I’m often told I’m a little weird. Once upon a long time ago, I might have found that offensive but not any more. When Craig asked the Doctor in the Doctor Who episode The Lodger if anyone ever told him he was a little weird, I laughed. I hear that at least once a week. In fact, when I don’t hear it, I feel like I must have done something wrong! As a for-instance, I have a Facebook account but I don’t use it to see what people are up to, whose child is walking, or whose dog slid on the ice, nor do I care to see who is broadcasting stupidity about politics. Barring seeing posts from my sister, I really only use Facebook for one thing: the ads. Weird, huh? Facebook customizes the ads for me so that it’s always showing me stuff I like. And since I’m a little weird, I don’t buy mainstream stuff. So when I saw one of my favorite H.P. Lovecraft stories as a new graphic novel, I ordered it the same night. That’s what Facebook is for!
I have long been a fan of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. I feel its important to distinguish that it’s his works I’m a fan of; the man himself left something to be desired. But when I first read the book At the Mountains of Madness, it inspired a sense of adventure in me; the idea of exploring places unknown and finding wonders there. There was a magic to it that thrilled me. I had never heard of Blue Fox comics but I’m not a huge comic collector, so that says less about them than about me. All I knew from the ad on Facebook was that the artwork looked really good. The cost was also good; it was just over $14 for the graphic novel. I paid nearly as much in shipping, but that’s another matter altogether! So what did I actually get?
Color me amazed. Packaged neatly was the graphic novel, The Mountains of Madness, written and drawn by Adam Fyda. I should hope so, as it’s what I ordered. Oh, and a black and white bookmark; that’ll help me keep my place. Holy Cthulhu, there were also 4 color prints and a slightly larger black and white one; the latter is an image of the mountains with two men in the corner looking up at them. The others are images of madness. You’d think that would be all but no! I also have a nice Mountains of Madness drink coaster. One side is the cover of the book, the other was one of my favorite moments in the story. Lastly, a 24 page comic called Walking Nightmare. (While it says “Hexes book two” I saw no reason not to read it and it appeared to be a great, self contained story.) Without even getting to the main feature, I would call this money well spent!
As for The Mountains of Madness itself… the artwork was magnificent. There’s one scene, the aforementioned image on the coaster, that actually sent a chill through me. The two protagonists emerge on the other side of a tunnel to gaze upon the strange landscape. WOW. There was something about this story that always made me think there might really be something amazing in the ice of the polar caps. Seeing it artistically rendered is awe-inspiring. Now there’s another kind of chill that runs down the spine; the chill of terror. There’s a moment when the two protagonists are walking through the tunnels and the penguins come with that sound fans know so well. To my surprise, I was actually on the edge of my seat through this. The joke was as much on me as on the characters. Later, there’s another disturbing scene as a tendril emerges from the water of the underground lake. This isn’t the first graphic novel version of The Mountains of Madness that I’ve read, but it is my favorite. (The Culbard version is excellent, but the art is too “cute”, for lack of a better word, and the colors are far more subdued. That’s a much larger volume, though.)
This isn’t to say I’m completely impressed. To my dismay, there was one thing that I found wrong with the book: the font. Oh, it’s a refined looking font, and it does look like it could be right out of a journal, but I’m not getting any younger. I was able to read it while sitting in sunlight, but it was a challenge. I have a magnifying glass nearby for when my wife and I work on puzzles, so I took that out. I mean, the font was maybe 10% too small to really enjoy to the fullest. Maybe this was to give us more image per page, and in that regard it’s a success. There are some really glorious colors too. There is a glorious blue on the first few pages and the lighter blue for the arctic carries a cold with it that is palpable. There’s another nice feature where all the underground scenes are on pages with a black background, meaning you can look at the book from the side and see how long they spend underground.
There are also a number of wonderful Lovecraftian references, such as the Necronomicon, Cthulhu and the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred. And there are shoggoths. You can’t have the mountains without shoggoths!
Still, font aside, I am absolutely delighted with my purchase I will be watching for more Lovecraft stories from Blue Fox comics. This one is available in hardback, soft cover and digital; I followed Goldilock’s recommendation and went with the soft cover; the middle option was just right. Ironically, another Lovecraft story is coming! My other favorite HPL story, Shadow over Innsmouth, is available for pre-order? Unfortunately, it’s part one and I’m going to want the whole thing at once, so… not sure if I should wait for the full release. As they say, first world problems, right? But then, they also say I’m a little weird! ML