Category Archives: mac carter

The Top Comics of 2009 countdown! Number 3 – The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft (Image)

This was an unexpected highlight of the year, and maybe more surprising was the fact that it was on Image, when I would have figured it to be a better fit for Vertigo. No complaints though, as Image do a superb job – from the outside in, the whole package exudes quality, with those stunning pulp covers drawing you in. The higher cover price was justified, as each issue felt like a genuine event.

The tale itself is concerned with a tale of Lovecraft, who in his early career as a pulp hack, suffers with a lack of self-esteem, an unrequited love for a girl and has a fair amount of self-loathing. His mis-fortune continues, with him suffering a beating at the hands of sailors on shore leave. However, an encounter with a book brings the horrors of his imagination into the real world, with devastating results. And only he can rid these abominations from our reality….

As you can see from the page of art below, the artist on this title, Tony Salmons, gets the mood just right, conjuring up the eerie glow of an old Universal horror movie….

I loved the book, and you can read reviews of 2, 3 & 4 at the links below;

http://www.thoseweleftbehind.co.uk/2009/06/quick-reviews-of-other-comics-released.html Issue 2 reviewed

http://www.thoseweleftbehind.co.uk/2009/07/review-strange-adventures-of-hp.html Issue 3 reviewed


http://www.thoseweleftbehind.co.uk/2009/11/review-strange-adventures-of-hp.html
Issue 4 reviewed

I have a slight gripe because issue 4 came out several months after its solicited date, but apart from that, I have nothing but praise. A brilliant achievement courtesy of the pen of Mac Carter and the pencils of Tony Salmons (who created Aeon Flux for MTV). I hope that the purported movie adaptation
, if it gets off the ground, lives up to its source material. It deserves to be treated with respect.

Review – The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft #4 (Image, 2009)

A rather exquisite mini series comes to an end. The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft has been a cut above most comic book titles, with every detail – from the distressed, pulp novel feel of the cover, to the Jung quotes and the the obvious love and knowledge of Lovecraft – meticulous.

In this final part, Howard Lovecraft battles the unthinkable and unknowable horrors, while trying to rescue the (unrequited) love of his life. At the same time, the police are closing in on Lovecraft, while his ill Mother and elderly Aunts (who again put in a brilliant cameo appearance) strive to protect their son and nephew. The art is absolutely stunning, with Tony Salmons lavishing us with several splash pages that give full reign to the horror of Lovecraft-ian imagery. The story, courtesy of Mac Carter, celebrates Lovecraft’s journey from weak and fragile, self-loathing failed writer to heroic warrior, battling shocking supernatural horror and emerging as a celebrated, empowered novelist of the unimaginable. The plot rattles along as the art – all muted tones and sombre or rain sodden locations – propels the reader into the dark heart of the madness.

My one criticism is that this final issue has took several months to appear (in fact, the last one was out in July) and that has detracted from the overall impact of the series. However, it will make one amazing trade when it gets collected and published (no doubt in plenty of time for the movie release).

All said, in a year of some fantastic comics (Unknown Soldier, Sweet Tooth, Walking Dead, the final issues of Brubakers Daredevil) this 4 parter is right up there with the very best of 2009. A fantastic, intelligent and artistic triumph.

Review – The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft #3 (Image, 2009)

Image Comics, in my opinion, are pretty much a vehicle for the great writing of Robert Kirkman. The Walking Dead & Invincible – that is what I think of when I think of Image comics.

However.

In the last couple of months a new title has arrived that is of such quality that my image of image (sorry) has changed. This title, ‘The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft’, is that good that you would mistake it for a Veritgo title.

The clue to the success of this title is actually….in the title. It is a fictional account of a period in the life of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, as he struggled with the perceived degradation of making a living as a pulp writer, and the “Cthulhu Mythos”, that seems to be invading reality from his subconsciousness. Written with style by Mac Carter, who tosses elegant lines like this about with abandon;

(HP Lovecraft inner monologue)
Pulps are the wastelands. And few writers, if any, will ever rise from their vulgar depths to claim greatness. i’ve made my peace with that simple fact.

and illustrated by the brilliant Tony Salmons, who gives every panel the eerie glow of a Universal Horror film of the past,

the book is topped off with a superbly pulp-y cover from Adam Byrne (see top of the post).

The third installment deals with the aftermath of the attack on Grayson Chesser, who is the lover of Syliva St Claire, who is coveted by Lovecraft. The attack on Chesser was the result of monsters who “have slithered out” from HP Lovecraft’s subconscious and murdered 3, and with Chesser, nearly claimed a fourth victim.

With Lovecraft the main suspect, his elderly Aunts cover for him as he turns fugitive, while his fragile, mentally ill mother warns that the family doctor, Dr Brand, (who is only too aware of the madness that besets the Lovecraft family), that he could be the next victim that very night.

It is a beautiful, wickedly entertaining book. A real achievement, in the story, the art, the way the whole package comes together. Fantastic overall, and issue 3 maintains the high quality of the previous installments.