Dreadful Beauty Paperback Out, Showcases Jacen Burrows Providence Art

Jacen Burrows character design drawing for Providence‘s Ronald Pitman – detail from Dreadful Beauty
Dreadful Beauty hardcover cover – art by Jacen Burrows

This trade paperback of Dreadful Beauty: The Art of Providence is in stores this week. The 176-page art book features Jacen Burrows artwork from the extended Moore Lovecraft explorations – from Providence to Neonomicon, The Courtyard, and even Yuggoth Cultures. The book features all of Burrows’ covers, selected pages, and heretofore unpublished character studies.

The artwork is, of course, amazing: detailed, nuanced, and lush – with unerring attention to Lovecraft’s text and Lovecraft’s world.

Dreadful Beauty is all reproduced in black and white. Not to take away from Burrows, but this does, it its absence, draw some attention to the contribution of colorist Juan Manuel Rodríguez. Rodríguez’ colors complement Burrows lines, bringing Providence‘s 1919 world to life.  Continue reading

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Act 3 Collected Edition Out, with Minor Corrections

Providence Act 3 hardcover – art by Jacen Burrows

With the release last week of the hardcover edition of Providence Act 3, any readers who were waiting can now read the full 12-issue series. Act 3 collects issues 9 through 12. The Jacen Burrows cover features Robert Black in front of a snowy Bryant Park exit chamber. The back cover image is from

As with Act 1 and Act 2, the Facts Providence team was eager to look through the new collection, and to see where we could spot differences from the individual issues. We had submitted our list of nitpicks to the publisher, Avatar Press. They corrected pretty much of all of the easily-fixed minor errors that we had pointed out. It appears that only the errors in the body of the comic have been updated, and none of the ones in the Commonplace Book back matter.

Below are some sample side-by-side comparisons:  Continue reading

New Alan Moore Introduction to Folio Society Cthulhu Collection

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, published by The Folio Society

In October 2016, Alan Moore penned a new introduction to a high-end Lovecraft collection published by the Folio Society. The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories, edited by S. T. Joshi and illustrated by Dan Hillier, is available now. The collector’s edition costs a mere $125, with a 750-copy limited edition available for $575.

Below are a couple of excerpts from Moore’s 7-page introduction:

In my own case late childhood infatuation had, by my self-conscious middle teens, been tempered by increasing unease and abhorrence with regard to Lovecraft’s politics and many prejudices. Less defensibly, I had been cowed by the authoritative critical pronouncements of such disapproving commentators as both Wilsons – haughty Edmund and iconoclastic Colin – and in viewing Lovecraft through their unforgiving lens perceived him as merely a clumsy writer, burdening each clause with adjectives and archaisms, far too fond of indescribability, of final paragraphs delivered in a hyperventilating torrent of bug-eyed italics. Later, on the slopes of young adulthood and perhaps more confident in my opinions, I reread his storied and revised my view to one that once more favourable and more condescending. I saw Lovecraft now as a wild talent, one whose genius lay in transmitting his own sense of overwhelming cosmic terror to his audience despite his literary limitations. Not until embarking on a sixth decade that Lovecraft, for all his senescent affectations, would not reach did I revisit those steep lanes and jutting steeples, armed with vital insights gleaned from the continually expanding field of Lovecraft scholarship, only to find the fiercely individual and innovative prose stylist that I’d previously failed to see.

His general xenophobia was of course still present, along with his poorly reasoned and romantic veneration of the English aristocracy, but those could be viewed with greater understanding (albeir not greater sympathy) in the revealing context of his place and time and circumstances. Lovecraft’s supposed literary defects, on the other hand, turned out upon closer inspection either not to exist or to be misapprehended virtues. The most serious abuse of adjectives and repetition of last-paragraph italics are not in fact to be found in Lovecraft’s work but in that of his devotee and ‘posthumous collaborator’ August Derleth, who, while almost singlehandedly responsible for keeping his late mentor’s name alive, would with his clumsy ventriloquial interventions do much to delay his hero’s literary recognition, turning passing quirks into compulsive cliches. In Lovecraft’s own narratives the adjectives extended in pursuit of that which is beyond description ultimately stand exposed as an ingenious strategy disorienting and unsettling the reader by giving a list of entities that Great Cthulhu doesn’t much resemble, or declaring that the Colour out of Space is only a color ‘by analogy’. On examination, Lovecraft’s touted flaws seem instead to be careful tactical considerations.

The deployment of archaic vocabulary – Domdanie, nepenthe, eidolon and necrophagous, a sesquipedalian torrent – looks on second glance like an attempt to make the very medium that he expressed his stories through, the English language itself, into something creepy, unfamiliar and alienating.

Continue reading

Act 2 Collected Edition Out This Week, with Minor Corrections

Providence Act 2 hardcover cover – art by Jacen Burrows

This week Avatar Press released the first collected edition of Providence Act 2, which reprints Providence issues 5 through 8. The cover features Robert Black in front of the Witch House that featured prominently in issue #5. The back cover reprints a detail of Elspeth Wade from issue #6’s Women of HPL variant cover. The collected edition is currently only available in hardcover, for a $21.99 cover price. For covers and other details of collected editions, see this page.

As we did with the initial Act 1 collection, and as only hardcore Moore-Lovecraft nerds are wont, the Facts team looked over the new edition to see if we could find any differences from the individual comics that the hardback collects. Mostly we were looking to see if any of the minor errors that we had spotted (and recorded on our nitpicks page, and reported to Avatar Press) had been corrected.

Good news!

Pretty much all of the easy to fix nitpicks have been corrected – though it appears that only the ones in the body of the comic have been updated, and none of the ones in the Commonplace Book.

See below for some side by side comparisons  Continue reading

Annotator Seeks Assistance

Scholar
Another hapless scholar – from Providence #6

Many of you have recently expressed your appreciation for our hard work. That means a lot to me personally (Alexx), and I would do what I do without any other reward. That said…

I was last employed in 2013, and not likely to be employed again in the near-to-medium future (I am semi-disabled – too injured to work in my field, but too healthy to collect disability). I’m living off of ever-dwindling savings plus a small annuity left me by my late father.

I have a Patreon set up to help support my ongoing amateur scholarship (mostly annotating Alan Moore, recently – here and at websites for Cinema Purgatorio and Jerusalem). Of late, I’ve been collecting donations from it every other month. That might increase, but only if my productivity similarly increases. If some among you who are in better economic conditions could see fit to join, that would be most greatly appreciated. Alternatively, if you wanted to make a one-time gift, I have a Paypal account for donations at alexx@panix.com.

Thanks for reading.

Big Providence Kickstarter Campaign Underway Today

0f3ee791b41be8963a65e24fafbbcdee_originalAvatar Press launched a Kickstarter campaign today for handsome-looking new slipcase edition of Providence, which includes Neonomicon, plus a new “Dreadful Beauty” art book featuring Jacen Burrows 100+ covers.

The Kickstarter campaign also has a dozen more variant covers for Providence #12, with previously unused art. There are options for inexpensive digital editions to very high-end editions signed by Moore and Burrows.

At the time of this posting, the campaign has already far surpassed its $8,300 goal, with more than $40,000 pledged. The high-end limited edition autographed, remarqued $599 package is already sold out, but there are still plenty of packages to choose from for the discerning Providence reader.