towards explaining the contempt for the world for which  Lovecraft was well-known.

        Mind you, I’m in no way excusing Lovecraft’s racism, no more than I’m excusing the horrific (sic) melodrama and over-written luridness that were his schtick. I’m more commenting on how what was once considered enlightened, daring and foward-thinking, in both the writing of fiction and cultural assumptions – Can, less than a century later, be seen to be naive, quaint and frequently venal.

  7. paulj says:

    I loved reading Lovecraft when I was a kid. I probably had an anthology. I was maybe 12 at the time, and I innocently thought any degenerate dark races were some kind of fictional entities, something like Orcs or similar creatures. In any case, it was great, overwrought fuel for an adolescent imagination.

  8. nofare says:

    For another comic book adaptation of Lovecraft, I highly recommend you find the work of Alberto Breccia. In his book, the monsters do remain indescribable. Poor scans here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/71313780/Lovecraft-Alberto-Breccia-Los-Mitos-de-Cthulhu-Comics-Historietas-de-Love-Craft

  9. oldtaku says:

    For what it’s worth, I’ve always felt the best comic adaptation of Lovecraft was by Jason Thompson:

       http://mockman.com/

    A couple of things that make this stand out over other the other comics, for me.  The protagonist (Carter) and other foreground chars are fairly simple (masking!), while the backgrounds are very complex and disturbing, and the lines are very wobbly and lacking regularity.  You’ve got a normal guy (low complexity, lots of white space, clean straight lines), surrounded by disturbing horror (chaotic, lots of dense black wobbly lines).

    Thompson really gets what makes Lovecraft scary, unlike some of the comics which just play up the melodramatic prose.

    For those of you saying Lovecraft isn’t scary, well, part of that is that his stuff has been so pillaged that it’s just part of the cultural landscape now. Like John Carter, by the time you get around to reading it, you’ve seen this all before because it’s been ruthlessly strip mined.

    For me, Rats in the Walls was still seriously disturbing, and I would love to see Jason do it, but he prefers the Dunsany influenced Lovecraft.

  10. z7q2 says:

    http://www.johncoulthart.com/feuilleton/2012/03/15/heavy-metal-october-1979-the-lovecraft-special/

    An excellent issue. The Druillet piece is astounding, I wish I had 256 pages of that kind of material to ponder over.

  11. I’ve only read the Mountains of Madness story, which I really enjoyed. What one other piece of his would you suggest for someone wanting to enter further into Lovecraftland?

    • UncaScrooge says:

      The best entrance to Lovecraftland is his short stories. I recommend “The Colour Out of Space” as a gateway — it is genuinely creepy even now.

      Some writers are praised for their gift with the language they write in and some writers are praised for what they choose to write about. Lovecraft’s writing has a lot of obvious flaws — the near total lack of conversational dialog is the most obvious. However, if you read his influences — Hodgson, Machen, Blackwood, Poe, etc. — you can see that he brought a great deal of imagination to the pulpy literary ghetto that is the Horror genre.

      There aren’t many great genius writers that dare sully themselves with writing genuinely creepy Horror.  Thomas Disch, Shirley Jackson and Michael Bishop are the only ones that spring immediately to my mind.

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