After visiting his father in Arkham Sanitarium, young Howard Lovecraft ignores his father's warning and uses the legendary Necronomicon to open a portal to a strange, frozen world filled with horrifying creatures and grave danger. Alone and scared, Howard befriends a hideous creature he names Spot who takes him to the castle of the king where he is captured and sentenced to death.
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Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom is a production of Arcana, released in 2010. It is a graphic novel, has ~ 94 pages and lists for $12.95. The creative team includes Bruce Brown (story) and Renzo Podesta (art and colors). If this book is similar to any Lovecraftian comic out there, I guess it is the 2004 book Lovecraft by Hans Rodionoff from Vertigo. In Lovecraft, the title character, as a child, receives a copy of the Necronomicon from his father while visiting him in the asylum. He is then plagued by visions of monsters throughout his life that he places into his ficiton. Howard Lovecraft & the Frozen Kingsom to me also has an echo of the sentiment attached to The Antarctic Express from Kenneth Hite, a yuletide mythos send up. Minor spoilers may follow, so skip to the end if you don't like that. In Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom the beginning is similar, and perhaps more dramatic than that for Lovecraft by Rodionoff. Young HPL is taken by his mother to to visit his father in the asylum on Christmas Eve. Howard is told by his father that he has written a terrible book that must be destroyed. Later. HPL's mother gives him a package that contains that same book. Late on Christmas Eve HPL begins to read the book and accidentally evokes a portal, that trasports him into some frozen world where his adventures ensue. He confronts and befriends a Deep One, meets some unexpectedly pleasant denizens of R'lyeh (one named Abdul) and agrees to recover a copy of a mysterious book from Dagon to help them. Ultimately young Howard returns to his room and has a book, which by inference will serve as inspiration for many years to come. Well, I wish I liked this better. First of all, I did not care much for the art. The Lovecraftian monsters were all drawn with verve and were the highlight, even if the Deep One looks more like Cthulhu-spawn or something else, rather than a fish man. For me, the children were not as well drawn as the adults, and were almost bug eyed. I would not have minded so much bu the HPL character appears in just about every panel. If you like the drawings of Howard, you will like Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom a lot more than I did. The plot was pretty thin, but heck, it's only a comic (although why would a Deep One confront Dagon to help a human? And its later petulant behavior seems like a real contrivance.). My biggest problem with the writing is that it started off consistent with it's time, at the turn of the century when Winfeild Lovecraft died. As it went on the language of young Howard became more and more modern, and this was jarringly anachronistic. For example, the creature who Howard befriends is called Spot, after a dog's name. Later Howard says, "Um-Spot. Quick question." or "We're sitting ducks!" These are just a few examples. If this comic was designed as something of a parody on a Christmas story, where a young child is whisked off to the North Pole for adventures, then I guess this is OK. It sure did not strike me as the language precocious HPL would have used. Anyway, the overall effect of the art, the tenuous plot (Dagon telling a child he would "gobble you up", not the greatest dialogue from an ancient god-like entity, and then not doing it), and the deficiency of the dialogue and language left me dissatisfied. I also don't really get the interest in having HPL depicted as a person who knew the 'truth' and revealed it in his fiction. Why not just enjoy the world building he started that we all play in now? Whatever, at least this book offers up an explanation for his inspiration. My bottom line is I was not as impressed as I wanted to be. Dedicated mythos collectors need a copy, particularly those with interest in comic books. The Deep One may not look like a Deep One to me, but it is a wonderful example of what Mr. Podesta can do, and as such, makes this book a necessary acqusition for fans of Lovecraftian art. The last few pages have some of the best drawings in the whol