Mining the minds for recommendations.
Not infrequent are the Lovecraft references around here. Many to most of us have an opinion on the best stories, which flavor of eldritch horror is superior, what’s worth your time and what isn’t. In addition to several volumes of Howard’s work there are writers like Derleth and Two Gun Bob working in the same world, there are HP’s influences, those he’s influenced, movies, television, comic books, book books, role playing games, video games, (the best) board games (I’ve ever played), so much music, plush toys…
But like I said, I’m preaching to the choir here. You all know the other stories, the adaptations, the movies to watch and the ones to skip. That’s the game. I am going to throw out a few recommendations but mostly I am looking for you to tell me what to read, or watch, or play. I’m going to stick to print, but I’m curious about any old kind of thing.
At the Mountains of Madness
INJ Culbard has adapted a number of Lovecraft’s stories, and At the Mountains of Madness is a beaut. It can stand as a period adventure comic full of “Boy’s Own derring-do” and dread, but also satisfies in the end when things go off the deep end. That simple bandes dessinées style combined with a vet’s grasp of dynamic layout produces the wonder that Lovecraft excelled at building up, lacing with fear, and transforming into horror.
As much as I really, really want to talk about Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord’s stunningly on-point Conan series, I would be remiss not to bring up the Keith Giffen / Enrique Breccia bizarre, disturbing blend of Howard’s life and his writing that is Lovecraft. You don’t have to take my word for it, the TPB has an introduction from John Carpenter and praise in blurb form from Clive Barker and Guillermo del Toro. The story runs the basics but the art is something special, sketchy and textural, fit more for the pages of Métal Hurlant than Marvel Comics, though that’s what one should expect from the same publisher of Arkham Asylum (unrelated), Vertigo.
The Book of Wonder
True Detective has made Robert Chambers’ name more widespread than I think any of us ever imagined possible in the 90s, but my favorite Lovecraft is the Dream Cycle, so I have to sing the praises of Lord Dunsany (and his illustrator, Sidney Sime). Dunsany’s short stories have the speed and timelessness of PG Wodehouse but the subject matter of Scheherazade. Robert Howard was another person who took a deep draught from Lord Dunsany’s cup, also penning many stories where the clever brush up against monsters beyond comprehension. You can find the whole of The Book of Wonder for free on Project Gutenberg, at the very least give “How Nuth Would Have Practiced His Art Upon The Gnoles” a shot.
Everything had been planned, and they walked now in silence.
No track led up to the sinister gloom of the trees, either of men or cattle; not even a poacher had been there snaring elves for over a hundred years. You did not trespass twice in the dells of the gnoles. And, apart from the things that were done there, the trees themselves were a warning, and did not wear the wholesome look of those that we plant ourselves.
The nearest village was some miles away with the backs of all its houses turned to the wood, and without one window at all facing in that direction. They did not speak of it there, and elsewhere it is unheard of.
Into this wood stepped Nuth and Tommy Tonker. They had no firearms. Tonker had asked for a pistol, but Nuth replied that the sound of a shot “would bring everything down on us,” and no more was said about it.
Oh, I could go on, but I would rather you do. Who gets it? Who did it first and doesn’t get credit? What isn’t it but is so close you gotta bring it up anyway? I’m not going to answer all these damn questions! Get to it!!