Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (Arcana – Brown / Podesta)
After visiting his father in Arkham Sanitarium, young Howard Lovecraft ignores his father’s warning and uses the legendary Necronomicon to open a portal to a strange frozen world filled with horrifying creatures and grave danger!
Okay, I didn’t know what to think going into this, it’s an elementary “Cthulhu 4 kidz” story of the H.P. Lovecraft as a boy, do you see why I thought this could go a million different ways? A family-friendly Cthulhu adventure? Monster Squad meets Superhero Squad? A vertigo book written by Art Baltazar?
Well, in the wide range of possible outcomes, this book ended up much closer to the “Chuck Norris Approved” side of the scale.
As I started reading this 78 page graphic novel (at the not too bad price of $12.95), the first thing that popped was the wonderful fantastical art of Renzo Podesta (Hard Drive, Hum). This book is worth looking at, if simply to page through Podesta’s environments. He takes what seems like great effort to put enough elaborate detail into every frame to give it a Tim Burton-ish fanciful dream quality to it while still letting the reader know exactly what action is taking place without any ambiguity. His version of the Lovecraftian creatures really walk a fine line between being horrific monsters and still being accessibly, that is without turning off non-horror geeks. His masterful use of light, shade and curvature give perspectives that are unique and enhances the read.
While I loved the art, the story I only liked. It was a linear, coherent, straight-forward action adventure story about a boy and a befriended monster who go on a quest. Definitively not a Lovecraft tale. Was it fun? yes! Was it fairy adventuresome? yes! Was it even pre-teen age appropriate? Yes! Twisted? no. If you are looking for a story that I would consider at the level of a very cool Saturday Morning adventure, you got it! If you go into this looking for a companion to for the Horror at Red Hook, not so much.