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.
This appears to be Mrs. Herrero, the Spanish landlady from Lovecraft’s “Cool Air“:
Briefly consulting with Mrs. Herrero and the workmen despite a fear that gnawed my inmost soul, I advised the breaking down of the door; but the landlady found a way to turn the key from the outside with some wire device. We had previously opened the doors of all the other rooms on that hall, and flung all the windows to the very top. Now, noses protected by handkerchiefs, we tremblingly invaded the accursed south room which blazed with the warm sun of early afternoon.
- The woman is Cornelia Gerritsen, who first appeared on P13 of Providence #2. She is based on a character of the same name from Lovecraft’s story “The Horror at Red Hook” where she is described as “a young woman of excellent position.”
- The three claw-marks on the door appear close to identical with those that appear in the same issue, starting on P16.
Labelled “Mrs. Boggs-Marsh” on Bleeding Cool, this woman definitely has the “Innsmouth Look,” as described in Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth.” ‘Marsh’ in this case is evidently a reference to Capt. Obed Marsh, who initiated the trade with the Deep Ones in Innsmouth, but ‘Boggs’ recalls Capt. Jack Boggs from Neonomicon #2, P15, who was supposed to be the real-life inspiration for Marsh in the universe of Neonomicon. Several of the photos in the background also display the “Innsmouth Look.”
The fact that the woman is an albino suggests this is Lavinia Whateley, of “The Dunwich Horror.” The figure in reflected in the trail of blood is unknown, but the wide, goat-like nose suggests it may be her son, Wilbur Whateley.
The cover depicts Keziah Mason from “The Dreams in the Witch House” resembling her Providence analogue Hekeziah Massey (see Providence #5, P8,p1.) Note the mouse hole on the front of the step where she is standing.
The cover depicts Asenath Waite, from Lovecraft’s “The Thing on the Doorstep” where she’s described as: “Edward was thirty-eight when he met Asenath Waite. She was, I judge, about twenty-three at the time; and was taking a special course in mediaeval metaphysics at Miskatonic. The daughter of a friend of mine had met her before—in the Hall School at Kingsport—and had been inclined to shun her because of her odd reputation. She was dark, smallish, and very good-looking except for overprotuberant eyes; but something in her expression alienated extremely sensitive people. It was, however, largely her origin and conversation which caused average folk to avoid her. She was one of the Innsmouth Waites, and dark legends have clustered for generations about crumbling, half-deserted Innsmouth and its people.”
The painting behind her may be her ‘father’, Edgar Wade (Providence #6, P10,p1), Etienne Roulet (Providence #2, P34), or some other ‘ancestor’. In any case, it almost certainly depicts an earlier body that hosted ‘Asenath’.
The figure appears to be a female ghoul, echoing this issue’s theme of “Pickman’s Model.”
Probably “Mrs. Forrester” from the farm outside Manchester, NH where the “stone” came down, echoing the events of “The Colour Out of Space.” The house is the same one depicted in the 1882 flashback panel in Providence #5 P13,p3. (Thanks commenter MS)
The woman depicted is H.P. Lovecraft’s mother Sarah Susan Phillips, who appears in this issue P24-25. Her identity was confirmed in an interview with Burrows: “[The Women of HPL #9 cover] is Lovecraft’s mother. It is quite a few years after the only known photos of her I could find so I had to extrapolate a bit making her harder to recognize.”
The cover depicts Johnny Carcosa’s mother who appears in Moore and Burrows earlier Lovecraft stories and comics The Courtyard and Neonomicon. See Neonomicon #1 P22. She stands at the gate of the titular courtyard – see Neonomicon #1 cover and P20,p1.
This is apparently Lovecraft’s wife, the writer and businesswoman Sonia Hart Greene. In an interview, Burrows stated: “Just to head off future confusion, Lovecraft’s wife appears on a later cover although she isn’t in the story. She’s a bit obscured and I know it will probably be a little confusing so I figured I’d mention it.”
The cover depicts a very pregnant Merrill Brears, the protagonist of Moore and Burrows’ Neonomicon.