"Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Arcana Studios
Written by Bruce Brown
Illustrated by Renzo Podesta
2009, 76 pages
Graphic Novel released on March 29th, 2010
I can't throw a rock lately without hitting an H.P. Lovecraft story. Can you believe I've never actually read any of his work? I should probably get to doing that sooner or later because of the sheer amount of influence he's had on the horror genre. There have been all kinds of stories about the man and the mythos that he created...or stumbled upon, depending on who you talk to. One of the things that I haven't seen covered too much is how he came up with these ideas. Sure, there are the stories that claim that Lovecraft was one of the few people in history to actually communicate with Cthulu and the Elder Gods, but what if that was true? And what if it happened when he was just a boy? That's sort of the premise behind Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom by Bruce Brown.
Howard is a young boy who's feeling sad around Christmas. His father is in an asylum and his mother doesn't know what to do. She decides to give him an early gift in the form of one of his father's books. He speaks a strange passage aloud and finds himself transported to the mysterious land of Ryleh. It's here that he befriends Thu Thu Hmong, a huge beast with a squid for a face. The pair of them work together to stop the evil that has taken over this world and restore it to greatness. Did I mention that this was a comic geared towards a younger audience?
Yes, this is a kids book about H.P. Lovecraft. That's what makes it so brilliant. The other books that I've read which were inspired by the man's work are all so dark and dreary and world-ending. This is a light-hearted romp about a boy and his pet Elder God. It's like Calvin and Hobbes, but instead of a young boy and his stuffed tiger it's Lovecraft and Cthulu.
The artwork on Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom was handled by Renzo Podesta. The title character looks suitably innocent, having no idea of the horrors that he's unwittingly stepped into. He has these big dopey eyes that look a bit like those on a Muppet. How can this child grow up to become one of the greatest horror writers of all time? Thu Thu is bulky and intimidating, but he has a bit of a soft streak in him. He takes a liking the Howard and it shows. Podesta keeps the tone of the art light while still pulling in the spooky stuff at the right times. While these monsters are truly the stuff of nightmares, I wouldn't worry too much about this comic giving your kids bad dreams.
Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom is a horror comic for kids. It's not dumbed down to the point where adults are going to hate it, so it's a book that can be read and shared with your children. For once it's refreshing to read a comic about Lovecraft that's not all doom and gloom.