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.
A rush of cool air greeted me; and though the day was one of the hottest of late June, I shivered as I crossed the threshold into a large apartment whose rich and tasteful decoration surprised me in this nest of squalor and seediness. A folding couch now filled its diurnal role of sofa, and the mahogany furniture, sumptuous hangings, old paintings, and mellow bookshelves all bespoke a gentleman’s study rather than a boarding-house bedroom. […] The figure before me was short but exquisitely proportioned, and clad in somewhat formal dress of perfect cut and fit. A high-bred face of masterful though not arrogant expression was adorned by a short iron-grey full beard, and an old-fashioned pince-nez shielded the full, dark eyes and surmounted an aquiline nose which gave a Moorish touch to a physiognomy otherwise dominantly Celtiberian. Thick, well-trimmed hair that argued the punctual calls of a barber was parted gracefully above a high forehead; and the whole picture was one of striking intelligence and superior blood and breeding.
The figure at the top of the stairs is Robert Suydam, who first appeared in Providence #2, based on Lovecraft’s character in “The Horror at Red Hook.” The door Suydam is looking through resembles the one to his cellar, though it may be a different door.
These folk say that on a table in a bare room on the ground floor are many peculiar bottles, in each a small piece of lead suspended pendulum-wise from a string. And they say that the Terrible Old Man talks to these bottles, addressing them by such names as Jack, Scar-Face, Long Tom, Spanish Joe, Peters, and Mate Ellis, and that whenever he speaks to a bottle the little lead pendulum within makes certain definite vibrations as if in answer. Those who have watched the tall, lean, Terrible Old Man in these peculiar conversations, do not watch him again.
The cover appears to depict Wilbur Whateley at the Miskatonic University Library, looking at the Necronomicon on display under glass (which likely owes itself more to the 1970 film The Dunwich Horror than Lovecraft’s short story).
The cover depicts the human form of Brown Jenkin from “The Dreams in the Witch House.”
The cover depicts Dr. Hector North, the equivalent to Herbert West from Lovecraft’s story “Herbert West-Reanimator.”
Ronald Underwood Pitman, the Providence analogue for Lovecraft’s Richard Upton Pickman, here shown painting a ghoul from life, based on the story “Pickman’s Model.”
It should be clearer when issue #8 comes out (likely April 2016) but this is perhaps Randolph Carter – see preview post.
The cover depicts Etienne Roulet who appears in Lovecraft’s “The Shunned House.” Roulet appears in Suydam’s pamphlet in Providence #2, as well as appearing in a portrait image on the wall during the Providence #6 rape scene, during which Roulet alternately possesses Elspeth Wade and Robert Black.
The book depicted is Hali’s Booke of the Wisdom of the Stars, the English translation version of Providence‘s Necronomicon analogue. According to Suydam’s pamphlet, Roulet was the first person to bring Hali’s Booke to America.
A scene from Japheth Colwen’s subterranean chambers, based on Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
The subject is, of course, Providence protagonist Robert Black. The location looks like New York City, so it is likely a flashback to before issue #1. The hands in the foreground likely belong to Jonathan/Lillian “Lily” Russell, who appears in Providence #1, P1,p1. The book Sous Le Monde is Providence’s invented analogue for the fictional play The King in Yellow – see issue #1 annotations P3,p2.
The cover depicts H.P. Lovecraft, in front of his books. Commenter Sharkophagus suggests that this Lovecraft may be based upon a statue owned by Guillermo Del Toro.
The books depicted, where completely identifiable, are all known to have been in Lovecraft’s personal library, and published before 1919. In several cases, it is known when he acquired them, and this too is before 1919. Many of the volumes are listed in Lovecraft’s Library by S. T. Joshi. Titles include (thanks to many commenters for helping with this):
- Top shelf:
- “…gone … Tales” by ???
- “Gods of Pegana” by Lord Dunsany
- “Mary Shelley / Frankenstein”
- “The Last D…” (Possibly The Last Devil by Signe Toksvig?)
- “From the Earth to the Moon” by Jules Verne
- “The First Men in the Moon” – H.G. Wells
- “Ghost Stories of an Antiquary” – M.R. James
- “Oscar Wilde” (Title doesn’t seem to match any of his books that Lovecraft owned.)
- “The Y… of America” by Oglethorpe???
- Second Shelf:
- “The House of the Black Ring” by Fred Lewis Pattee
- something by Poe (Title doesn’t seem to match any of his books that Lovecraft owned.)
- “An Exchange of Souls” by Barry Pain
- “The Beetle” by Richard Marsh
- “Those Who Return” by Maurice Level
- “The Phantom Ship” by Captain Frederick Marryat
- “Lilith” by George MacDonald
- “The Old English Baron” by Clara Reeve
- “Beyond the Great South Wall” by Frank Savile
- Third Shelf:
- “The Fate of the [C…???]” by ???
- “The Grip of Fear” by Maurice Level
- “The Bright ???” by ???
- “The Human Chord” by Algernon Blackwood
- “The Star Rover” by Jack London
- Fourth Shelf:
- “Ghost Stories” by ???
- Two volumes of “[Colonial?] Rhode Island” by ???
- “In the Midst of Life” by Ambrose Bierce
- Bottom Shelf:
- something by Leonid Andreyev (Probably “The Seven That Were Hanged”)
- something by “Hawthorne”? (Probably “The House of the Seven Gables”)
- something by “Chambers”? (Probably “The King in Yellow”)
- “Vathek” by William Beckford
- “Visible and Invisible” by E.F. Benson