Tagged: Sherlock Holmes

A Girl and Her Cat– Honey West Returns!

Cover Art: Douglas Klauba

Win Scott Eckert has shared the final cover to the upcoming Honey West/T.H.E. Cat novel: A Girl and Her Cat by artist Douglas Klauba. A Girl and Her Cat is the first new Honey West novel in over 40 years.

Available for order soon via Diamond and direct from Moonstone!

Following on the heels of the first ever Honey West & T.H.E Cat crossover comic, Moonstone’s “Death in the Desert,” comes the Honey West & T.H.E Cat novel, A Girl and Her Cat…

When an exotic green-eyed Asian doctor hires Honey to recover a stolen sample of a new Rubella vaccine from a rival scientist, the blonde bombshell private eye—suspicious but bored—takes the case. But after she’s attacked not once, but twice, on her way from Long Beach to San Francisco to track down her quarry, she knows there’s more—much more—to her femme fatale client than meets the eye.

Along the way, Honey’s one-time paramour Johnny Doom—ex-bounty hunter and current Company agent—reenters the picture, and the gorgeous doctor’s insidious—and deadly—grandfather deals himself in. But when Honey questions whether Johnny’s playing her game, or just playing her for a patsy, she joins forces—as only Honey can—with the one man in Frisco who can help her recover the stolen vaccine-cum-bioweapon and prevent worldwide genocide by germ-warfare—former cat burglar-turned-bodyguard Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat: T.H.E Cat!

Join writers Win Scott Eckert and Matthew Baugh, and cover artist Douglas Klauba, for A Girl and Her Cat, a groovy, racy 1960s romp coming soon from Moonstone!

Win Scott Eckert (The Green Hornet, The Avenger, Pat Wildman, The Domino Lady, Zorro, The Phantom, Sherlock Holmes, Wold Newton Origins, etc.)
Matthew Baugh (Zorro, The Avenger, The Green Hornet, Sherlock Holmes, Six-Guns Straight from Hell, The Phantom, the Cthulhu Mythos, etc.)
Douglas Klauba (The Phantom, Zorro, The Green Hornet, The Spider, Kolchak, The Black Terror, The Green Lama, Philip Marlowe, Doc Savage, etc.)
Moonstone: Classic & new heroes in thrilling tales of adventure, mystery, & horror!

John Ostrander: The Essence

Ostrander Art 130804A week or so ago I was talking about how in the Man of Steel movie they had Superman kill someone. No spoiler alert: if you haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s your own damn fault. It did violate one of the traditional tenets that marked Superman as Superman – he doesn’t kill. Lots of innocent bystanders must have also died during his battle with Kryptonians in Smallville and Metropolis but hey – collateral damage.

I did note, however, that characters that have been around a lot need an updating to keep them relevant to the times in which they are being read/watched. The question to me is – how much change is acceptable before you’ve altered the character so much that they are no longer really that character. What defines each character? What are the essentials?

I read in a recent Entertainment Weekly that Andrew Garfield, the current movie Peter Parker/Spider-Man, suggested that the next Mary Jane actually be a guy. Have Peter explore his sexuality with a guy. Even the director, Marc Webb, when asked if he had heard Garfield’s idea, seemed to do an eye roll.

That idea certainly isn’t traditional Peter Parker and got some discussion, but is it that far off? I’m not saying I endorse the idea but wouldn’t it make Peter more contemporary, something to which younger readers/viewers might relate? Would a bi-sexual Peter Parker be any less Spider-Man? Would a Peter Parker in a lip lock with a guy be more shocking than a Superman who kills?

The comics’ Spider-Man has taken it further. In the book, Spider-Man’s old foe Doctor Octopus has taken over Peter’s body and life and identity of Spider-Man with Peter looking real dead and gone. Otto Octavius is now Spider-Man. WTF?

The powers are the same, but the character sure isn’t. Is it the powers that define who Spider-Man is or is it the man behind the mask? If the latter, is this really Spider-Man?

This isn’t the only character to which this has happened. Iron Man has had people other than Tony Stark in the armor. Batman has had a couple of people under the cowl. And let’s not start on Robin. Or Batgirl.

The stories of Sherlock Holmes have also lent themselves to numerous interpretations. There are currently two TV series that put Holmes into modern day. I only really know the BBC series, Sherlock, but despite changing the era it feels so Holmesian to me. It feels like they got the essentials right.

I did it myself with my own character GrimJack. First I killed off the main character, John Gaunt, then I brought his soul back into a clone of himself and then, eventually, I had him reborn into another person, James Edgar Twilley, although again, it was the same soul. Munden’s Bar remained but the supporting cast was different and I had bounced the whole thing down the time line a hundred years or so and the setting of Cynosure was also changed.

I knew why I did it at the time. I felt my writing was getting stale and the character was as well. We hadn’t been around all that long but I felt we were getting tripped up on our own continuity. Sales were eroding. My editor asked me to come up with some way of making the book dangerous again.  That’s how I chose to do it.

Was it still GrimJack? Yes, I felt it was – in its essentials. An alienated and violent loner in a strange city living by his own code. Same soul, two lives. It still felt like GrimJack.

I’m willing to bet that most re-examinations of a given character or concept stems from that – to look at it all with fresh eyes, to make the reader/viewer do the same. To me, that’s trying to get to the essentials.

Maybe we aren’t all agreed as to what the essentials are in any given character or concept. That may vary from person o person, fan to fan. I think that’s why there are quibbles right now about Man of Steel; if Superman not killing is essential to the character, there’s a problem with the newest version. On the other hand, if “do not kill” rule is just like wearing red trunks, then it’s not essential. Is the Man of Steel Superman?

That comes down to you.

MONDAY MORNING: Mindy Newell

TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten

 

Emily S. Whitten: SDCC Part 3 – Notes from the Psych Press Room

Whitten Art 130731Psych is a warm and engaging and frequently hilarious show, and having spoken to the cast and crew at SDCC, I can attest that they are just as much of a blast to talk to as the show is to watch. I got to sit down with James Roday, Dulé Hill, Cary Elwes, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen, Steve Franks, Chris Henze, and Kelly Kulchak and dish about the show. Here’s what I learned.

The Psych cast sings around the set a lot, and loved doing Psych: The Musical (which will air in December), and actually singing for the cameras.

Kirsten Nelson: “It was exciting to do! It was a whole lot of fun to go into a recording studio to record the songs and play it back for the crew, who were excited to hear us sing. They hear us singing, goofing around all the time, but now they’re like, ‘Oh my God, that’s an orchestra backing you, and you guys sound good.’”

Dulé Hill: “I liked the opening number, which really represented what our show is about, and all the things happening in the background there; and the Jamaican bit. Steve wrote that for me and it was a lot of fun.”

James Roday: “I was surprisingly moved by Mary Lightly as an angel sending off Yang’s number. Just because, like Despereaux, Yang is a character that we’ve kind of truly built into the fiber of our show; and without spoiling too much, I felt like it was the end of something, within the framework of our show. And I thought it was very well executed.”

The newly introduced Harris Trout (Anthony Michael Hall) is going to cause chaos in Season 8:

Kirsten: “He wreaks havoc on all of their lives, and the SBPD is turned upside-down. I’m not in those episodes; the guys aren’t hired for stuff; and Lassiter is demoted. He’s wearing his blue uniform – he’s a beat cop again!”

Cary Elwes returns in Season 8 for another Despereaux episode, and it’s going to be epic:

James: “It’s pretty rad, you guys. We go to London (and it looks a lot like Vancouver) and we get involved with some Guy Ritchie-like gangster hi-jinks; and right in the middle of it all is the return of Pierre Despereaux, throwing us yet another curveball.”

Dulé: “As always with Despereaux, you never know what to believe.”

James:  “You never know what’s real and what’s not.”

Cary Elwes: “Vinnie Jones joined us for some fun, and man, we just laughed our way through this entire episode; it just was so much fun.”

James: “And it was a new kind of color and flavor for Cary to play as well.”

Cary: “A really funny episode; I can’t wait to see it. I had a lot of fun doing it. Every time I get the call to come and play with these guys, I’m ready to go. I have more fun working on this show than any other show I’ve ever done.”

Steve Franks is a Sherlock Holmes fan, and the London gangster episode is not only a little bit Guy Ritchie, but also a little bit Harry Potter:

Steve Franks: “Certainly, Psych was inspired by Sherlock Holmes, The Great Observer; and since then they’ve made a few of these Sherlock Holmes movies, that Guy Ritchie has done. I was really excited to see those, because in those they do a thing where Holmes sees things almost like a Shawn vision. It was very cool how similar that is. Then that gave me license to totally go and rip off Guy Ritchie, and we’re doing a London gangster episode – but that’s too straightforward for a Psych episode – so that’s where I took Harry Potter and mashed those two together. So we have an episode called, ‘Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels, and Burton Guster’s Goblet of Fire.’”

Season 8 focuses on the core characters:

Maggie Lawson: “I don’t think in Season 8 so far we’re getting into our families as much as we are “this” family. I think we’re dealing less with the outside relationships; it’s a very core season. We’re really in it with each other, not so much family members. Although I would love to see another family member turn up, because I have the coolest family ever. Jeffrey Tambor, and William Shatner, and John Cena. Like, who’s next?”

Timothy Omundson: “It could only be topped by Sean Connery playing your grandfather.”

Maggie: “That would do it!”

Season 8 will be a season of changes and emotional rollercoasters:

James: “There’s definitely more emotional stuff coming; I think we’re just at that point in the run of the show. Last year kind of opened the gate for some more character-driven stuff to happen. It’s more of a character-focused season than we’ve had in the past.”

Dulé: “I also think the characters are realizing that it’s time to move forward. You can’t stay stagnant. So there are a lot of changes happening in the characters’ lives.”

Timothy: “Shit gets real in the SBPD in Season 8.”

Maggie: “It really does. I’ve heard Steve say that it’s a bit of a rollercoaster, Shawn and Juliet (dealing with the aftermath of Season 7’s episode ‘Deez Nups’) in Season 8; and I think that might be an understatement. It’s pretty intense.”

Timothy: “Season 7 cracked the door; Season 8 blows it off its hinges. It’s like a garage door blowing off its hinges – which actually happened to us in Season 3, by the way, by accident, and almost turned us into collateral damage! Season 8 is just so big and so intense and so emotional; it’s unlike anything we’ve done.”

Can Juliet forgive Shawn in Season 8?

Maggie: “I think as with any couple that truly loves each other, there come these times when it’s like, ‘Are we in this forever, and is forgiveness on the table?’ I think Juliet definitely has it in her to forgive him fully. I think there was part of her that was enchanted by the idea that he might really have been psychic, but there was probably a seed of doubt. Maybe why it hurt so bad is that they’d been together for so long, and it took that long for him to tell her.”

Timothy: “…And the fact that he’s a lying son-of-a-bitch?”

If Juliet had never met Shawn…

Maggie: “Juliet definitely would have married a Miami Dolphin.”

Dulé Hill really does have a super-sniffer, at least when it comes to finding nearby food.

Dulé: “I’m always snacking on something off-camera.”

Cary: “And he never puts on weight; it’s incredible.”

Dulé: “It’s my little secret.”

James Roday does not like being wet or hung upside-down:

Steve: “Who tells us no on set? Nobody tells us no; that’s why we get away with it!”

Chris Henze: “Sometimes James tells you no if you say, ‘We’re going to do an episode where you jump into this water; and then you’re going to be wet…”

Kelly Kulchak: “…and then you’re going to be on a horse.’“

Steve: “James doesn’t like to be wet or hung upside down. Those are the only things that he’ll say no to.”

Corbin Bernsen likes to think Shawn is actually (to use the term loosely) psychic:

Corbin Bernsen: “I [Henry] taught him observation, right? But I didn’t teach him the conclusion to the observation. So you might look at two clues, and she might look at two clues; and you both see them, but what do you conclude from them? I could argue that there is an ability, that’s somewhat psychic, to say ‘I know that connects him to the murder,’ when someone else doesn’t see it, though you’re both looking at the same thing. So I would say that he is a psychic, and he’s not fake.”

Steve Franks is Shawn and Gus:

Steve: “This is the weird thing – Shawn and Gus are equal parts of my personality. I am a person who is terrified to go open one of those doors over there to walk into somewhere; but at the same time I have all of Shawn’s quips and snotty remarks. So I’m constantly at war with myself at all times. So it was sort of born out of that idea. And my desire, and the way that we sort of run the show, is that our life is the constant search for fun. And how much is too much; and how much is getting in the way of becoming an actual self-realized human being. So for us when we break stories, it’s like, “Ooh, what roles do we get to play?” It was mostly born out of the two sides of my personality. It’s well-represented in the cartoon strip Calvin & Hobbes.”

Steve Franks would happily do Psych forever (or an approximation thereof):

Steve: “We’ll do it for as long as they’ll pay for our episodes. We love doing it; we’ve been around awhile; we’re going to do it in any incarnation we can. I’d like to ultimately do Psych movies every once in awhile.”

Man, I’d love to see that, and I’ll say this: as long as they keep doing awesome episodes of Psych, I’ll keep watching it!

Thanks to the cast and crew of Psych for sitting down with me for these interviews, and to USA Network for setting it all up.

And until next time, Servo Lectio!

THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Martin Pasko

THURSDAY EVENING: Yep! More Emily S. Whitten!

(note: all times vague but Eastern-USA)

 

John Ostrander: Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day

OStrander Art 130728There are certain films I’ve discovered just by channel surfing; likewise, there are films that I know and when I come across them (again, channel surfing), I may stay to watch a given scene and then find myself watching the film through to the end. Most of the OT Star Wars movies are like that; so is Casablanca. This morning my Mary and I came across another, Miss Pettgrew Lives For A Day.  I found it first on TV, bought a copy, and today watched the movie through to the end anyway.

The 2008 film stars Amy Adams, Frances McDormand, Ciaran Hinds, Lee Pace, Mark Strong and Shirley Henderson, among others, and it was directed by Bharat Nalluri with a screenplay by David Magee and Simon Beaufoy adapting the 1937 novel by Winifred Watson.

I suspect you’ll already know Amy Adams’ and Frances McDormand’s work. Bharat Nalluri may be more known to ComicMix readers as the man who directed episodes of MI-5 and Torchwood: Miracle Day. Writer David Magee wrote Finding Neverland (another film I love) and Life of Pi. Simon Beaufoy won an Academy Award for Slumdog Millionaire and has also scripted the upcoming The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as well as The Full Monty.

Ciaran Hinds has a mixture of films to his credit. He played Dumbledore’s brother in the final Harry Potter film, was also in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as well as John Carter and Game of Thrones. I thought he was very hammy in Political Animals, the Sigourney Weaver TV miniseries but he’s wonderful and understated in Miss Pettigrew.

Mark Strong was in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and John Carter as well and also played Sinestro in the Green Lantern film as well as Lord Blackwood in the Sherlock Holmes film with Robert Downey Jr. Lee Pace is in all three Hobbit movies and will be playing Ronan the Accuser in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film.

Why do I tell you all this? To drive home that Miss Pettigrew has a really good pedigree and it lives up to it.

The story is gossamer light for all that it’s set in London in 1938 on the eve of World War II. That gives the film an underlying shadow; we know what’s waiting in the wings. So do some of the characters and it adds a poignancy to the story.

The story? Imdb does a nice job of summarizing the story so I’ll quote it: “War threatens London as Miss Pettigrew, a destitute governess, filches a client’s card from her agency and presents herself at the door. A singer named Delysia Lafosse wants a social secretary as she seeks a West End role by sleeping with a feckless producer in the bed of Nick, a smarmy nightclub owner with whom she also dallies. She ignores Michael, her piano player, who loves her and has tickets for New York on the Queen Mary. Miss Pettigrew’s job is to make sure Delysia gets the part. Over 24 hours, Miss Pettigrew is also called upon to help an ambitious and unfaithful fashion editor patch things up with her older fiancé, a lingerie designer. Has Miss Pettigrew found her calling?”

Amy Adams is Delysia and she’s perfection. She has superb comedic timing and shows real heart in a character that could otherwise be described as flighty and manipulative. The character is a fake but there are reasons why and a past that comes up at key moments. There’s an innocence to her. And it’s a brave performance. At the emotional climax, when she sings “If I Didn’t Care”, there are notes where Amy Adams shows us that Delysia is a good singer but not a great one. She’s not as good a singer as Amy Adams proved in Enchanted. You can hear that song on YouTube.

Listen to how the real character breaks through as she sings the song and discovers where her heart truly lies.

Frances McDomand’s performance as Miss Pettigrew is a lesson in underacting. The character starts very cold and distant, with a very set idea of what is right, and it all gets turned upside down as she encounters Delysia. Her heart, her warmth, opens up as she deals and helps the chaos that is the younger woman.

All the actors are wonderful and the movie itself could have been made in the 30s – all the period details seem so right. It’s a beautiful film to look at and the costumes and the cars and the sets all establish a reality – one that you know is soon to vanish. I never escape the underlying threat of war that runs through the film.

Just wanted to share a film that has become one of my favorites. Will you like it? Beats me. But if you’re a tad tired of superheroes right now and explosions and all that, you might want to give it a try.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell

TUESDAY MORNING (and so on): Emily S. Whitten

 

Honey West and T.H.E Cat: A Girl and Her Cat- Cover Sketch Reveal!

Art: Douglas Klauba

It’s Honey West and T.H.E Cat, in the first new Honey West novel in over 40 years, A Girl and Her Cat!

Following on the heels of the first ever Honey West & T.H.E Cat crossover comic, Moonstone’s “Death in the Desert,” comes the Honey West & T.H.E Cat novel, A Girl and Her Cat…

Cover art teaser! Initial concept sketch by the mighty Douglas Klauba!

When an exotic green-eyed Asian doctor hires Honey to recover a stolen sample of a new Rubella vaccine from a rival scientist, the blonde bombshell private eye—suspicious but bored—takes the case. But after she’s attacked not once, but twice, on her way from Long Beach to San Francisco to track down her quarry, she knows there’s more—much more—to her femme fatale client than meets the eye.

Along the way, Honey’s one-time paramour Johnny Doom—ex-bounty hunter and current Company agent—reenters the picture, and the gorgeous doctor’s insidious—and deadly—grandfather deals himself in. But when Honey questions whether Johnny’s playing her game, or just playing her for a patsy, she joins forces—as only Honey can—with the one man in Frisco who can help her recover the stolen vaccine-cum-bioweapon and prevent worldwide genocide by germ-warfare—former cat burglar-turned-bodyguard Thomas Hewitt Edward Cat: T.H.E Cat!

Join writers Win Scott Eckert and Matthew Baugh, and cover artist Douglas Klauba Artworks, for A Girl and Her Cat, a groovy, racy 1960s romp coming soon from Moonstone! (Stay tuned for ordering information!)

– Win Scott Eckert (The Green Hornet, The Avenger, Pat Wildman, The Domino Lady, Zorro, The Phantom, Sherlock Holmes, Wold Newton Origins, etc.)
– Matthew Baugh (Zorro, The Avenger, The Green Hornet, Sherlock Holmes, Six-Guns Straight from Hell, The Phantom, the Cthulhu Mythos, etc.)
– Douglas Klauba (The Phantom, Zorro, The Green Hornet, The Spider, Kolchak, The Black Terror, The Green Lama, Philip Marlowe, Doc Savage, etc.)
– Moonstone: Classic & new heroes in thrilling tales of adventure, mystery, & horror!

Learn more here.

John Ostrander: Improving On The Legends

39583There’s a constant desire these days, it appears, to try to improve on existing works. That’s not a bad idea except when it is a bad idea. A good character, a good concept, that’s been around for a while needs to have the barnacles taken off every so often to make it fresh and work better. Movies adapted from comics have to take a good look at the source material and then tweak and change it to make it work for the big/small screen.

For me, the problem comes when the concept is changed willy-nilly until you can no longer recognize it. When J.J. Abrams re-booted the Star Trek franchise a few years back, I was dubious but I genuinely enjoyed the result (as of this writing, I haven’t seen the sequel). I can understand many hardcore Trek fans not sharing my enthusiasm. For them, Abrams wandered too far from the zeitgeist of Star Trek. I think it was nephew Bill who said to me, “I love Star Wars. But if I wanted to watch Star Wars, I’d watch Star Wars. This is Star Trek.” (He’ll get his opportunity to see an Abrams Star Wars film in the future, if he’s so inclined.)

We see it all the time in comics. Characters are re-imagined on a constant basis. The only constant is change, it would seem. Change for the sake of change, however, is not always a good plan.

I’ve been as guilty of it as the next writer. Years ago, Marvel approached me with coming up with a new pitch for The Punisher. The fans had gotten burned out with the multitude of Punisher titles and the concept was moribund.

I’ll be honest; I wasn’t much of a Punisher fan. I felt he was one-dimensional and Frank Castle had wiped out enough Mafiosi over the years to populate a small city. I told them I’d try to come up with something and what I came up with was – Castle joins a Mafia family. I thought they’d never go for it, but they did.

Different? You bet. Wrong? Yup. Did the readers buy it? Nope. It wasn’t The Punisher. I had wandered off the essential concept.

I wasn’t on the book all that long (18 issues) and, late in the run, the concept of Castle switching sides was dropped and we played a different game – Castle, as a result of an explosion, had lost his memory. He didn’t know he was the Punisher, he couldn’t remember his family being killed, but he still had the same skills, the same instincts. Frank Castle was still The Punisher although he didn’t know it. This worked better but the series was cancelled before we could get too far; in fact, we wound it up in Heroes For Hire that I was scripting at the time. Perhaps if we had gone with the amnesia angle from the start, it might have worked better.

A revamp or a remake works if you can define what makes a given character to be that character. You want to get down to the basics, not ignore them. For example, we’ve seen in recent years three different versions of Sherlock Holmes, two set in modern times. They all work more or less because they all keep key elements of the concept.

Sometimes a revamp can be quite radical. Late in my run on GrimJack, I booted the character down his own timeline and into a new body, a new persona and a whole new supporting cast. His soul was the same but it gave me, and the reader, a chance to look at the character with fresh eyes. To my mind, it stayed true to the concept of the character and the location.

My rule of thumb: if you look at a character after a revamp and you could simply give the character another name, then you’ve wandered off the concept. So long as you remain true to the basic ideas that makes a given character unique until him/herself, then it doesn’t matter how radical their evolution. First, they have to be true to themselves.

MONDAY MORNING: Mindy Newell

TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten

 

Charlotte Geeks: New Pulp Author Bobby Nash Answers 5 Questions

Bobby Nash and friend

Charlotte Geeks’ Joey Paquette asked New Pulp author, Bobby Nash 5 questions and he tried to answer them seriously. Or so he claims. Check out Bobby’s answers here.

About Charlotte Geeks:
The Charlotte Geeks are a blended family of individuals who enjoy a multitude of fandoms in the sci fi, fantasy, anime, online, and gaming realms.  We strive to provide our members with a feeling of acceptance and inclusion along with a social outlet where we can all freely “geek out” without prejudice or ridicule.  We are a social organization that boasts free membership and free thinking (and as available, free fun!).  We do not operate for profit, nor do any of the members of the leadership team receive any compensation for their efforts.

You can read 5 Questions With Bobby Nash here.

REVIEW: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
By H.P. Lovecraft and I.N.J. Culbard
128 pages, SelfMadeHero/Abrams, $19.95

CharlesWard_CoverI never could warm up to H.P. Lovecraft’s prose. It was turgid and overly descriptive, so on the one hand, he had a tremendous imagination but put me to sleep as he conjured up the unimaginable horrors. His visual imagination gave birth to the legend of Cthulu which remains all he is remembered for by the mass populace. Still, people turn to his works for inspiration or, in this case, adaptation. INJ Culbard has adapted Lovecraft (1890-1937) before with At the Mountains of Madness and has also done some noteworthy versions of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Domestically, he probably best known for his collaboration with Dan Abnett on Vertigo’s imaginative New Deadwardians.

Now he tackles The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Lovecraft’s 51,000 word short novel written in 1927, streamlining the story and bringing the dialogue heavy tale to life. SelfMadeHero has released this in Europe and now it comes to the United States through their relationship with Abrams. Originally a short story expanded to novel length, Lovecraft was said to have disliked the longer version but it gave Culbard plenty to work with. In short, this is a two-person tale, Ward, has become fascinated with his relative, Joseph Curwen, known for his regular visits to local graveyards. Curwen seems ageless and Ward tries to replicate the experiments that prolonged the man’s life and of course, things turn out differently. Now incarcerated, he tells his tale to Doctor Marinus Willet. As a result, Culbard is given a chance to take the reader from the past to the present and back again, as the story unfolds and the horrors are revealed.

CDW_BIZARRE_9811The words may be Lovecraft’s but the storytelling and pacing are all the artist’s and he brings a nice variety to the visual narrative. Given how dialogue-laden this is, he mixes things up nicely and takes us on the journey. The heavy black borders on each page along with the somber coloring adds an atmosphere of dread to the proceedings.

This is a story of mistaken identity and Ward’s perception of reality is altered, and Culbard drops much of the descriptive narrative to focus on the images and it’s less effective than hoped for.

Where he falls down is in depicting the monster, brief as it is. Considering this is the debut of Yog-Sothoth to the Cthulu mythos, it should be far more momentous.  It just isn’t frightening so after all this build up, you’re left thinking, “Is that it?” He told Comic Book Resources, “Often, his characters aren’t there for you to invest in them; they’re there to guide you through a nightmare because the horror is often so much bigger than the individual. But this is partly why I think Lovecraft’s work lends itself so well to a visual medium like comics, because the minute you draw a face, you’re entering into characterization. Really, to some degree, Lovecraft provides you with a blank slate. The trick is really determining what you show. Quite often, Lovecraft would only really give you a glimpse of the horror, because to see it in its entirety would be too much for the mind to comprehend.” While he’s correct, he didn’t pull this off as successfully as intended.

Still and all, the ambitious adaptation is more successful than not and for fans of Lovecraft’s output, this will be well-received.

Coming Soon: The Complete Adventures of Hazard Partridge

Altus Press has released information on their latest release:

Coming in time for Pulpfest:

The Complete Adventures of Hazard & Partridge by Robert J. Pearsall
Introduction by Nathan Vernon Madison

Join adventurers Hazard and Partridge as they battle Koshinga, the evil “spirit of the East, past all Western understanding” for the freedom of China. In the sprit of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, writer Robert J. Pearsall mixed in the menace of early 1900s Chinese tongs to produce a unique pulp magazine epic.

Never before reprinted, this series originally appeared in 1919-20 in the pages of Adventure, the greatest of all pulps. Published with the cooperation of the Pearsall family, it contains several photos of the author, and it’s rounded out with an all-new introduction by Nathan Vernon Madison, writer of Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comic Books, 1920-1960.

516 pages, approx. 6″x9″