Providence is one of Alan Moore’s most thickly-referential works. Though Providence works on a surface level, it is a much richer experience when the reader has some sense of the earlier H.P. Lovecraft stories that Moore and Burrows are referencing.
General Moore-Lovecraft reading order:
No matter what Lovecraft one reads, it is worth reading Moore and Burrows three Lovecraftian works in the order they came out:
- The Courtyard (text published 1995, comics adaptation published 2003)
- Neonomicon (published 2010-2011)
- Providence (published 2015-2017)
Neonomicon is a sequel to The Courtyard. Providence is both and prequel and sequel to both Courtyard and Neonomicon. This Facts website annotates Neonomicon and Providence. The Courtyard is annotated in Alan Moore’s The Courtyard Companion published by Avatar Press and available for purchase via the publisher’s website.
Below are three approaches for readers interested in familiarizing themselves with some of the original Lovecraft stories that Moore and Burrows reference throughout.
1 – QUICK BACKGROUND READ
If readers have not read any Lovecraft, it is worth reading a few core short stories in advance. Before starting starting any of Moore and Burrows, read just The Shadow over Innsmouth and The Call of Cthulhu. If those pique a reader’s interest, then go a little deeper with other Lovecraft relatively central to Moore and Burrows’ Lovecraftian saga, reading also: The Horror at Red Hook, The Dunwich Horror, The Dreams in the Witch-House, and The Haunter in the Dark. These are all short stories, available online (even audio versions via YouTube) and at bookstores.
2 – READ ONE STORY BEFORE EACH ISSUE/CHAPTER
If readers want just one main story before each issue, then use this list:
- The Courtyard – The Horror at Red Hook
- Neonomicon – The Shadow Over Innsmouth
- Providence 1 – Cool Air
- Providence 2 – The Horror at Red Hook
- Providence 3 – The Shadow Over Innsmouth
- Providence 4 – The Dunwich Horror
- Providence 5-6 – The Dreams in the Witch House, The Thing on the Doorstep
- Providence 7 – Pickman’s Model
- Providence 8 – The Statement of Randolph Carter
- Providence 9 – From Beyond
- Providence 10 – The Haunter in the Dark
- Providence 11 – (none)
- Providence 12 – The Call of Cthulhu
3 – THOROUGH READING
For readers wanting to a lot of background reading before each chapter, below is an extensive (though not exhaustive) list of prominent Lovecraft (and other writers’) stories that are referenced in each chapter. Thanks to Reddit user mangonebula for compiling a version of this list.
- The Courtyard – The Horror at Red Hook, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and Pickman’s Model
- Neonomicon – The Horror at Red Hook, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Statement of Randolph Carter, and The Call of Cthulhu
- Providence 1 – Cool Air, and The Repairer of Reputations by Robert Chambers
- Providence 2 – The Horror at Red Hook, and The History of the Necronomicon
- Providence 3 – The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Terrible Old Man, The Picture in the House, Dagon, and The Lurking Fear
- Providence 4 – The Dunwich Horror, and Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
- Providence 5-6 – The Dreams in the Witch House, Herbet West: Reanimator, The Color Out of Space, The Rats in the Walls, and The Thing on the Doorstep,
- Providence 6 – The Shadow out of Time
- Providence 7 – Pickman’s Model
- Providence 8 – The Statement of Randolph Carter, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, The Silver Key, The Unnamable, Through the Gates of the Silver Key, The Very Old Folk, The Thing in the Moonlight, Beyond the Wall of Sleep, and by Lord Dunsany: Idle Days of the Yann, and The Queen’s Enemies
- Providence 9 – The Haunter in the Dark, The Shunned House, From Beyond, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, and The Outsider
- Providence 10 – The White Ship, The Festival, and An Inhabitant of Carcosa by Ambroise Bierce, and The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe
- Providence 11 – He
- Providence 12 – The Call of Cthulhu, The Book, The Whisperer in the Darkness, and Fungi from Yuggoth