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

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.

Read Before Providence 12: Speculations on the End of an Era

Providence 12 Dreamscape variant cover – art by Jacen Burrows

Next week, March 29, 2017 (update: looks like it may be the week after: April 5), Providence #12 will be available. After Moore and Burrows’ The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and Providence it feels a bit like the end of an era. Moore’s text version of The Courtyard first saw print in 1994. Lovecraftian elements appeared in several of Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen stories. 2010 saw The Courtyard‘s future spun into four issues of Neonomicon. Then, from 2015-2017, Neonomicon‘s world stretched into so-far-eleven prequel issues of Providence. Alan Moore has hinted that he also has another brief Lovecraftian comic coming in the near future.

For Providence issues two through ten, Facts in the Case would preview what our contributors expected was coming next, and especially what Lovecraft stories appeared very likely to form the basis of each issue.

Providence 12 Women of HPL variant cover. Art by Jacen Burrows

For issue 12 the upcoming themes are not so clear.

In many ways, Providence #11 completed the circle: Black’s journey – and Providence itself – returned to the point where it began in issue #1, and then skips forward to pick up where Neonomicon left off when it ended. While we’ve been treating Providence as a kind of prequel, there have been hints all along that this wasn’t quite the case.

As Sax, Brears, Perlman and Barstow – all characters from The Courtyard and/or Neonomicon, have popped up toward the end of Providence #11, it probably makes sense to go back and read through The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and Providence to see where we are heading. A very pregnant Brears appears on the Women of HPL variant cover for issue 12.

This post will feature some speculation on what might be ahead – and invite readers to comment on how Providence might end up.  Continue reading

Interview with Providence Colorist Juan Manuel Rodríguez

Providence colorist Juan Rodríguez – photo courtesy of Rodríguez

Juan Manuel Rodríguez is the colorist for Providence. Rodriguez lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He lives with his wife Maria and their two daughters Sofia and Camila, and a brand new baby boy who just arrived this week.

Rodríguez studied Graphic Design at Interamerican Open University (UAI). Earlier he studied Cartoon and Illustration with Marvel and DC illustrators Juan Bobillo and Marcelo Sosa and studied Multimedia Design and Web and Digital Art at the Argentine Institute of Computation (IAC).

Juan Rodríguez illustration for Bastion

All of Rodríguez’ professional career is related to design and comics. He taught Graphic Design, Multimedia, and Digital Art classes for eight years and also worked for advertising agencies for several years. His art was frequently published in the science fiction magazine Bastion.

Bloodrayne comic cover by Juan Rodríguez

He started coloring comics professionally in 2005 for Image’s Noble Causes, then for the IDW series Zombies!: Feast. He colored Digital Webbing’s BloodRayne, Boom Studios’ Hunter’s Moon, and Devils Due Publishing’s Jericho comics continuation of the television series. He also did some covers and projects for Marvel and Image Comics with Rob Liefeld.

Rodríguez began coloring for Avatar Press in 2008, where he colored Gravel: Combat Magician, Chronicles Of Wormwood, Wolfskin, Crossed (including Badlands and Wish You Were Here), Neonomicon, Night of the Living Dead, Lady Death, God is Dead and now Providence.

The interview took place over email in early 2017. Rodríguez’ original Spanish language text appears below the English translation.

Facts Providence: Do you read a lot of comics? What were your favorite comics growing up?

Rodríguez: When I was a kid I read a lot of comics, I read everything. Thanks to my Uncle Carlos, who was a comic book fan, I started reading old comic strips from DC and Marvel, then many European comics (especially Metal Hurlant [Heavy Metal] magazine), and national magazines like Fierro, Scorpio, Paturuzú. My favorites include Batman and Justice League by Keith Giffen, The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, [Moore’s] Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Miracleman, and Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave Mckean.

Did you read a lot of H.P. Lovecraft before you started doing the colors for Moore and Burrows’ Lovecraft comics? What are some of your favorite Lovecraft stories?

I have read some Lovecraft books. The stories I remember most are: “The Colour out of Space,” “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Whisperer in Darkness,” and “Dagon.”  Continue reading