The Horror of Rape: Alan Moore, Lovecraft, and Neonomicon

It’s a way that I haven’t written about sex before. It’s very ugly. And yet, it took me years to actually see… because, Jacen’s doing an incredible job on the artwork, but I’ve still only seen the first issue. But I was very impressed with that. It reads very well: it’s dark as hell. But it’s kind of compelling. So I went back and read through the scripts for the following three issues, and I thought, ‘Have I gone too far?’ Looking back, yes, maybe I have gone too far—but it’s still a good story. (“Alan Moore: Unearthed and Uncut”)

The Deep One raping Agent Brears. Detail of Neonomicon #3, Page 13, panel 3 - written by Alan Moore, art by Jacen Burrows
The Deep One raping Agent Brears. Detail of Neonomicon #3, Page 13, panel 3 – written by Alan Moore, art by Jacen Burrows

One of the most horrific aspects of Neonomicon is the graphic rape and sexual abuse suffered by FBI Special Agent Merrill Brears, beginning in issue 2 and continuing through most of issue 3. While actual penetration is never shown, most of the act is starkly depicted for the reader—Brears being drawn into an unsafe place among people she doesn’t know, her routes of escape cut off, slowly shedding any protective gear she might have, her only companion and protection brutally murdered—and when she is at her most vulnerable, barely able to see, she is violently sexually assaulted, not just by the human Dagon cultists, but by an alien entity, the Deep One that has been summoned by their combined unnatural lust.

Nor does Brears ordeal end there, as the sexual assault apparently continues over a period of days, both while she is conscious and unconscious or drugged. The assault both does physical damage (Brears’ notes in issue 3, Page 18, panel 3, “You hurt me, doing it like that. I’m sore and I hurt!”), and also fed into Brears’ own issues with sexual addiction. Brears’ efforts to battle her negative self image of herself and her inability to control that behavior are ruthlessly undercut as she is thrown into a situation where she is nothing but a sex object, and all choice is brutally taken from her. Finally, the repeated sexual assault has the consequence of leaving Brears’ pregnant; the fact that her child is implied to be Cthulhu and will likely wipe out the human race after it is born does little to draw away from the very real personal horror that afflicts any woman carrying a child conceived through rape.

It is, as Alan Moore noted in his interview, “dark as hell. But it’s kind of compelling.” Horror and dark fantasy exist in part to give readers a release from everyday life, an avenue to explore and toy with the taboo in a relatively safe context. There is always an audience for stories, both fictional and nonfictional, that highlight sexual scandal, deviancy, and violence, and there is something to be said, given the complex spectrum of human sexuality, for literature that examines the issue of consent, or which unblinkingly examines the events and consequences of rape, both on the individuals and in the community. Rape, after all exists in the real world, and it must be considered if laws regarding it are to be passed and held up, and if the individuals that need comfort, counseling, and support are to receive the services they need.

Given, then, that rape is a fit subject for literature—whatever the medium—the question becomes one of treatment. Do Alan Moore and Jacen Burrow cross the line from sexually explicit horror to exploitation? On the surface, the issue is highly subjective; the length, detail, bizarreness of the Deep One, and sexualized violence of the encounters undoubtedly hit the right notes for some readers to become sexually excited, even as others register only disgust. To look deeper into the issue, we must consider not just the depiction of the act, but the purpose that the rape serves in Moore’s narrative, and the larger context in which the rape occurs. Both matters tie more or less directly into H. P. Lovecraft’s own use of rape in his fiction.

Given his lack of bedroom scenes (which would likely run afoul of the censors of his day), it is no surprise that Lovecraft says almost nothing of rape in his stories. However, even given its scarcity in the Lovecraft Mythos, rape carries with it a special kind of horror, as in this literary universe a woman can not only be sexually assaulted by alien entities, but bear the hybrid offspring from of a Mythos entity—a situation which crops up at least twice. In “The Curse of Yig,” Audrey Davis kills a nest of four snakes and is forced to bear four snake-human hybrids in return. The second case is a few lines in “The Horror at Red Hook,” where four women who were being held prisoner—and with ill-born children—are discovered after the police raid. In both cases, the act of rape (it is not much of a stretch to assume rape in either case) occurs off the page, and in both cases the results of that forced sexual activity are hybrid children. A more ambiguous case is the conception of the Whateley twins by Lavinia Whateley and Yog-Sothoth; there is simply not enough information provided in the story to clarify if it was a case of cosmic rape or consent; though Lavinia’s willing participation in other rites may be an indication against rape.

Women in Lovecraft’s fiction are never suggested to have been raped except when the act results in a child as in Arthur Machen’s “Novel of the Black Seal” (and, with regard to Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror,” its literary forebear Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan.”)  With so few instances it is difficult to generalize, but it is possible that Lovecraft only chose to include the suggestion of rape in a story when a hybrid child is desired, as no form of consent would make sense within the framework of the story. Other Mythos entities, such as the Deep Ones in “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” do not appear to commit rape—they desire willing human partners—although Lovecraft’s notes for the story suggest he may have been willing to hint at rape earlier on, as he remarked that when the Deep Ones invaded Innsmouth: “many women commit suicide or vanish.” (Lovecraft 249)

In the context of the Lovecraft Mythos, then, Moore’s use of rape in Neonomicon is both a logical outgrowth of Lovecraft and Machen’s basic fictional principles, but also true to his own goals for the story, i.e. it is necessary for Brears to become pregnant with Cthulhu for the arc of the story, and in the context of the story a consensual mating with the Deep One would be difficult to reconcile with the events and Brears’ personality. Likewise, it ties in to Moore’s desired approach to Lovecraft’s material:

This is a horror of the physical with Lovecraft – so I wanted to put that stuff back in. And also, where Lovecraft being sexually squeamish, would only talk of ‘certain nameless rituals.’ Or he’d use some euphemism: ‘blasphemous rites.’ It was pretty obvious, given that a lot of his stories detailed the inhuman offspring of these ‘blasphemous rituals’ that sex was probably involved somewhere along the line. But that never used to feature in Lovecraft’s stories, except as a kind of suggested undercurrent. (“Alan Moore: Unearthed and Uncut”)

If Lovecraft’s approach to rape is one half of the context, then Moore’s own approach to rape is the other—and Alan Moore has a history of using or depicting rape and sexual violence in his stories.

Notable instances include the rape of Silk Spectre in Watchmen, Abby in Swamp Thing, and Kid Miracleman in Miracleman; sexual violence against women is one of the key themes of several of Moore’s works, particularly From Hell (focusing on the Jack the Ripper murders of prostitutes) and Lost Girls. The appearance of rape in Moore’s comics also has to be balanced against the period he was writing in. As with pulp fiction in Lovecraft’s day, comics in the United States have been subject to censorship and restriction based on content; from 1954 to 2011, this was largely achieved by the Comics Code Authority, which largely kept sex, homosexuality, drug use, graphic violence, and elements of supernatural horror out mainstream American comics (although they flourished in rebellious underground comix and to a certain degree adult comics). Alan Moore’s breakthrough came in the early 1980s:

Well, quite obviously, the safest and most comfortable option would have been to go along with a censorious status quo and simply not refer to sexual matters, even obliquely. Indeed, as I remember, this is exactly the option that most of my contemporaries in the field back then tended to make their default position, since they were understandably reluctant to displease their editors and thus to jeopardise their chances of future employment. It seemed to me, however, that if comics could not address adult matters – by which I meant a great deal more than simply sexual issues – then they could never progress to become a serious and accepted artistic medium, and would never amount to anything much more than a nostalgic hobby for ageing teenagers. To my mind, the only mind I had direct access to, it seemed that such a potentially astonishing medium deserved more than this. Along with political and social issues, I elected to make sexual issues a part of my work. […] So perhaps it is the next decision that I made wherein I am at fault: my thinking was that sexual violence, including rape and domestic abuse, should also feature in my work where necessary or appropriate to a given narrative, the alternative being to imply that these things did not exist, or weren’t happening.
(“Last Alan Moore Interview”)

Moore goes on to claim:

[R]ape did not exist in the comic books of that period, save for the occasional permissible off-panel rape, such as when a tavern dancing girl might be pushed back into the hay by a muscular barbarian, her lips saying no but her eyes saying yes. Other than this, no overt sexuality of any kind existed in the mainstream comic books of that era, with the last of the underground comix having bitten the dust during the previous decade. (“Last Alan Moore Interview”)

This claim is essentially accurate (cf. Horn 57-64), though astute comic fans might quibble with possible exceptions like the early independent mainstream comics anthology Star*Reach (1974-1979). The question then becomes, to the degree that Moore has addressed sexual issues in his work, has he made a special focus on rape, or approached the subject in an exploitative manner which would undercut any high-minded ideals that he might espouse?

A full accounting of all sexual instances versus all instances of sexualized violence in Moore’s corpus is beyond the scope of this essay (and, given some of the complexities of the storylines involved, a bit complicated), but focusing on Moore’s Lovecraftian works we find:

  • The Courtyard is effectively asexual; while violent, the violence is not sexualized in any way.
  • Zaman’s Hill is effectively asexual; despite one image of a nude, chained woman, there is no indication of sexual violence.
  • Recognition depicts one consensual act (Winfield Scott Lovecraft and a prostitute), and what appears to be a rape (Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft and a demon).
  • Neonomicon depicts multiple rapes against Agent Brears, with one sexual act which Brears consented to under duress (masturbating the Deep One); the cultists participate in consensual sex acts as well during their orgy.
  • In the relevant sections of the League of Extraordinary Gentleman series, sex and the Cthulhu Mythos is seldom mentioned, with no direct depiction of acts either consensual or nonconsensual.

Taking just Moore’s Lovecraftian works into account, then, there is little sexual action in most of the stories, violent or not, consensual or not, but Neonomicon tips the scales with its heavy depiction of sexual violence, without any of the more positive examples of sex such as in, say, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier or Lost Girls.

Yet if Moore has depicted rape in several of his works, it is never without purpose or consequence; whether readers are titillated or disgusted, thrilled or profaned or both, the incidents always tie in to the greater narrative of the story, and always is sympathetic to the victim. As Zoë Brigley Thompson puts it: “[…] though his writing about sex and brutality can verge upon the exploitative, he sometimes reveals an unexpected sympathy with dominated women.” (Comer & Sommers 76) and as Annalisa di Liddo adds in greater detail:

The series [Neonomicon] can prove a truly disturbing read, but nothing is shown for its own sake, or for the sake of mere provocation. As regards the extend of the rape scene, it complies with the above-mentioned determination to challenge common patterns of representation, and by prolonging the reader’s exposure to the horrific details of the story, a critique of his/her own voyeurism is also elicited. (Comer & Sommers 203)

For Neonomicon, the rape of Merrill Brears thus occurs in accord both with the Lovecraftian narrative (cosmic miscegenation) and Alan Moore’s stated approach to that narrative. The rape is depicted as horrific because rape is horrific, and the unflinching gaze of Moore and Burrows does not pan off the action, as Lovecraft did, specifically to show the kind of horrors that Lovecraft could only suggest. The rape is effectively necessary in the context of the story, and it is perhaps more appropriate that Moore and Burrows avoided any effort to mollify the horror of the act, which would only have had the effect of glossing over Brears’ ordeal and downplaying the visceral nature of the narrative. The rape is a sequence designed to upset people, and it accomplishes its mission well. In this regard, Brears’ rape in Neonomicon is not mere exploitation. Good and compelling writing need not be pleasant to read, and if Moore and Burrows dwelt on the subject for longer than is comfortable, that appears to be by design to make the readers uncomfortable, not to provide fodder for cheap thrills.

A final line of inquiry must deal with Merrill Brears herself, in her characterization and reaction to the events of the story. Casting Brears as a recovering sex addict is provocative to the readers; society as a whole does not quite grasp the issues at hand with sex addiction, as Brears’ partner Lampner attempts to downplay and dismiss her psychological problems in issue one. The fact of Brears’ sexual experience and her struggles with sex addiction lends psychological vulnerability to the character that exacerbates the physical and mental trauma of the sexual assaults she undergoes—and that she still deals with those issues despite her outward demeanor of confidence and competence is apparent in her dream-state conversation with Johnny Carcosa in issue 3. The crux of the issue is probably Brears’ reaction to the Deep One, after the initial trauma has worn off, and later when she has escaped from the orgone chamber. On the surface, this acceptance could be read as Brears accepting the rape as something she deserved, or that the handjob she gives to the Deep One is evidence that she secretly desired what happened to her. Certainly, she did assume the weeping victim pose that might be expected for her; the confidence and calm that she espouses in issue 4 would then seem, at least on the surface, to undercut the trauma she had just endured. Di Liddo notes:

As for Brears’ self-esteem, her “feeling good” does not seem caused by the conviction of her past sexual addiction. Rather, she thinks that the whole human species — including herself — has justly earned the frightful coming of Cthulhu[.] Declined in the horror genre, carnality ushers forth an appalling conclusion, where Brears is so alienated that the idea of the impending destruction of the world makes her feel “good.” (Comer & Sommers 203-204)

The effect of the rape on Brears with regard to her sex addiction is somewhat subjective; whether it released her from her negative self-image by figuring her as the Madonna of Cthulhu, filled with terrible purpose, or whether she came to accept who she was and thus no longer felt the need to be denigrate herself through sex is a matter of opinion. In either event, however, Brears has been transfigured and illuminated by the experience—quite typical of Lovecraftian protagonists, and echoing in some respects the perspective of the nameless narrator in Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” who accepted that which he once fought against. So again, Moore has not ignored or downplayed the effect of the rape; he has perhaps undercut expectations that some readers might have on how a victim should act, but in doing so has turned the Brears’ narrative to the fulfillment of the Lovecraft prerogative.



>Go to Moore Lovecraft annotations index for additional reading, including annotations of Neonomicon and Providence.


29 thoughts on “The Horror of Rape: Alan Moore, Lovecraft, and Neonomicon

  1. Wow, fantastic work here, love your writing. As to the topic, I think rape has an obvious place in Lovecraftian fiction – as Houllebecq made so clear, Lovecraft isn’t about monsters, it’s about utter nihilism. Rape is the ultimate nihilistic act – it transforms an act of pleasure and life creation into something soul-destroying. If you want to explore the territory of Lovecraft in a more realistic and modern way, it has to be in the mix.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is not accurate to say League of Extraordinary Gentlemen doesn’t depict rape; Mr. Hyde raped the Invisible Man before murdering him in retaliation for his assault of Wilhelmina.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bullshit excuses. Why not depict the frequent rape of men? Because it’s not as sexy to the audience or writers. Why not depict the too common child rape? Because it revolts the authors and readers too much. Somehow, rape of men is not as “interesting” to male writers and audiences, and rape of women is not as offensive to them as the rape of children.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Moore has addressed male rape, more than once, though you’re right that it is more rare in his work than the rape of women. Child rape would be problematic under current legal restraints – though again, Moore has used it, for example in the Miracleman series. So while it might be a bit much to say that Moore is completely “equal opportunity” when it comes to sexual violence in his work, it is incorrect to say that he hasn’t used it at all.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Name another mainstream writer, comics or otherwise who addresses male rape at all?

        Moore’s portrayal of sexual violence in his work is a reflection of evil in reality where sexual assault is far more common than bank robberies.. That he portrays women as the victim more often than men is also probably due to him reflecting on reality.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Male rape and child rape are both shown in all their horribleness in Lost Girls. I think the final orgy and storytelling session in that book function just as the extended depiction of Brears’ rape does in the Neonomicon. It forces readers to face reality when they’d rather be titillated by fantasy. It takes them out of the comic book grids and gutters and forces them to think about real people being raped and exploited and abused. Then it asks, “Do you really get off on *this*?”


    • …except he has shown both men and children being raped.
      And even if you were right one could argue that the rape of a man makes us less indignant than that of a woman, therefore its existence is often ignored.

      Oh, you people, always looking for something new about which you can fake indignation…

      Liked by 1 person

      • In the latest Providence we have both a man and a child being raped. Is Moore taking requests form this thread? Can I suggest Trump and a Shoggoth?

        Reader’s keep bemoaning Moore’s penchant for representing rape in his works and I again argue it’s not a fetish as much as a representation of reality. Bank robberies and plots for world domination aren’t really serious issues in the real world, but sexual assault is far more commonplace than we like to admit. The horrors of the real world are often every bit as horrific as the imaginings of Lovecraft.

        People are focusing on the assault in Neonomicon, but I find the horror of an attack by a dumb alien brute less disturbing than Moore’s “Mommy needn’t know.” moment back in Swamp Thing #26 implying abuse by a parent. Something that is all to real outside of the comic page.

        Liked by 3 people

    • I agree. Moore basically created Humanoids from The Deep in comic form.
      He added cults and ritualistic gore to justify the title, and replaced Peggy Larcen’s belly bursting with Agent Brears getting knocked up, because that is much sexier.

      I mean come on, “Annunciation Mary”?
      Never mind that Carcosa apparently lied to Brears in the dream about being associated with the Dagon sex cult (If he was not, how do you explain the Dagon cult recognizing his name, and the Deep One when it appeared, with them knowing so much about it’s sexual prowess?).

      Since when was Cthulhu ever depicted entering our realm as a helpless baby?
      And he is nice enough to only take the standard nine months that a human fetus takes to gestate, and be an uncomplicated natural delivery instead of just, you know, outgrowing Agent Brears’s meager human confines and bursting out of her, killing her in the process like one of those fish things from Roger Corman’s HoTD.

      This ending sort of sounds like that concept of a woman ‘taking back’ her power from a rapist by keeping the rape baby regardless of how it was fathered.
      That’s sort of noble, but again it’s a misrepresentation of what Cthulhu’s entrance into the world would mean.

      This is not edgy, this is not new. It’s been done, from “Humanoids from The Deep” and “Xtro”, to an episode of “Xena Warrior Princess” and an episode of Joss Whedon’s Buffy spin-off, “Angel”.

      It’s the tired ole’ “Woman is raped by something icky and ends up having its baby” storyline.
      Addling poor old sexually repressed HP Lovecraft’s mythos to it is just to add an air of legitimacy to this scenario.

      Hideki Takayama does it way better in his “Legend of The Overfiend” (1989) anime, which presents itself honestly as exploitation through and through, and yet is somehow more like Lovecraft than Neonomicon is.

      You have Nagumo, a poor bastard with cursed blood (Wilbur Whatley, Dunnwich horror) that dooms him to “hulk out” into this penis tentacled monster, initially believed to be the Overfiend, a being of unfathomable power that is prophesied to destroy/reshape the world.
      At different times, this presence takes possession of Nagumo in different forms, some humanoid, others much larger, and truly Cthulhu inspired.
      The point of interest is a girl he knows, Akemi.

      After being saved by Nagumo from a demon possessed stalker that had plans to rape her and orders to kill him, Akemi offers her love to Nagumo and they end up having sex.
      Partway through the act, Nagumo transforms. Akemi is frightened, but at no point does she tell Nagumo to stop. Then Nagumo reaches climax, and Akemi has this look on her face (fright?) as she vividly sees this green beam of light illuminate the darkness of her womb, and she somehow knows that she has conceived something terrible.

      It turns out that the real Overfiend was destined to be born from Akemi, with its father, a now Kaiju sized, tentacled Nagumo seemingly permanently relegated the role of world destroyer, to prepare for his child’s arrival.
      Meanwhile, Akemi is doomed to live out an unnaturally long pregnancy, (something like hundreds of years IIRC). until the Overfiend is finally ready to be born.

      And for the kicker, there is real apparent mind control, as the just newly conceived Overfiend answers the horrified question as to why the world must be destroyed with a child like, aloof sounding answer of “Because I am not satisfied with it ( laughter)”,

      This as Akemi floats like an angel in a green aura, a vacant, serene expression on her face as the voice emanates from her still flat lower belly.

      There. No rape of the heroine in the begetting of a living god.

      No moral high ground nonsense about humanity being vermin (If we were, then why would a human be selected to carry the embodiment of Cthulhu?), just humanity being wiped out by the childish whim of a horrifically, vastly more powerful entity.

      No gratuitous rape of the chosen one, just the horror of an unplanned pregnancy that has terrible ramifications for the human race.

      No ambiguity over whether or not the new mother was raped (Brears makes the distinction of being raped by the cult, but when speaking of the Deep One, she says that she “Saw it. F****D it. Eight times.” ).
      I mean, there are clues here and there in the writing that suggests that Brears did not serve the typical role as rape victim.
      She chastises the Deep One with “No more!” and “You HURT me.” as if saying such a thing would matter to a creature whose mind was set on rape. It sounds more like something one might say to a partner who took things too far.

      Then there is the whole sex addiction angle. Take away the gender role, and you are left with an individual that likes sex too much. That runs counter to a typical rape victim fetish, where it is clear that sex was the last thing they wanted, which empowers the rapist in the ‘taking’ of it all.

      And then there is the bawdy talk of Brears. In her dream state, she matter of fact-ly notes that she is wet, and assumes it is from sexual arousal, at which point Carcosa fills in the details of what is going on with the crude “deep” f***k joke.

      And then there was that sly shit with the contact lens gimmick.
      It could be implied that Brears initially went along with sex with the Deep One, (She was at gunpoint, and was already brought off by ‘Charlie’, against her will.) and she only hesitated when she put her lenses back in, and realized that what she had been screwing was not at all human.

      All that is pretty ambiguous writing, so you basically had to be hit over the head with rape imagery in the art.
      First with the implied and debasing “doggy style”, with the nasty hands pinning those of Agent Brears to the ground. And then you have the classic rapist stare down, so important that they allowed the jarring jump cut from the panel where her head is being held by the hands of the Deep One,forcing her to look into the face of her attacker, to suddenly switch to having the monster’s hands around her waist to pinion her in the water.

      Finally, I find it sort of hypocritical that they covered up and/or obscured the view of Agent Brear’s vulva while giving us a full frontal money shot of all the human shaped penises, since this is supposed to be about the horror of what is done to her after all.

      It bespeaks the hypocrisy of first suggesting that all of Lovecraft’s slimy sucker mouthed monsters were his suppressed views on female anatomy, then choosing to shy away from said anatomy in the comic itself. But penises, especially as a weapon for rape, now those are just fine.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve been thinking about what Brears’ sex addiction means in the context of Neonomicon, and I think a significant line is Brears’ comment in #2, p.14: “Who I fucked, it wasn’t to do with liking them, okay? Usually, it was about hating me.” I think this ties into what she says to Sax at the end of #4: “my mind’s being influenced… Look at this species, we’re pretty much vermin.”
    Sex addiction, for Brears, was tied up with self-hate. Cthulhu, or the Old Ones, or fate, or whoever is running this centuries-long plot, has exploited that feeling, forced it back to the front of her consciousness, and expanded it to a self-hatred that encompasses the entire species.


  5. I don’t think that substitution, or any substitution, would work. In Moore’s moral vision, evil is very much bound up with power and exploitation. As a horror writer, Moore really wants to expose evil, and the damage it does. Rape is the ultimate expression of that: the working of power and exploitation seeking to destroy what is most human. The fact that the world is full of rape is fundamental to Moore’s idea of horror in a way that other bodily functions aren’t.


  6. I’ve always wondered if Moore’s use of rape is, at least in part, his examination of and commentary on the state of what we find to be “acceptable” horror, especially when we compare his works to other works in the horror comic book medium (and, really, our entertainment more generally).

    For example, take a look at Grant Morrison’s recent miniseries Nameless, or pick up any Hellraiser comic book, or, hell, look at the cover of almost any given Crossed comic book. There is extreme violence in those works; in Nameless, the title character at one point is impaled on a tree while razor blades rain down from the sky and slice open his eyes (maybe…it’s hard to tell what exactly is and isn’t happening in that miniseries). Even in more mainstream comic books, violent death and (slightly) less extreme examples of body horror are largely given a pass. The shit Professor Pyg gets up to in the Batman comics is godawful, as an example.

    Rape (i.e., sexualized violence) isn’t given the same kind of pass as other forms of violence, even in a horror context, and I wonder if Moore, in Neonomicon, is exploring that taboo, probing it to see why it repels us so much when graphic depictions of murder and mutilation don’t (and this doesn’t just hold for comic books; graphic murder will normally only get a film an R rating in the US, while graphically-depicted sex, even consensual, positive sex, will get the film an X rating). Does this mean that, collectively, we think rape is more horrific than murder? If so, why? Those are questions that Neonomicon has really made me consider.

    Of course, as Moore and many others have pointed out, if you’re telling a story about Deep Ones, it’s a hard topic to avoid in the first place unless you really do go Lovecraft’s route and veil everything behind only the vaguest descriptions of Ye Liveliest Awfulness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sex is still taboo. You can have all sorts of over the top violence, with corpses stacked like firewood, but add in some sexuality and in come the censors. Sadly how much violence in the real world is sexual in nature? Moore’s just not avoiding the elephant in the room. Sex happens. Sexual violence happens. In a world with Deep Ones, Cultists, and Shoggoths, some pretty weird sex is going to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I completely agree. I think that the question being raised, at least in part, is, “Why is sex so much more taboo and disturbing than nonsexual violence, even extreme nonsexual violence?”


      • I think Moore’s hypothesis of sex-starved manchild Batman “scholars” hit the nail on the head. That, and his simple point, which is pretty undeniable, that murder is worse than rape. Yet thousands of fictional people are killed in every kind of medium every year. Sure rape is horrible, I don’t think Alan’s ever written about a pleasant one.


  7. What puzzles me is that the whole narrative arc of Neonomicon is about the birth of Cthulhu.

    Wait a minute, what happened exactly in Neonomicon?
    1. Brears & Lamper take part to a meeting of Dagon cultists which is totally random and doesn’t seem to be especially made for them.
    2. A random Deep One joins the party. The cultists’ reactions show that it’s rather unpredictible from one orgy to the next which size may be the Deep Ones joining. This one seems pretty big but apart from that it doesn’t seem to be fondamentally different from any other random Deep One, and nothing in his behavior later on makes us think this one could be a very unique member of its species. Its size only seems to be a narrative trick to both make it look more frightening and the escape more credible when it comes to tearing off the gate to the ocean.
    3. Sexual intercourse occurs between a Deep One and a human female, just like it has been the case in that room for centuries.

    So WTF about Cthulhu being supposed to be the offspring of such an event which is unbelievably mundane (just the fact that WE readers see it happen makes this occurrence special to us, but it has been happening thousand of times before) ???

    What Brears is really pregnant of is more likely to be just one of those poor fish-smelling ugly hybrids seen in Providence #3. Nothing more.

    And that makes the whole narrative arc a cheesy non-sense.


    • One of the plot points of the story is that male Deep One/female human couplings are normally infertile – which is why the focus of “The Shadow over Innsmouth” was on female Deep One/male human marriages – and that the hypothetical progeny of a male Deep One/female human coupling would be noticeably different and larger than normal; kind of like with ligers (product of a male lion/female tiger) being notably much larger than both parents.


    • The stars were in the right place? Cthulhu was getting restless eternally lying and wanted to be born? Something about Brears’s family tree (of which we know nothing)?

      Cthulhu, when he’s born in Providence, looks like a material, organic being. If he’s biologically incapable of fathering children it doesn’t really matter, and certainly he’s got a way to grow.

      Maybe sex between male Deep Ones and human women only rarely leads to conception, and this is that time? Any previous children might just have been fishy weirdoes but this one is Cthulhu because of mysterious but inevitable reasons.

      I dunno. There’s only one Cthulhu, he’s only born once, so why not now? One moment is as good as another.


  8. I have a theory that in Neonomicon the true father of Cthulhu is not the deep one, and it is certainly not Charlie the bookstore clerk who also raped Merrill. The true father of Cthulhu is Nyarlathotep, and the true moment of conception was Merrill’s dream in which she saw Johnny Carcosa. Only a God could father a Child as mighty as Great Cthulhu.


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