Wraparound Variant Covers

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.

The wraparound covers are, as the name suggests, single images that include the back as well as the front cover. From an artistic viewpoint, the basic design seems to have been an influence on Jacen Barrow’s later Dreamscape and Pantheon covers for Providence.

Neonomicon #1

Neonomicon #1 wraparound cover, by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon #1 wraparound cover, by Jacen Burrows

A depiction of sunken R’lyeh, where Cthulhu awaits. Compare the roughly Grecian architecture of columns and rotunda (far left) with Brears’ dream-image of R’lyeh in Neonomicon 3, P6.

neonomiconP6p1
Neonomicon #3, P6p1

 

Neonomicon #2

Neonomicon #2 wraparound cover, by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon #2 wraparound cover, by Jacen Burrows

The hoofed, tentacled creatures are likely intended to be the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath, taking their design from the Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game; that would suggest the amorphous, towering entity behind them might be Shub-Niggurath itself.

Dark Young from "S. Petersen's Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters", by Tom Sullivan
Dark Young from “S. Petersen’s Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters”, by Tom Sullivan

The CoC critter is itself derived from Robert Bloch’s Mythos story “Notebook Found in a Deserted House”:

Something black in the road, something that wasn’t a tree. Something big and black and ropy, just squatting there, waiting, with ropy arms squirming and reaching….It came crawling up the hillside…and it was the black thing of my dreams-that black, ropy, slimy jelly tree-thing out of the woods. It crawled up and it flowed up on its hoofs and mouths and snaky arms.

Neonomicon #3

Neonomicon #3 wraparound cover, by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon #3 wraparound cover, by Jacen Burrows

Likely a depiction of Atlach-Nacha, most famously described in Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Seven Geases“:

When it came near he saw that there was a kind of face on the squat ebon body, low down amid the several-jointed legs. The face peered up with a weird expression of doubt and inquiry; and terror crawled through the veins of the bold huntsman as he met the small, crafty eyes that were circled about with hair. Thin, shrill, piercing as a sting, there spoke to him the voice of the spider-god Atlach-Nacha […]

Neonomicon #4

Neonomicon #4 wraparound cover, by Jacen Burrows
Neonomicon #4 wraparound cover, by Jacen Burrows

A group of Deep Ones coming ashore; the larger entity behind them that resembles a gigantic Deep One is probably intended to be Dagon – although if so, Dagon looks considerably different from Burrow’s later depiction of him on the Pantheon cover of Providence #3. In comparison to the Deep One in Neonomicon, those on the cover have a few subtle differences – their eyes are orange, not blue, and their feet appear to be more heavily webbed. The lead/central figure also has a distorted left arm – either Burrows screwed up the perspective quite badly, or he purposely made is smaller and scrawnier than the right, perhaps as a reference to the declawing of crabs, where fishermen typically pull off the left claw, which regenerates in time.

 

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