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Category Archives: Comic Books

This weekend, happening to stop by a comic shop on my way home from failing to sign a lease, I discovered a new Lovecraftian comic book entiled “The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles.” Despite that rather ridiculous title with its awkward allusion to “The Call of Cthulhu” I was somehow… drawn to this dark covered tome before any others. Published by Boom! Studios, it’s an intertwining story of… Well, so far it’s not really clear. There are two primary perspective characters as of the first issue: Clay Diggs, a pharmaceutical rep who is slightly ruthless, though kind, in his trade, and seemingly a great family man. His sister has gone mad, due to some strange phenomenon which I’ll get to later. The other character, who is less important in the first issue, is Paige Brees. Her husband was on a boat called the Paradise, on which every single human being mysteriously died. But the main character is clearly the as yet unnamed child, spoken of so far only as “baby” by his mother and “her son” by some elderly people who appear to be her parents. He is also told he is chosen by some culitists. Clay Diggs’s sister, Azilee, has been stalked by a strange, hooded man, who seems to only appear in photos. She seemed unaware of him until well after he began whispering to her; her boyfriend’s Polaroid camera is the only source of his sight. The big twist at the end is that, dun dun dun! The investigating Clay is now being stalked by the strange man. So, the story is pretty basic fare. Quality horror, scary, unknown goings-on; yet so far, every single character is clearly human or humanoid. This is something that frustrates me about most Post-Lovecraft Lovecraftiana; the “enemy” is imbued with far too many human(ish) characteristics. If this review interests you, I am sure you are familiar with August Derleth’s recasting of Lovecraft’s “gods” as forces of good and evil. This seems, so far, to be what is happening in this comic. The cultists are not dark and spooky; they’re the sort of people who will kill a child’s loving mother right in front of him mostly just for the hell of it. Perhaps it’s essential to their Dark Ritual that he suffers so; but even that isn’t very much in keeping with Lovecraftian themes. We can only hope that it will turn out that they do not understand what they are truly doing; that they are merely sadists who want to summon something terrible because they have nothing better to do; rather like Ladd Russo’s gang, we hope that all of them are of the understanding that, sooner or later, they will all be killed by that thing they follow. The narrative is quite intriguing; the story winds in and out of itself, intersecting with elements which are clearly the main story, yet are shunted into the background, while the main story is also at the forefront. It’s intertwining stories, with clear focus points – though it is unclear which, if any, is THE focus point. Clay so far has great provenance over Paige, but their connection to the dead ship Paradise makes it certain that Paige will not simply fade into the background. Had lovecraft himself written it, we would get the whole of Paige’s story at once, without the ominous visit to the dying Paradise at the beginning. This is not an issue at all; simply a stylistic difference. The art is good. The dead bodies are suitably inexplicable, but there is a strange overuse of shadows. Deep sunken eyes are far too deep sunken; perhaps the Cultist Leader will turn out to be inhuman. The strangest is when Azilee’s boyfriend, the photographer, is suddenly veiled in shadow in his well lit living room. He isn’t even saying something particularly spooky, for his narrative. I also cannot help but note one police officer’s disturbing resemblance to Axe Cop, despite his lack of mustache, axe, or villain-genocidal expression. Overall, though, the art is rather non-notable. Good, I would like to see more, but ultimately… non-notable. In brief, then: I look forward to future issues of this series, but I am not ready yet to recommend this. If you are the sort of person who voraciously consumes all Lovecraftian work, regardless of quality, then this is for you. No that tI would need to tell you that. Same if you feel this way about horror or Strange Mysteries. But for most people, I reserve judgment.