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The Sciences

Preview Night at Comic-Con: Lovecraft Lives!

Science Not FictionBy Stephen CassJuly 24, 2008 11:20 AM
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So the DISCOVER gang has landed at Comic-Con, and forged our way through the madding crowd looking for the cool and quirky. Something that immediately grabbed my eye in amongst the smaller booths of the independent publishers here was The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft, a serialized graphic novel. I could only get my hands on the first issue, which the creators specially printed as a limited edition to coincide with Comic-con: they are currently negotiating with a publisher about whether or not to distribute The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft as serial or as a single bound novel. Whatever the outcome of these negotiations, I hope they get it into stores soon, as from what I've seen, it's a terrific voyage into the twisted worlds of Lovecraftian fiction. I'm a big fan of Lovecraft, and even though his work may superficially seem dated, being mostly set in the 1920's, the themes still resonate strongly today -- how do we cope with a universe that is bigger and more mysterious than we can ever truly comprehend? The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft is historical fiction, taking H.P. Lovecraft himself as its central figure, deliberately crossing the line between Lovecraft the author and his fantastic creations. This avoids the all-too-common pitfall of making yet another derivative work set in the universe he created. Blurring the line between reality and fiction is far more evocative of the true spirit of Lovecraft's stories than simply name-dropping a few of his demi-Gods or cherry picking other elements of his mythos to work into a story. And by making Lovecraft a character, The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft brings back into view an underrated American author who deserves to be much more widely known—the influence of his blending of the modern and scientific with the atavistic and supernatural can be be felt not just throughout literary science fiction and horror, but even in something like Ghostbusters (it's no coincidence that when J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, was writing for the animated Ghostbuster series, which was somewhat darker than the movies, he wrote an episode centered on Cthulu, the monstrous demi-god that is Lovecraft's most famous invention, along with the dreaded book The Necronomicon.) Fingers crossed for chapter two!

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