As we were putting together our preview post for Providence #8, we simultaneously hit on ideas of trying to predict what is still in store for the remaining issues of Providence. There are only four more issues, so where is Black headed? What Lovecraftian lore will he interact with?
Below are some of our predictions. As you can tell from reading below, even the contributors to Facts in the Case of Alan Moore’s Providence have somewhat different takes on what is still in store. Add yours in the comment thread below. And enjoy the ride while Moore and Burrows surprise us all.
- Robert Black has to get to Providence, RI – the birthplace and longtime residence of H.P. Lovecraft and the setting of many of his stories – or why would Moore call this series Providence?
- In Providence, RI, Black will likely interact with Lovecraft mythos that have already been alluded to and/or foreshadowed:
– Black will visit Federal Hill’s sinister “huge, dark church” prominent in “The Haunter of the Dark.” “Haunter”‘s Starry Wisdom sect are the Worshipful Order of the Stella Sapiente (or Stell Saps) introduced in Providence #2. It looks like the church’s Shining Trapezohedron is the meteor from “The Colour out of Space,” shown in Providence #5 P13,p3. According to Garland Wheatley, the meteor was spirited “off to Rhode Island” by the Stell Saps (Providence #4 P9,p3.) Black may die from a lightning strike as Haunter’s protagonist Robert Blake did.
– Black will visit “The Shunned House.” The titular house, located at 135 Benefit Street, was mentioned in the closing lines of the Suydam pamphlet excerpt in Providence #2. Shunned House villain Etienne Roulet also appeared in Suydam’s pamphlet, and was revealed to have possessed Elspeth Wade in Providence #6.
– Black will likely encounter Japheth Colwen who is Providence‘s analogue for Joseph Curwen from The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Colwen was shown and described in Suydam’s pamphlet in Providence #2.
- Maybe at some point, readers will get a look at Suydams’ other pamphlet, also from Providence #2 : Kaballah and the Faust Legend.
- Lastly, Black should come into contact with H.P. Lovecraft himself. Will they come face to face, perhaps have hot gay sex together, with Black later regaling Lovecraft with his stories of a hidden America? Or will it just be Black’s Commonplace Book falling into Lovecraft’s hands, somewhat reminiscent of the fate of Rorshach’s journal on the very last page of Moore and Gibbon’s Watchmen?
- Now that we are past the halfway mark, I think I’m beginning to see signs of what the overall structure of Providence is. Where Watchmen’s structure was dominated by mirror symmetry, I think Providence will turn out to be a repeated arc of rising action.
- In #1 and #7, Robert Black meets a genuinely friendly individual who hits it off with him.
- In #2, and seemingly also in #8, Robert Black meets a rather less friendly individual who is a professional occultist and scholar.
- In #3, Black meets some eccentric middle-class characters who live by the sea. I foresee that #9 will see him visiting Kingsport/Marblehead, probably having a more detailed encounter with “The Terrible Old Man” (who appeared briefly in #2) and perhaps “The Festival.”
- In #4, Black heads out into the boonies, and meets with scarcely-veiled hostility. If the pattern continues, #10 should see him in New Hampshire, probably encountering an Akeley and/or Noyes analog from “The Whisperer in Darkness.”
- Issues #5 and #6 are almost a two part story, where Black visits a city which is a major nexus of Lovecraft’s work, and intersects with several different stories, and many characters who act towards Black in an openly malevolent manner. I predict that #11 and #12 will be set in Providence, RI, and will feature Black’s inevitable doom after similarly intersecting with multiple stories and characters. “The Haunter of the Dark” has to appear. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward seems extremely likely, given that we haven’t yet met Japheth Colwen. I would not be surprised to see an appearance of “The Shunned House.”
- At this point, I am less interested in which Lovecraft stories Moore will reference than how he will tie them together into his new behind-the-scenes mythology; we’ve already had a hint of the Elder Things from At the Mountains of Madness in the story of Hali’s Booke in Providence #6, and we’ve seen mention of the Deep Ones in several places, notably Neonomicon and Providence #3, but he hasn’t really elaborated on their place in the secret history or cosmology of Providence just yet.
- Aklo too remains a mystery, and I suspect that Moore will seek to bridge the gap between the cipher-alphabet revealed in Providence #6 and the “inspired” or subconscious language of The Courtyard and Neonomicon. Possibly we’ll see some Aklo inscriptions which fans can then try to decipher – such as the strange manuscripts mentioned in “The Statement of Randolph Carter” and “The Silver Key.”
What do you think, reader? Is there anything else that has been foreshadowed? Where do you think Black, Moore, and Burrows are headed?
Will Cthulhu show its “octopus-like head”?
What about Shub-Niggurath?
How about something from Lovecraft’s “revision” stories like “The Mound“?
Only Burrows and Moore know.