Posts Tagged ‘H.P. Lovecraft’

CCCBC: Neonomicon #3


Friday, January 28, 2011

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Did you find this spider anywhere inside Neonomicon 3? I didn't.

Let’s start this meeting of the CCCBC by pointing newcomers to previous entries so as to get up to speed, and then leap right in to a SPOILER-filled synopsis: (more…)

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A Neonomicon Christmas


Thursday, December 23, 2010

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Stranded as I am for the holidays this week, I’m not even going to be able to read the new issue of Neonomicon, much less host a meeting of the CCCBC, until after Christmas is over. But if you just can’t wait for Yoggoth-related speculation, and need something to use as yuletime fuel, why not indulge yourself in a little holiday-time deep-research into Lovecraft and “chaos magick,” via an essay by Erik “Techgnosis” Davis.

Be warned, this is for extreme cases only. Merry Christmas!


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CCCBC: Neonomicon Nos. 1 & 2


Monday, October 18, 2010

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Welcome to the first official meeting of the Comics Comics Comic-Book Club. Our topic is Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s Neonomicon. Originally the idea was to discuss each issue as it was released, but we’ve got some catching up to do, so this time we’ll tackle the first two issues together.

Have you finished the assigned reading?

First, of course, you need to read the comics themselves.

Neonomicon is the sequel to Alan Moore’s The Courtyard, which I covered previously here and here. (Writer Antony Johnston wrote in with an interesting comment regarding some of the fundamental language & layout choices.)

Jog has already written an excellent post about issue 2…

…in which he linked to a flawed but fascinating two-part video on issue 1.

And I didn’t mention it, but the re-reading I am assigning for myself before we get to issue 3 is H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, which seems to be the main inspiration for Neonomicon so far, just as “The Horror of Red Hook” served for “The Courtyard”.

Okay, so let’s see if this works at all or if the whole idea is a misfire. Here we go: (more…)

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CCCBC: Alan Moore’s The Courtyard (Part 2)


Friday, October 15, 2010

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For the first part of this discussion, see here.

In his opening essay, “The Comic of Cthulhu: Being a Letter of Reminiscence and Recollection Concerning The Courtyard”, scripter Antony Johnston discusses the problems he faced when retelling Alan Moore’s original prose story in comic-book form:

One of the main challenges is adapting prose to a visual medium such as comics is that in prose, it’s perfectly acceptable to engage the reader with an inner monologue, and often for some length. These are necessary for exposition, feeding the information vital to understand the story, because in prose you can’t simply show something as you would in a film or comic. You must describe it.

There’s just one problem; during such passages it’s also perfectly acceptable for nothing to happen.

Even more so than the task of condensing a narrative, or deliberating over dialogue, this is the biggest challenge in any such adaptation. In a comic, something must always happen. It can be mundane, it can be remarkable, it can be somewhere between the extremes. But something must happen, visually, in order to justify the form’s usage and make the story feel like it belongs in the medium.

With a few exceptions, this wasn’t too hard a task with “The Courtyard.” Where Moore makes leaps to new locations in a single carriage return, the comic can make the same journey at a more leisurely pace, using space and sequence to pace out a relevant monologue over something so ordinary as Sax lighting a cigarette, or donning an overcoat.

This sounds like a somewhat plausible solution in theory, but turns out to be a mostly deadening misstep in practice. Sax’s Harrison Ford-in-Blade Runner voice-over generally doesn’t interact with the visuals (which, as Johnston admits, mostly involve uninteresting stage business, not important narrative information), it simply dominates them. For much of the comic, you could cover up the panels and understand everything that is happening without even looking at the drawings. (Incidentally, setting this comic next to Crumb’s Genesis shows just how wrong-headed those critics who found Crumb’s illustrations too literal really were—any panel of that book puts this entire comic to shame.)

It’s no accident that the four pages Avatar has chosen to offer as an online preview illustrate one of the very few sequences in Moore’s story where something actually happens. Let’s compare. (more…)

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New Comics: Three… Extremes


Friday, October 8, 2010

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Neonomicon #2 (of 4) (Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows; Avatar, $3.99)

In the interests of promoting inter-website dialogue and peace throughout all free lands, what follows is a response of sorts to the recent, very fine writing-on-comics zine The Prism #1 (PDF download here), specifically its “annocommentations” — a considered set of page-by-page reactions — composed by Mindless Ones site contributors amypoodle, Zom and bobsy, in regards to the recent Alan Moore-scripted bookshelf-type comic The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century #1: 1910.

Three passages in particular seemed relevant to a more recent Alan Moore comic, this week’s Necronomicon #2. In fact, I found the three passages to coincide directly with three extremes active in the work. My duties as a comics critic and obsessive compulsive demand I detail each of them below, in order of growing expanse, as additionally informed by the trio of word-drugs prominent in The Courtyard, this present serial’s overture. To wit:


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CCCBC: Alan Moore’s The Courtyard (Part 1)


Thursday, August 26, 2010

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Welcome to the preseason for 2010’s Comics Comics Comic-Book Club, which will feature a discussion of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s new series Neonomicon. Before getting to that, though, it probably makes sense to start with Alan Moore’s The Courtyard, the 2003 two-issue miniseries to which Neonomicon is a sequel.

Garth Ennis, of Preacher and Punisher fame, introduces the comic with some effusive praise:

Here he is now with his latest effort, ably assisted by Antony Johnston and drawn by the always excellent Jacen Burrows: Alan Moore’s The Courtyard. And yes, it’s brilliant, and yes- sob– he’s as good as he ever was, but what The Courtyard really does is confirm the effortless quality of the man’s talent. A story bursting with ideas and characters and nice lines and spooky twists, enough to keep most writers occupied for a couple of years—but where just about anyone else would stripmine a concept like this to death, what does Alan devote to it? Forty-eight pages, no more.

Actually, Moore actually didn’t even devote that many pages to the concept, because Moore is not in fact the author of this comic (more…)

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