Something’s wrong. Something’s terribly wrong, but I can’t quite seem to put it into words. I barely know where to start. If only… if only my nerves were stronger. But I can’t pretend any longer; I must tell someone about the unsettling things I’ve heard and seen, the things that deprive me of sleep and torment me every moment I’m awake.
Perhaps I should just start from the beginning. In early 2010, I started pulling together stories for a comic project – a book of adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft’s tales, called The Lovecraft Anthology, Volume I, published by SelfMadeHero. By the time the book came out this April (to some lovely reviews and a very positive response generally), we had already started planning out a sequel. If the first volume of adaptations had an overarching theme, it would be invasion – invasion of the body, of the mind, of our planet – by dark forces. The tales in the second volume could be said to explore the dark underbelly of our world. There’s something very disturbing about the thought of looking beneath the surface and finding something down there, lurking, biding its time. Remember, things aren’t always what they seem…
We’re now far enough along that SelfMadeHero have asked me to reveal, for the first time, the stories which will feature in Volume II and the contributors who are working on them. I’m not sure how much to read into the fact that this post will be published on the summer solstice – and can it be a coincidence that a waning gibbous moon will wash Britain with its sickly rays tonight? It’s almost as if… No. No, it can’t be deliberate. SMH wouldn’t do that to me… Would they?
Let’s get this back on track. I’m very pleased to be able to announce that Jamie Delano has tackled the monstrous horror of ‘Pickman’s Model’, beautifully illustrated by Steve Pugh, while Simon Spurrier and Matt Timson peer into the hidden secrets of snowy Kingsport in ‘The Festival’. In ‘The Picture in the House’, Ben Dickson and Mick McMahon reflect on the deadly power of art, and David Camus and Ben Templesmith draw back the veil on the otherworldly monstrosities which come ‘From Beyond’. Elsewhere, you’ll find the mighty Pat Mills and Attila Futaki investigating the desolate ruins of ‘The Nameless City’, while Dwight L. MacPherson and Paul Peart-Smith lead us, hand in hand, after an impossible, mysterious stranger in ‘He’. We’re also joined by the hosts of the excellent H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast for ‘The Temple’ – adapted by Chris Lackey, with art by Ade Salmon – and ‘The Hound’, where Bryan Baugh illustrates Chad Fifer’s script. Finally, I’ll be taking scripting duties on ‘The Statement of Randolph Carter’, which is being drawn by Warwick Johnson Cadwell.
And that’s all amazing, of course. I couldn’t be happier with how Volume II is shaping up, and – as was the case with Volume I – I’m overwhelmed by the calibre of contributors we’ve managed to secure. More than anything, I want to see how it all turns out.
But here’s the thing, the horrible creeping truth I have been skirting around this whole time: as the scripts have come in, I’ve been spending my evenings fully immersed in Lovecraft’s world. And the more I’ve read, the more the shadows outside have seemed to press in against the windows. I’ve tried drawing the curtains, but then that hideous scratching begins, like ragged fingernails dragging across the glass.
And this morning, as I started sending the completed scripts out to their respective artists, I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye… some indistinct, scuttling thing. It was gone when I looked, of course – but in the next hour, I saw two more of them. They’re getting closer all the time. My friends are starting to worry; they tell me that I’ve spent too much time poring over my work, that it’s starting to affect me. But that doesn’t explain… Wait, wait… there’s something moving under my desk oh god my leg OH GOD IN HEAVEN GET IT OFF M—
The Lovecraft Anthology, Volume II will be published by SelfMadeHero in April 2012, edited by Dan Lockwood.