Oh the joy of the Lovecraftian genre of books and comics. The legacy of H.P. Lovecraft and his weird tale brand of horror/science fiction has been a real pleasure to put in my brain over the course of my life. The Cthulhu Mythos seems to also have been a boon to literature and comics. The grip of comics that reference the Mythos is staggering in size, execution, and level of entertainment. A a whole the Cthulhu Mythos genre can be rather hit or miss, so this was a nice discovery in the dollar comics pile at my local comic books shop. Using the anthology style of comics the Cthulhu Mythos comes to life in three stories in this first issue of Cthulhu tales.
First up is “The Eyes of Madness,” penned by Steve Niles with art by Chee the tale is of a priest who comes into contact with a man who claims to see the hidden reality behind the world. The strange man denies the faith the priest espouses and in turn angers the congregation that the priest serves. Angers them to the point of riling them up into a lynch mob. The man confronts the priest, literally pulling his own eyes out, and reveals to the priest that if he casts those eyes into the air after the man dies, that the priest will see as he sees. Naturally the priest casts the eyes into the air, and the sights that he sees drive him to a lethal crisis of faith. It is a gruesome and creepy story that is fleshed out by a dark yet vivid art style that bursts off of the page like any great color horror comic should.
“The Farm,” has a more neutral color palate to it. Kids sneaking onto a body farm are all illustrated by Sunder Raj in grays and browns, giving a look that implies sneaking about at dusk. In a very Stand by Me kind of scenario the kids are on the body farm so they can check out a dead body. Instead they are being stalked by something that doesn’t want them on the Property. It isn’t a man, or the cops though, it is a creature, and soon it has the kids trapped. Luck for them a cop with a shotgun is there to gun down the creature and the kids bolt. Leaving them with a tale to tell their grand kids about the time they escaped a monster.
Finally, “Exactly the Right Word,” tells a tale of sports fanaticism gone evil. A little ditty from Tom Peyer, with the same darkly lurid art of Chee that is featured in the first story. A group of guys are fanatics that perform the same good luck rituals to keep their team winning. Soon the ritual turns to something more, when forces beyond their control find a way to usurp them. It is a short short piece but done well. A great little chiller.
These kind of anthology comics are great, like mix tapes they give you a taste of several artists and writers, while keeping them all inside the same mythology. This went from dollar comic bin, straight to my heart, and I picked up the full run. Can’t wait to read them all.