Hornbook Variants

Avatar Press likes to use variant covers to promote its series, particularly short-run limited series like Moore’s; besides their artistic merit, several of these covers have more to say about the contents of the book than readers might think.

Artifact Edition

Neonomicon Hornbook Artifact variant cover, by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon Hornbook Artifact variant cover, by Jacen Burrows

Essentially a tentacle erotica pin-up; identity unknown. The glowing sigil over her face is a variation on the incomplete and inverted pentacle symbol used throughout the series; it’s location at the center of her forehead suggests an association with her mystical “third eye”.

C2E2 Edition

Neonomicon Hornbook C2E2 variant cover, by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon Hornbook C2E2 variant cover, by Jacen Burrows

Likely intended to be a Deep One hybrid; the skin is rough and scaly, the fingernails elongated, folds of skin about the neck are reminiscent of gills, the teeth like small fangs, and a pox-like scale reminiscent of that on the Deep One. Artistically the heavy-set police figure with aviator shades is more strongly reminiscent of law enforcement pastiches in the Southern United States, perhaps epitomized by the character of Boss Godfrey in the film Cool Hand Luke. While concealing its eyes, the mirrored shades are somewhat evocative of the mirrored pupils of the Deep One that Agent Brears encounters.

Motor City Edition

Neonomicon Hornbook Motor City variant cover, by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon Hornbook Motor City variant cover, by Jacen Burrows

Possibly “Stephen,” one of the serial-murderers from The Courtyard. The Elder Sign he is drawing in his own blood is also the symbol of the Ulthar Cats band; Stephen’s being a fan of the Ulthar Cats is what set Aldo Sax on their trail.

Leather Edition

Neonomicon Hornbook, leather cover, art by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon Hornbook, leather cover, art by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon Hornbook leather variant, by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon Hornbook leather variant, by Jacen Burrows

There are two versions of the leather edition of the Neonomicon Hornbook; one with red foil and an inverted incomplete pentacle, and one with silver foil and an uninverted incomplete pentacle.

The truncated pentacle, with or without the eye and dangling tentacles, is a characteristic symbol that appears throughout Neonomicon as a decorative motif, primarily on covers and non-story pages, in a variety of formats. The symbols are an eclectic mix of real-world and apparently fictional occult symbols; for example the Roman numerals I, V, and X can be clearly seen on each arm, as well as a what looks like a Roman number II with a diagonal slash through it (in other covers, this appears to be a normal II); the inner quadrangle has both an infinity sign, calling to mind the Book of the Dead cover for Neonomicon #3, the Greek capital letter Phi (Φ), and an ichthys in its original pagan configuration, symbolizing fertility (or, in the light of Grant Morrison’s Invisibles, the overlapping of two different realities).

Relatively harder to see are the small sigils in the corner of each “leg” of the truncated pentacle. The symbol in the triangles with Roman numerals I and II are patently two of the “gate” symbols (AGGA and BANDAR) from the Simon Necronomicon, while the other two sigils associated with V and X are also taken from the Simon Necronomicon, albeit in different contexts.

Necronomicon gate symbols from the Simon Necronomicon, by Khem Caigan
Necronomicon gate symbols from the Simon Necronomicon, by Khem Caigan

Wondercon Edition

Neonomicon Hornbook Wondercon variant cover, by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon Hornbook Wondercon variant cover, by Jacen Burrows

Spent 9MM (9×19 Parabellum) shell casings. The FBI issues or has issued several different pistols that use 9MM ammunition, including the Glock 17, Glock 19, and Glock 26.

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