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Haunter Of The Dark: And Other Grotesque Visions Paperback – March 1, 2014

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction by Alan Moore John Coulthart is the man that Beardsley or Rossetti would have been had they grown up somewhere like Salford and had access to a VCR. Had his heart set on a career as poet maudit but then failed the medical. He’d got the look, he’d got the attitude, the only thing that let him down was the consumption. You can’t be a decadent unless you’re coughing poppies, handkerchief like Flanders with a monogram. It was unfair. He’d come so close. The cathode tan. The skin so sensitive it acted as a film emulsion. Out on midnight walks, standing in one spot for too long, ends up with constellations printed on his cheeks and forehead. Pallor, though, is not enough. He needed some externalized display of illness, some tuberculotic flourish. Finally, he siphons off the inner toxins using a Rapidograph as catheter, blots up the nightmare seepage onto Bristol board, septic chromatograms that are at first inchoate, without form. Lovecraft provides an alphabet, a hideous vocabulary within which the artist can contain these gorgeous, sinister transmissions. Later, other conduits are discovered, these including David Britton’s fascist operatic lead, Lord Horror; Sweeney Todd at high tea with the Mitfords. Coulthart re- imagines Auschwitz out of Lovecraft’s R’lyeh, as a horrible lost temple sunk beneath the murk of Europe’s dreamtime. Banished from political reality, the Old Ones lurk there at the threshold and anticipate their terrible return. Blast patterns from a Brick Lane nailbomb explicate the Yellow Sign. Azathoth manifests in Deansgate, a mosaic of fire and flying splinterglass. Coulthart soaks up the cultural heavy metals, will metabolise them, pass them on in a depleted form as hatched miasmas, masonries collapsed in stipple. Wet black viper lines, escaped and slithering, hissing from the nib. At 3.00 AM, the shadingtrance: all ordinary consciousness is bound into the robot movements of the wrist. Fevers infect the ink, the pen itself begins to draw. Depth of obsession a perspective tool. Imagined spectra in the monochrome, texture pupates and turns to many-legged colour. Coulthart’s cellar-orchid talent spreads, extends itself like kudzu. Missioncreep. Absorbs the new machinery in rolling fin de si’cle fog, in purple cloud. Transformative archaism, a gothic drift. Technology is made Iaudanum and the astral light goes digital...

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Creation Oneiros (March 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1902197232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902197234
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David Keppel on February 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Over the years I have come across many illustrated, comic book adaptations of Lovecraft works, and even more Lovecraft "inspired" creations. Most fall short in capturing the cosmic horror that is Lovecraft's trademark. There are two works, however, that succeed

wildly in this endeavor. The absolute best, both artistically and horrificly, is John Coulthart's "The Haunter of the Dark : And Other Grotesque Visions" . The illustrations in this volume fully depict the occult evil and sanity shattering madness that Lovecraft specialized in. Judging by the attention to detail that Coulthart put into his satanic artwork, I would guess that he is more than just a casual dabbler in things arcane. He is also a spectacular illustrator.

The 2nd noteworthy Lovecraft graphic work is not an adaptation of one of Howard's stories. It is one that uses him as a character in his own insane little world. "Lovecraft" , by Hans Rodionoff, Enrique Breccia, & Keith Giffen, is a faithfully wicked & terrifying concept piece.

Buy both books and revel in brilliant insanity.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By D.P. Merde on March 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
"The Haunter of the Dark and Other Grotesque Visions" touts a bunch of drivel by Alan Moore, who's become pompously undisciplined in his writing, but it is really the showcase for Coulthart. "Haunter" collects two and a half Lovecraft stories in graphic form. Coulthart tries his hand at "Dunwich" but admits he couldn't really improve on Enrique Breccia's in "Heavy Metal" magazine, so stops halfway through the story. (See Breccia's "Lovecraft" for more of his work.) It ends with a nice splash, though. Coulthart's most proud of his "Call of Cthulhu", which is hard to read because he breaks up the frames into odd angles to mimic the "horrible geometries" described in the story. This adds to the mystery of the story and a growing sense of horror as the pieces come together, an achievement unique to the comic medium. However, I'm convinced that Lovecraft's own effects are ultimately dependent upon the written word's ability to conceal things from and gradually reveal things to the reader's imagination, to tease us out of all rational thought. They just can't be equalled in another medium. Another jewel of "Haunter", though, is the portfolio of Lovecraftian "gods" that follows the stories. Coulthart uses the computer to combine, among other things, some of Ernst Haeckel's "Art Forms of Nature" etchings with his own drawing. Coulthart's not the first person to make this connection. It's well known that Lovecraft admired Haeckel's philosophy, and others have dabbled with using Haeckel's illustrations to evoke the creatures HPL describes in his stories. But Coulthart really commits to the connection. One only wishes he had given some credit to Haeckel. After this portfolio (with its nonsensical "evocations" by Moore) comes a collection of controversial "Lord Horror" illustrations.Read more ›
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By James Hissom on April 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first half of this volume contains some of the best Lovecraftian graphic work to date. Several plates out Coulthart's "Call of Cthulhu" will probably be familiar to new readers, having appeared in other Lovecraft publications, and his "Haunter of the Dark" creates an equally brooding atmosphere filled with obsessively detailed images. Beyond that, there are ten fairly good, though sometimes gory pages on "The Dunwich Horror," set up in story-board fashion.

Then things really deteriorate: thirty-plus pages of elaborately swirly but atmospherically bland graphics devoted to the Mythos deities, accompanied by the babbling, Anglo-apocalyptic prose poems of Alan Moore, and twenty-five pages of the artist's non-Lovecraftian work for David Britton's "Lord Horror" series, which resemble the obsessively detailed and sadistic pen and ink drawings of some gifted teenage horror fan. The artist suggests a plausible linkage between the grimly stylized concentration camp architecture in several of these and Lovecraft's own apocalyptic vision, but many readers, I suspect, will find the results obscenely offensive. One can see how this stuff attracted the attention of British censors in the nineties, and it is irritating to find Lovecraft's name prominently displayed on the cover of a book that eventually strays so far from the spirit of his work. My inclination would be to look for the "Haunter" and "Cthulhu" series in another graphic-fiction anthology (maybe it's already out there); as it is, I would not recommend this as a gift for any Lovecraft-loving young person.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard S on October 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unsurpassed artwork along with the stories that have inspired many a horror writer this book is a keeper. I have been an H.P. Lovecraft fan since I was a kid and this graphic novel is a must for any collector and Lovecraft fan!
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If you're a Lovecraft fan, then you know how annoying it is when you see a drawing of one of his Gods or characters and it looks stupid. The drawings in this book are amazing. There's a piece called The Great Old Ones in it that had drawings of all the Gods that is completely awesome to see as a huge Lovecraft fan.
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