I often wonder what H.P, Lovecraft would think of his cult status in the world of horror. I wonder if it would please or irritate him knowing that so many people not only love his works, but love to created within the worlds that he invented. I wonder if it would surprise him to know that books, movies, games, and even music have been created reflecting the ideas that he came up with. I like to think that it would please him, but in some ways HPL seems like the kind of misanthrope that would be more put off by his semi-famous nature. There is no way that he wouldn’t think it was pretty neat that his name became an adjective.
Speaking of Lovecraftian, the second issue of Cthulhu Tales delivers on the Lovecraftian chillers with another issue of three stunning stories of the dread God in full “colour.” Like so many other anthology style horror books the tales are short and to the point. Unlike many other anthology books there aren’t as many redeeming lessons to be learned at the end of each tale. Instead there are people that go mad, make deals with dark gods, and are consumed by corpses.
The first tale written by Steve Niles, and art by Shane Oakly is called “The Hiding Place.” Done all in black and white with some yellow and gray-scale highlights this is the tale of a man who evade the police by committing suicide, and the cop that had been hunting him for years. When at the coroner’s table a not to the officer is found inside the body things get really strange, and the officer learns a little more about the Elder Gods than he probably would have wanted to. This is a good little creeper that takes it self a little more seriously than the other stories have in this title so far.
Next up is “Katrina” written by Eric Calderon, with art by Jon Schnepp. There was something so visceral about the footage of New Orleans right after Katrina hit. All those neighborhoods up to their roofs in water, people sitting stranded on top of their houses. Just that image alone was dark and foreboding, add to that mix that something may be lurking in all that water and you have a whole different level of menace. A con is on work detail helping to clean up after the hurricane finds a book with the words, “READ! For the sake of us all!” scrawled on the front. Needless to say he starts reading the tale of the creatures that came out of the waters of Katrina and something takes over.
The graphic art style of this story makes for a very interesting look to the creatures that are invading our world. Everything in the tale had a precise and distinct look about it, except for the Cuthuloids, who seem almost sketchy in their blobby wet glory. Really effective visuals in this particular tale.
Finally, “How To Get Ahead in the Occult,” written by Christine Boylan and art by Chee, is my favorite story in the issue. Two college roommates are headed out for the evening at the behest of the the shrewish Dara who wants only for her magic powers to be great. They head out to the local Campus Crusade for Cthulhu and Dara is disappointed to find that it is just another excuse to have a party. They do some chanting and thank Cthulhu for another day, and then get back to drinking all to the great pleasure of Ellie.
Later that night Ellie awakes in a fugue state chanting the invocation of Cthulhu. All Dara can think to do is take her to the sea. At the coast the great old one rises from his sleep and offers Dara a choice, save her friend or all the magic power she has ever wanted. For Dara the choice is obvious.
I’m so glad that I found these guys in the dollar bin at my local comic shop, because so far all of the issues of Cthulhu Tales have been great. If you are looking for some good thrills and chills on the cheap, these can all be attained for very little and are well worth the time. I’m sure it would make HPL proud