Is It Just In The Mind, Or Is It Real?
Lovecraft by Hans Rodionoff, Enrique Breccia, and Keith Griffen is an evocative graphic novel paying homage to the master of horror himself. I must admit in my opinion, bringing anything Lovecraftian into any sort of visual medium loses something in translation, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate this particular interpretation.
In this fictional biography, Lovecraft is an odd lantern-jawed child coddled by his mother who dresses him up like a girl. His grandfather fills his head with scary stories and his father goes mad–ultimately ending up in an asylum. It’s then that Lovecraft discovers the Necronomicon to which he feeds sacrifices of small animals and unwittingly unleashes monstrosities.
In his adulthood, he’s still plagued by these horrors, but manages to write all of them down as stories to be sold in magazines. He falls in love with Sonia, an older woman, but his happiness is marred by his visions and his mother’s subsequent breakdown after reading the Necronomicon which he left at her house. When Sonia implores him to take her into his confidence, to tell her what is constantly troubling him, the narrative takes a turn for the truly bizarre and one can’t help wonder, in the context of the story, what is real and what is imagined.
The illustrations are in a dreamy watercolor style–the color palette far from the garishness of conventional comics. Instead, it has a sepia wash to it. Any bright color will immediately draw the eye to something peculiar and disturbing. My favorite parts were the splash panels, especially the ones depicting the nightmarish landscapes of Arkham. I’m particularly amused by the fat gelatinous-looking creatures with too many teeth yet dressed to the nines lurking about in the main character’s periphery. Perhaps they symbolize humanity’s vicious greed, thinly cloaked in civility?
This graphic novel is definitely worth a look-see. But one must remember that this is a story; anyone expecting facts etched in stone or a treatise on Lovecraft’s political views and philosophies will be disappointed. It’s more thought-provoking than terrifying, but I’d probably only recommend this to high school age kids and up.