Guest blogger, I.N.J. Culbard: HERE BE MONSTERS!!! (and spoilers!!!)

It’s really difficult to talk about At the Mountains of Madness without spoiling the story. So if you’ve never read it, go buy the book and come back and read this post later.

Often Lovecraft’s creatures are ‘unimaginable, indescribable’ horrors. Things beyond the human spectrum of understanding. Fortunately, however, during Professor Lake’s autopsy of one of the Elder Things we get a pretty good description of one of these… fellas.

“Six feet end to end, three and five-tenths feet central diameter, tapering to one foot at each end. Like a barrel with five bulging ridges in place of staves. Lateral breakages, as of thinnish stalks, are at equator in middle of these ridges. In furrows between ridges are curious growths – combs or wings that fold up and spread out like fans… which gives almost seven-foot wing spread. Arrangement reminds one of certain monsters of primal myth, especially fabled Elder Things in [the] Necronomicon.”

The descriptions go on and we even get a detailed account of the creature’s internal organs.
Now, since Lovecraft wrote those words the Elder Things have been drawn many times and because the description is so clear they all look vaguely similar. What I wanted to do with my Elder Things was suggest some practical movement. Notably the head, a starfish shape, as a gestural component. 
I wrote the adaptation appropriately in the winter when Britain, good old Blighty, seemed to have forgotten how to cope with the sudden snowfall.  When it came to drawing the book it was spring and there were tulips in our garden. I took to imagining them made of meat and that gave me the physical, gestural function for the head. Then plants took to being my inspiration for a lot of the finer details – like the bottom half of the Mi-Go looking more like bulb roots, their heads like the seed heads of a dandelion only considerably exaggerated and thicker.

An Elder Thing

Coming back to The Elder Things – the brain was nothing more than a cauliflower even if it was a brain more advanced than our own. All hopefully culminating in something that would likely, ironically, put you off your dinner.

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I.N.J. Culbard’s graphic novel adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness is out today from all good bookshops. It can also be order from our online store for £10.49.
The author’s first signing will be at Leeds’ Thought Bubble Festival on Saturday 20th November, when he’ll take requests to draw any monster from Lovecraft’s Necronomicon on the title page at no extra cost. Don’t say we don’t give you anything.

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