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Graphic Classics Volume 4: H.P. Lovecraft - 2nd Edition by H. P. Lovecraft adapted
Edited by Tom Pomplun
Cover Artist: Front: Giorgio Comolo, Back: Simon Gane
Review by Gayle Surrette
Eureka Productions Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0974664898
Date: 15 January 2007 List Price $11.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Publisher's Page / Show Official Info /

When I read H.P. Lovecraft in high school, it gave me nightmares. The images were so horrific but looking back over the stories, I find that while he described things, a lot of it was described as indescribably horrific and my mind filled in the blanks. So, reading this graphic version of some of Lovecraft's most popular short stories was an interesting visual experience as well as a fresh look at some spellbinding horror stories. So, if you need a bit of a chill up your spine this summer -- this may be the book for you.

This collection of graphic adaptations feature six stories of Lovecraftian horror, but horror tinged with other emotions as well. Surprisingly, there's a certain amount of humor sprinkled throughout the nightmarish landscape.

"The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is a classic. The adaptation is wonderfully terse yet sets that mood of off-kilterness that keeps our main characters unsure as he uncovers some very unpleasant information about his ancestors. The drawings, as they should, fill in the details and meld with the narrative to draw you in -- even if like me you know the story and what will happen.

The art of Pedro Lopez for "Dreams in the Witch-House" is much sparser with more normal looking characters that aids the narrative in making us wonder -- is he going insane or is something really going in that strangely shaped attic roof. Is he being haunted and hounded or is he simply loosing his grip.

H.P. Lovecraft writing comedy? I didn't think so but here is "Sweet Ermengarde" or "The Heart of Country Girl".I was very mindful of the over the top Dudley Dooright cartoon and the villain has a mustache. It was a nice break in mood from the first stories. Who knew -- Lovecraft and comedy would go together in a sentence -- the book is worth this totally surprising inclusion to the canon.

"Herbert West: Reanimator" is told in four chapter, each illustrated by a different artist. The transition from one chapter and art style to the other was seemless even thought the style changed noticeably so did the narrative style so it fit pulling the reader along into the nightmare of the assistant afraid to walk away but just as afraid that he's damned his soul. I'd forgotten how much Lovecraft's stories turned on obsession with ideas.

Whimsy. Yes, that's here too. "The Cats of Ulthar" have drawing of such fun and whimsy it almost makes you miss the seriousness of the underlying story of animal cruelty and, in this case, a fitting revenge.

"The Shadow out of Time" was as eerily scary as I remembered. The art work has a comforting feel to it but the narrative pulls you along trying, once again, to figure out if the main character is slowly going insane or has had a life-changing transformation in his thoughts, or just a blip on his mental landscape. Again you get left with the unsatisfied feeling that Lovecraftian stories are known to do.

A wonderful compendium of stories ably adapted and illustrated. If you haven't read Lovecraft before start here. Then go on to the anthologies where your own mind conjures up the images rather than having the stage set for you by artists who pull you in to their visions while anchoring you to your chair.

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