Though he died before showing the world his grim stories, H.P. Lovecraft remains one of the most influential horror writers of all time. And with many other classic works being adapted into comics, it’s no surprise that Lovecraft’s work was granted the same opportunity. In H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE HOUND AND OTHER STORIES TPB, illustrator Gou Tanabe creates a harrowing experience from start to finish.

Bringing Lovecraft’s Work to Life

Lovecraft’s works mainly focus on the fear of the unknown. These fears are so large and unbridled that the human mind could never fathom them. Yes, there are creatures like the hound and Cthulhu, but they’re almost god-like beings. They’re as old as time itself, unstoppable forces that people could never hope to destroy. Lovecraft somehow captures that feeling of seeing too much and being helpless to stop mass chaos.

Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Tanabe perfectly curated this collection, choosing stories that delve deep into how curiosity can be dangerous. All three tales follow men who want to push boundaries that have been set for a good reason. In “The Hound,” two grave robbers bite off more than they can chew when they unleash an ancient beast. “The Temple” shows how pride can eat away at humanity. And “The Nameless City” follows an explorer who should just follow the advice of the locals and leave creepy caves alone.

READ: Check out Alison Sampson’s amazing art in WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD!

Dark and Disturbing Illustrations

Gou Tanabe’s illustration skills are clearly the crux of this collection. The style is perfect for H.P. Lovecraft’s strange stories. There are moments of explicit gore, but they’re not excessive if you’re a horror fan. The illustrations are also entirely in black and white, which gives a lot of depth to each panel. Just like Lovecraft’s work, the drawings focus on the immensity and void-like feeling of scary situations. The swaths of black accent just how dark and dismal these stories are. After all, Lovecraft didn’t write happy endings.

Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

There’s nothing subtle about these illustrations either. The line work is heavy and intrusive, forcing the reader to stop and absorb it. This style is similar to illustrator Bernie Wrightson’s work. Both Tanabe and Wrightson borrow from the late 19th/early 20th-century style of horror, the kind you’d see in between the pages of old copies of Dracula or War of the Worlds. Because color is often absent, the shading and intricate line work are what make or break an image.

And when it comes to creatures, Tanabe can create some horrifying beasts. Creature descriptions in books can only go so far, which can be unsatisfying if you’re visually oriented. It’s more exciting to see the beast itself. Nobody can draw exactly what Lovecraft would have seen when writing, but Tanabe’s interpretation is terrifying enough for me.

Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Illustrating Classic Works

Reinventing classics is nothing new, especially when it comes to horror. Frankenstein has seen many adaptations (and interpretations), Dark Horse has adapted Edgar Allan Poe’s work before, and many other short horror stories have been popular bases for independent comic creators. These classics provide a solid foundation for illustrators to play around with a fully fleshed-out story.

CLICK: Hungry for more unsettling horror? Catch up with THE UNSOUND #1!

Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Although H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE HOUND AND OTHER STORIES TPB is a straightforward adaptation, there’s always room for change. Even though all three stories are told in first-person perspective, readers mainly rely on the images to tell the story. Dialogue and exposition are important, but without the images, it would be pretty hard to follow along. Tanabe only chooses the most powerful and necessary text to include.

Overall, H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE HOUND AND OTHER STORIES TPB is downright creepy and a perfect read for Lovecraft fans (or horror fans in general). Tanabe’s illustrations perfectly complement the haunting collection of stories. The only downside is that readers will have to wait until July 12 to get their hands on the book. But I promise it’s well worth the wait.

Preorder from Dark Horse or pick up a copy at your local comic store on July 12th!

Gou Tanabe brings out the best (or worst) of Lovecraft's creations with his terrifying illustrations. Even those who haven't read the original stories will find the adaptation most chilling.
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Nightmare Fuel

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