Dark Tales: The Call of Cthulhu—A Graphic Novel

dark tales the call of cthulhu cover trade paperback
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Nice quick read

Doesn't get into the darkness like it should

Comic Info

Comic Name: Dark Tales: The Call of Cthulhu—A Graphic Novel

Publisher: Canterbury Classics

Writer: H.P. Lovecraft

Artist: Dave Shephard

Release Date: 2018

dark tales the call of cthulhu dave shephard art old gods hp lovecraft

The old gods will rise again!

Francis Wayland Thurston is investigating the strange circumstances surrounding the death of his great-uncle George Gammell Angell. Angell had been put on the trail of a seeming cult by an artist named Henry Anthony Wilcox who was plagued by nightmares of a strange tentacled winged creature known as Cthulhu. With reports of the same creature from around the globe, Thurston questions if there is something bigger happening that even his uncle couldn’t comprehend. What is Cthulhu and could it mean the doom of mankind?

Written by H.P. Lovecraft, Dark Tales: The Call of Cthulhu—A Graphic Novel is a comic book horror story. The graphic novel is an adaptation of Lovecraft’s 1928 story “The Call of Cthulhu” originally published in Weird Tales (February 1928).

Though I like H.P. Lovecraft as a fan of horror, a lot of his concepts and especially the Cthulhu mythos has been beyond my realm of interest. While some really dig the world and its inhabitants he created, I was always a bit indifferent to it…a mass of pulsing tentacles wasn’t that frightening to me. When I saw that there was a graphic novel adaptation of his classic story, I decided to seek it out.

The adaptation is faithful to the story, but it is very episodic. With a short story as its basis, it feels like there is a detached nature to the story that never lands. The strange and horrible stories from around the world that Thurston collects hint at something bigger (as intended), but it feels like there needs to be more of a common bond between the storyteller and the short encounter with the old gods and Cthulhu that Thurston relays. The danger he is in doesn’t feel very tangible at the end of the story.

dark tales the call of cthulhu a graphic novel old gods dave shepard art

Cthulhu is free!!!

The art for the collection also isn’t as strong as I would like it. Regardless of what your thoughts on Lovecraft’s writing are, there is a dark and gothic feel to them. The creeping horror of the story isn’t there. It is a bit too “shiny” for the darkness that it is trying to portray. In the 1990s everything was over-inked, but in a situation like this, I feel that the story calls for over inking. It should almost be a black page with light images coming through from the darkness. Cthulhu represents the end of the human world by returning to an old world…and the darkness in the art could have helped convey that.

Dark Tales: The Call of Cthulhu—A Graphic Novel isn’t a bad adaptation because it is faithful, but it feels like there is a missed opportunity to really bring out the horror of Lovecraft’s writing. I had hoped that the book would be more layered and a visually deeper dive into the Cthulhu mythos, but it is generally pretty standard fair. Still, if you aren’t familiar with Lovecraft’s stories (there has been some backlash in recent years due to Lovecraft’s personal beliefs), you should check it out…in the world of horror, he’s an important writer and “Lovercraftian” is a term that every horror fan should know and understand.

Related Links:

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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