The penultimate issue of Providence came out yesterday, and it is a reference-packed tour de force taking the narrative from Black’s 1919 to the present day. Eagle-eyed readers can spot “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Horror at Red Hook,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” “The Thing at the Doorstep”, Robert E. Howard, William Burroughs, Clark Ashton Smith and much, much more. There are also plenty of ties to Moore and Burrows’ The Courtyard and Neonomicon.
The Facts Providence team has first-run-through Providence #11 annotations up. Site authors and readers will continue to review, update and add details. Look them over and let us know if there are things we got wrong or missed.
Providence artist Jacen Burrows has generously agreed to do an “Ask the Artist” session for readers of Facts in the Case of Alan Moore’s Providence. Submit your questions now; use the comments section below. Starting this Friday July 15, 2016, Burrows will be responding to questions.
The Facts Providence team will be collating questions, in some cases combining similar questions and passing them along to the artist. Burrows says it’s fine to ask about earlier works, but that he won’t answer questions about page rates nor will he show scripts because they are not his property.
If you’re interested in asking a question, go for it. For background, you might want to check our Jacen Burrows appreciation essay or these earlier interviews where he has spoken about Providence:
And on the corner of Bridge St. & Elizabeth Ave. is a terrible old house—a hellish place where night-black deeds must have been done in the early seventeen-hundreds—with a blackish unpainted surface, unnaturally steep roof, & an outside flight of steps leading to the second story, suffocatingly embowered in a tangle of ivy so dense that one cannot but imagine it accursed or corpse-fed. It reminded me of the Babbitt house in Benefit St., which as you recall made me write those lines entitled “The House” in 1920. Later its image came up again with renewed vividness, finally causing me to write a new horror story with its scene in Providence & with the Babbit house as its basis. It is called “The Shunned House”, & I finished it last Sunday night.
– H. P. Lovecraft to Lillian Clark, 4 November 1924, Letters from New York 82
After what seemed like a relatively slow burn, Providence moves into its final act. Providence #9 is due in stores next week, Wednesday June 1. We don’t have any advance knowledge of what this next issue holds, but we can make some educated guesses based on pre-publicized covers and other hints.
In Providence #8, Robert Black met H.P. Lovecraft, who invited Black to pay a visit to his 598 Angell Street home in Providence, RI.
Lovecraft, of course, was born in Providence, and, other than two years in New York City and many travels throughout the country, lived his entire life there. If Lovecraft is true to form, he would likely take Black on a lengthy walking tour of his beloved city, showing points of antiquarian interest and perhaps stopping for ice cream.
One site that seems likely to feature prominently in one way or another is the Babbit house at 135 Benefit Street, shown on the regular cover of Providence #9. In January 1919, Lovecraft’s ailing mother, Susie, briefly stayed with her older sister, Lillian Clark, at this house. In “The Shunned House” Lovecraft later fictionalized the house as a haunted vampire-like place sucking the life out of its inhabitants. From Lovecraft’s story:
What I heard in my youth about the shunned house was merely that people died there in alarmingly great numbers. That, I was told, was why the original owners had moved out some twenty years after building the place. It was plainly unhealthy, perhaps because of the dampness and fungous growth in the cellar, the general sickish smell, the draughts of the hallways, or the quality of the well and pump water. These things were bad enough, and these were all that gained belief among the persons whom I knew. […]
The general fact is, that the house was never regarded by the solid part of the community as in any real sense “haunted”. There were no widespread tales of rattling chains, cold currents of air, extinguished lights, or faces at the window. Extremists sometimes said the house was “unlucky”, but that is as far as even they went. What was really beyond dispute is that a frightful proportion of persons died there; or more accurately, had died there, since after some peculiar happenings over sixty years ago the building had become deserted through the sheer impossibility of renting it. These persons were not all cut off suddenly by any one cause; rather did it seem that their vitality was insidiously sapped, so that each one died the sooner from whatever tendency to weakness he may have naturally had. And those who did not die displayed in varying degree a type of anaemia or consumption, and sometimes a decline of the mental faculties, which spoke ill for the salubriousness of the building. Neighbouring houses, it must be added, seemed entirely free from the noxious quality.
Facts in the Case of Alan Moore’s Providence: Tell our readers a bit about you. Where are you based? What’s your background? What do you specialize in?
Susanna Peretz: I’m based in London. My background is in fine art, sculpting, mold making, make up, prosthetics, hair and wigs. I run my own fx studio where we provide all of the above.
You’ve collaborated in the past with Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins. Could you tell our readers a bit about some of these past projects?
I worked with Alan and Mitch on Jimmy’s End and His Heavy Heart, two short films that developed into the feature length film Showpieces which has just been released as part of a Box Set available from Amazon. The films were shot in Northampton which as I’m sure you know is Alan’s home town. The world in which part of this story is set is actually called Nighthampton – a dark mirror image of the town.
How did you collaborate with Providence artist Jacen Burrows? What came first? Did your ghoul designs follow Burrows’ ghoul drawings, or did Burrows’ drawings follow what you were doing with the prosthetics? Did you both work from descriptions from Alan Moore and/or H.P. Lovecraft?
Alan has a very vivid imagination and the brief came from him as well as an initial sketch of how he envisaged the ghouls. I am a Lovecraft fan anyway so am familiar with his style.
My process started with research into different images that related to Alan’s description. This took in studies of everything from gargoyles to monkeys to bats, canine and feline features, facial structures and teeth. Everything went in the melting pot of ideas prior to the initial sculpt which I then showed to Mitch and Alan. I believe the illustrations came after this. It was a long process!
(note: see Burrow’s later comments below)
Alan Moore is renown for lengthy comics scripts. Did he write a “script” specifically for this panel, or was it just part of Providence #7 script? How long were his instructions? Could you share any particulars?Continue reading →
There is barely any new material in it for us die-hard Providence fans, but this week saw the first collected editions of Moore and Burrows’ Providence. The limited edition hardcover Providence Act 1 costs $19.99. It is limited to 6666 copies.
The collection preserves the issue-by-issue pagination by taking the individual comics’ back cover Lovecraft quotes and placing them on the back of each cover page (though these cover images are now chapter pages.) Page-turn reveals, including the peacock feather seller at the end of the second chapter, remain the way Moore and Burrows engineered them.
The back cover of Act 1 does includes a heretofore unseen Jacen Burrows illustration of the shed where the invisible John-Divine Wheatley resides. On the wall, of course, are the crayon drawings that appear interspersed in issue four’s Commonplace Book back matter. Continue reading →
We are still, yawn, wiping the sleep from the corners of our collective eyes, but the Facts in the Case of Alan Moore’s Providence team has finished our first-draft annotations for Providence #8.
As with Moore and Burrows earlier issues, there is plenty on the surface, and lots references buried below. The issue features the then 29 year old Howard Phillip Lovecraft himself (!) plus his maternal grandfather. Additionally there are Lord Dunsany, Randolph Carter (or Randall Carver if you please), dreamscapes, ghouls, ghasts, cats, klansmen, a Civil War general, legionnaires, and plenty more.