Author: Chris Lackey
Publisher: Witch House Media UK
Number of Pages: 128
Format: Print (Paperback)
Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars Aligned
WHAT MAKES YOU HUMAN? YOUR BODY? YOUR MIND? YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?
IMAGINE A UNIVERSE WHERE ALL OF THESE ARE PROGRAMMABLE. THE LIMITS OF YOUR CURRENT BODY NO LONGER APPLY. YOU ARE DIGITAL AND IMMORTAL.
James Watson is suffering from a delusional disorder known as capgras, or so he’s been told. Nothing seems to feel entirely real since the accident. His wife, his kids, his friends, all feel disconnected from what he once remembers, like no one is who they seem. Feeling misunderstood, James finds help with a local psychiatrist who specializes in capgras delusions. Hoping to find his place again in the ‘real’ world, he agrees to meet with other sufferers to talk, and learn from one another. However not all of the capgras sufferers believe what they’ve been told. After hearing them out James encounters a strange man with a strange purpose. Suddenly a door has been opened to James possibly revealing the answers he is looking for. Will he be able to cope with the truth? Or more importantly, will he be able to live in a Transreality?
Chris Lackey has come out of the gate in full force in this, his first solely written and illustrated graphic novel. Captivating illustrations, varnished with vibrant colors and detailed cel-shading, bring each panel together along with dynamic writing to tie together both the emotion and expression of each fantastic character. Though the story is, at times, derivative of other plot lines like The Matrix, Inception, or even Total Recall, there was one part of the book that made me think of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. When Septimus arrives, initially saving James, I immediately thought Lackey had used George Carlin as a model for the character and creating his own ‘excellent’ Rufus – Morpheus cross over. It was little remembrances like this that amused me and kept me going. But something more interesting were the themes Lackey induces unto the reader.
I am a complete stranger when it comes to the concept of trans-humanism, which is the belief or theory that humans will evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations by means of technology. I have heard small talk about the singularity and mind-melds with computers, and frankly it kind of freaks me out. Though immortality and information at the request of a thought sound pretty cool, to me, there seems to be nothing human about being downloaded and coded into a digital world. I think that is one of the themes of this story. How does one maintain a sense of humanity in a world were humans aren’t the only ones in charge. There are many levels to Transreality ‘branching’ off too; what defines humanity? How does one maintain that sense while being practically detached from a physical body? Who’s behind RainBird Industries? Who is behind the control panel, so to speak, that keeps all the simulations and digital consciences in check? All are great things to think about and to hope Lackey someday expands on in either a series of comics, or more Transreality world based graphic novels.
This is a story that anyone can enjoy whether or not science fiction is your genre of choice. I myself am more attracted to horror/fantasies but this has switched on a new found interest in trans-humanism Sci-Fi. I was able to read it in one sitting, which isn’t always easy due to time or general interest in the story, and was able to follow the storyline easily. Stay up to date at the official Transreality site to find out when and where you will be able to pick up your copy. As of right now, publication in the U.S. is due out in March. Keep your scanners on and ready to locate and digest this fabulous work.
Editor: Dan Lockwood
Publisher: Self Made Hero
Number of Pages: 128
Rating: 4.75 Out of 5 Stars Aligned
“That is not dead which can eternal lie…” Out of the uncharted places of the world and the prodigious imagination of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, renowned master of the eerie, come nine nightmarish tales of terror. From the dreaded remnants of long-dead civilisations to unhallowed monstrosities scheming in the darkness, Lovecraft’s stories have never lost their power to astound and unsettle. This graphic anthology breathes new life into classic works of weird fiction. “…and with strange aeons even death may die.”
Self Made Hero has done it again. like its predecessor, The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, Dan Lockwood has ushered into this realm a beautifully illustrated hoard of horror. I am of coarse talking about The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 2, incase you didn’t realize already.
Looking back on my review for The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, I have reflected on some of my comments. To this day, I still visit the pages of volume 1, and have to disagree with some of those late comments. Though I still believe the illustrated panels are what make up an efficient comic/graphic novel, it is the words we rely on when our eyes get ahead of us and we need to read whats happening to interpret the image. After all, we’re readers not viewers of these works. That said, most of these works are illustrated so brilliantly that my eyes hardly touched a word. I am very familiar with Lovecraft’s work, and know a few of his tales like old songs. So for a lot of these addaptations I was fortunate enough to know what was happening and only needed the images to carry me through.
In the tradition of how I formatted the review for Volume 1, I have listed each adaptation and have a small something to say about each.
Pickman’s Model, adapted by Jamie Delano, illustrated by Steve Pugh, Staging by Jon Haward: Right out the gate Dan Lockwood enlists one of his best choices for this collection. Delano, Pugh, and Haward have worked magic into bringing this piece to life. Every panel, every phrase took me down into the cellar with Thurber and Pickman and had me filling in the blanks as to what damnable creations Pickman was responsible for. Great stuff!
The Temple, adapted by Chris Lackey, illustrated by Adrian Salmon: Everything about this entry is spot on. The hard shapes, thick lines, and heavy shading are appropriately placed for the era this story is set in. You can tell Lackey has a fondness for the tale and does what he can to capture the images meanings.
From Beyond, adapted by David Camus, illustrated by Nicolas Fructus: Another grandslam for this graphic collection. Great accompaniment by Camus, but anyone can tell, Nicolas Fructus gets what this story is about. Amazing fuscia/violet panels that has set my pineal gland a fire!
He, adapted by Dwight L. MacPherson, illustrated by Paul Peart Smith: I really dislike Lovecraft’s original story, however I believe MacPherson and Smith have done and excellent job with a crappy tale. The illustrations weren’t my favorite but I did enjoy the protagonist looking just like H.P.L.
The Hound, adapted by Chad Fifer, illustrated by Bryan Baugh: I feel this adaptation took on a bit of the Harley Warren/Randolph Carter archetype, St John being the dominant male figure. Baugh’s sepia skinned panels stand out from the other adaptations in this book, while Fifer adds a comedic style to the dread he portrays.
The Nameless City, adapted by Pat Mills, illustrated by Attila Futaki, Colored by Greg Guilhaumond: A clever recreation of a fundamental Lovecraft piece. The ending was unfamiliar, though it may have hinted to a possible “origins” tale of the Terrible Old Man…Maybe…
The Picture in the House, adapted by Benjamin Dickson, illustrated by Mick McMahon: To me the story is best told as a literary tale, maybe even a short film. Unfortunately the backwater dialogue is pretty hard to follow panel to panel, and McMahon’s illustrations did not captivate my attention.
The Festival, adapted by Simon Spurrier, illustrated by Matt Timson: This is my favorite adaptation in this collection. Changing up the format a little to more of a picture book quality, Spurrier and Timson have portrayed a horrifying experience that leaves the reader still wanting to visit Kingsport again and again. I only wish this was the closer in the collection.
The Statement of Randolph Carter, adapted by Dan Lockwood, illustrated by Warwick Johnson Cadwell: I don’t have much to say about this adaptation. Closing out the collection and with one of H.P. Lovecraft’s best known short works, I thought this would have been done better. Didn’t care for the illustrations, and the writing did little to keep me interested.
All in all, I would recommend this volume over the first. Both are a must if you are an H.P. Lovecraft fan, and just necessary to have to stimulate ones imagination. Again, Dan Lockwood has done an amazing job gathering these brilliant artists and writers to collaborate in creating such great work. This is what feeds the Lovcraftian community and what grows the population of new readers of the late mans legacy. As I said while closing my review for volume 1, I really hope that these volumes continue to be made. I know there are only so many short stories that one can adapt (We’ll leave the larger adaptaions to I.N.J. Culbard!) but maybe new artist can give their take on a tale and give us some new perspective. This review took me a pathetic one year to complete, and in a way I am happy it did. I read it in a white heat, immediately following The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume 1, and didn’t have the best opinions of the work. After a year of continuous viewing of volume 2 I have come to the conclusions you have already read. My thoughts on volume 1 have changed as well, however I must leave my initial thoughts on the piece as they are. Either way I hope you enjoy both volumes as I have and continue to do. Cheers.
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H.P.Podcraft.com – Episode 111 – The Battle That Ended The Century, Collapsing Cosmoses And Till A’ The Seas
Its been a while since I’ve said anything about the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast! Though I haven’t stopped listening to Chad and Chris, I have seemed to fallen off the wagon (so to speak) when it comes to covering what these guys are up to. Since the last post, in which I covered The Evil Clergyman and The Horror in the Burying-Ground, Chad and Chris have been two busy dudes. Their graphic novel, Deadbeats, is being published by Self Made Hero. They hosted an awesome live show in the UK along with Andrew Leman, and Paul Maclean, and had live music provided by Zeitgeist Zero. In between all of that they have two Lovecraftian adaptations of The Temple, and The Hound in the new Lovecraft Anthology Vol 2, also published by Self Made Hero, and in turn released audio readings of those adaptations for their listeners.
This week we get a triple feature, the first of its kind on this podcast. Read nicely by Chris’s son’s great-grandmother, Agnes Coughnaugton. The stories featured are: The Battle that Ended the Century, Collapsing Cosmoses and Till A’ the Seas, and I have to agree that out of the three Till A’ the Seas is my favorite. Collapsing Cosmoses seemed to short and unfinished though it had some great qualities, while The Battle that Ended the Century seemed like a farce that was mostly written by Barlow with touches of H.P.’s hand here and their. All in all it was a good episode, and it was good to hear the two back at the mic’s!
A new podcast has enslaved my ears and left my mind craving more. The Double Shadow Podcast, a podcast revolving around the life and works of author Clark Ashton Smith. Lead by Phil, Tim, and Ruth (a.k.a Cthulhu Chick) we learn, in the first episode, about Smith’s career and life, and a little insight on his stories.
The Double Shadow is sort of framed up like the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, and shows the same potential for expanding an audience for an author who never got the recognition he deserved. I am a firm believer/supporter in spreading the weird around so when I saw this podcast I jumped to it. I am appreciative that someone is putting this together, and I am very excited to continue listening to what Phil, Tim, and Ruth have to teach me. Listening to things like the H.P. Podcraft and The Double Shadow, make me want a Robert E. Howard, or Frank Belknap Long podcast.
Episode one is up and running over at iTunes, so hurry and check it out! Cheers to these guys.
**If you are interested on learning ahead of the class, then check out The Eldritch Dark: The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith, and quest for knowledge of his live and read his works.
Today is my wife and I’s anniversary. But today I am not here to explain my marital bliss to you. No, even though im sure you’d love to hear how two people are still quite madly in love after two years of marriage, im here on a different matter. Today also is a sad day for me for I know it is the anniversary of one of the world’s best imaginator’s, Howard Phillips Lovecraft. From August 20th, 1890 to March 15th 1937, this world was blessed with the presence of this man. I, along with an army of fellow Lovecraftian’s morn this man on this day, and though we are very happy to have such availability to his work, we also wish that this genius had many more years than just the 46 he had on this planet.
So a few days ago I saw someone had found Mr. Lovecraft’s obituary and though it would be nice to show it here as well. The version I have is blown up for easier reading, fact is it’s still hard to get through. So, along with the actual obit. I also transcribed it below for clearer understanding of what it says. Though it doesn’t really cover his writing career to in any detail really, it does do a good job of covering his life, from his ailments, to his studies, his grandfather, and his parents.
I have been into Lovecraft for a couple of years now, and that interest has only grown with each story I’ve read, each letter he penned, and every idea that he gave me for my own weird tales. So for that I thank you Lovecraft and I hope you are comfortable amongst the Ghouls and Night-gaunts that surely inhabit your afterlife, at least we all hope. And we will continually promise to Not Call Up Any That We Can Not Put Down!
Funeral services for Howard Phillip Lovecraft, student and writer of fiction, who died yesterday at Jane Brown Memorial Hospital, will be held Thursday at 12 o’clock in the chapel of Horace B. Knowles’s Sons, 187 Benefit Street. Burial will be in the family plot in Swan Point Cemetery. He was 46.
Born in this city, Aug. 20, 1890, the only child of the late Winfield S. and Sarah P. Lovecraft, Mr. Lovecraft from early life was handicapped by poor health. Essentially a student and an omnivorous reader, he was able to take his place only from time to time in regular school classrooms with children of his own age but graduated from Hope Street high school and secured the equivalent of a college education from private tutors.
His early recourse to the library of his grandfather , Whipple V. Phillips, at 454 Angell street in which he was turned loose to browse at will gave him the bend toward weird writing which was his hobby. In his autobiographs, which he wrote up to the day before he was admitted to the hospital last month, he related the importance to his life of the fairy tales and classical tales he read but six years of age.
Besides his interest in the supernatural, he was a constant student of genealogy and of astronomy, and at one time, wrote a newspaper column on the latter subject. His days and nights for years were spent in writing in the library at 86 College Street, where he lived, in recent years, with his aunt, Mrs. Phillips Camwell, his sole survivor. As he neared the end of his life, he turned his scholarly interests to a study of his own physical condition and daily wrote minutely of his case for his physician’s assistance. His clinical notes ended only when he could no longer hold a pencil.
So with that I am heading off to work to enjoy a day of listening to some Lovecraft audio books, and a whole lot of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast at www.Hppodcraft.com. Cheers!
Wow, A week has passed, and as I type this out the newest episode of the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast is up and running. So I thought I’d make this a quick one, especially since there’s not much to talk about in regards to this fine episode.
This week is a double feature, “The Evil Clergyman“, and “The Horror in the Burying Ground“. Neither are my cup of tea, nor were they very sweet on Chad or Chris by the sound of it. Though no one seems to be thoroughly impressed with these two, the reader this week is Michael Ford, father in-law to Chris, and all around handsome sounding character, cetainly gives these two tales a shine. If there is a reason why I like these two stories episode, Michael would be that reason, and the sweet sound of the music of fellow North Dakotan, Troy Sterling Nies.
“The Evil Clergyman” was a dream, according to Lovecraft, that he wrote about to a friend who later published it after Lovecraft’s death. So I wouldn’t be too hard on this one folks, like Chris and Chad said, I’m sure he would have worked this thing out better with a plot that actually made sense.
And then there was “The Horror in the Burying Ground” the final revision Lovecraft did for that terrible Hazel Heald. Well, I guess I don’t know how terrible she really was because it seems Lovecraft really never had anything nice to say about the folks he ghost wrote for. Both of these tales have a bit humor in them, but “The Horror in the Burying Ground” seems to resonate with the muffled chuckles of Lovecraft himself.
The sponsor for this weeks show is David Maurice Garrett. This guy has a great new book entitled, Tome of Horror: The Collected Dark Fiction, and its available in paperback or Kindle. Check out David’s blog, Visions of the Dark, because mainly his name is David, and I hear that’s a good name.
Though not a lot of praise has been handed to these two tales, I do suggest you read them and spawn your own opinion and tell us what you think, or head over to HPPodcraft.com and let them know what was on your mind while reading them. Of coarse its a great episode regardless of the tales being covered. I always enjoy my Thursdays with Chris and Chad, and its sad to think that maybe around April they will be done going through Lovecraft’s work. I only hope that they continue doing something. Cheers!
It’s been a long hard couple of years, but since June of 2009, the world has had the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast to make it easier. I mention this because Chad and Chris have hit their 100th episode! Congrats to those gentlemen. In the beginning of the 100th episode the guys talk about what they’ve done to get where they are now and what’s in store for the future. I am excited to see where these two take it and I am sure I will be listening every step of the way.
Lately when Chris and Chad do a two part story, or three, I wait till the final episode to post about it. If it goes over three parts I usually cover every other episode. So this week I sandwiched episode 99, and 100 to sum up what went down in one shot. The guys didn’t have a physical voice or guest for this story, but they were able to get some side notes from Michael Reaves.
Most people may not know the name, but Reaves is quite prolific. He’s done work for Gargoyles, The New Batman, He-Man, and most notably (especially to me) The Real Ghostbusters. Check out more of his work and what he’s accomplished here. Anyway, the guys were unable to get him on the show, so they read some stuff he wrote for the episodes. Very clever and very sharp stuff from Michael, and I hope to hear, and see more from him in the future.
Now im not going to go into too much detail on what the guys talked about in regards to The Thing on the Doorstep, however I encourage all to listen to what these guys had to say about this story. The reader this week is Fred Cross, and he does an excellent job voicing out the distress from characters Edward, and Dan. Though this story is almost a little to incestial, if that’s a word, it has a great undertone that Chad points out as the trouble people go through when losing their identity, and the perversion of others encroaching in on your morals.
Also this week listen for the special code for 10% of any order at Miskatonic Books. That deal is going through Valentine’s Day, so get on over and make a couple orders. Again congrats to these guys and I hope to be hearing another 200 episodes as we wind down this cosmically colored path beyond the darkest of the hillside thickets. A special treat! I posted at the bottom the actual episode of The Real Ghostbusters, The Collect Call of Cthulhu, and Cheers!