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H.P. Lovecraft's The Hound and Other Stories Paperback – July 25, 2017
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1. The Temple (1920) - The art is quite good but I can't stop thinking how great it would be for Junji Ito to do a Lovecraftian book. Anyway, as usual, this Lovecraft tale leaves me baffled. A German submarine deals with superstition, mutiny and the lost Atlantis. Eventually, he is alone at the bottom of the sea. The tale (and art) are very oppressive and the feeling that something dreadful is going to happen lingers throughout but by the end, I'm not sure if it did or not. I know what happened but don't get the point. (3/5)
2. The Hound (1922) - Now this is more like it! Two rich men bored with the frivolities of life turn towards the darkside. It's been a while since they went on a treck for treasures when one man finds out about a thief dead 500 years ago who was buried with an amulet which has something to do with corpses. Upon return to London, they are haunted by visions and beasts until they see their own undoing. The only problem is that the art did not flow. It was like scene to scene to scene without a narrative flow. (4/5)
3. The Nameless City (1921) - I feel like I've read this story before. It's the best one by far and the one most understandable. It is here with the third tale that I can see the connection between the stories, of the Mythos that Lovecraft is famous for and which I don't fully understand yet. The Necronomicon and its author, an 8th century Arab are mentioned in this and "The Hound" shedding some light on that aspect for me. The main similarity is between this and "The Temple, though. In that one, a man finds an abandoned lost city under the ocean and the story ends as he is about to enter the temple. In this one, a man finds an abandoned lost city in the Arabian desert and his horrific journey begins as he enters the temple. Quite an intense story with the foreboding becoming heavier and heavier as the story progresses. (5/5)
Versions of the Hound:
Jack Jackson (writing as ‘Jaxon’) 1972 - the oldest version here, but perhaps more a collector's item
Stuart Gordon and Tula Lotay 2011
Chad Fifer and Bryan Baugh 2012
Roy Thomas 1994
Calum Iain MacIver 2000 - this is so rare I have never seen a copy
Chris Lackey and Adrian Salmo 2012
The Nameless City
Esteban Maroto and Roy Thomas 2000
Tim Sparvero 2008
Hernán Rodríguez 2008
Pat Mills and Attila Futaki 2012
Guo Tanabe is a highly respected manga artist in Japan. Like many Japanese authors he is a big fan of HPL. He has adapted multiple stories into manga-like versions for Japanese readers. This is the first time any of these adaptations have been re-translated and presented for an English speaking audience. They are read in the Japanese style, front to back, the left to right, top to bottom. Anyone into manga will be quite comfortable with it. FOr what you get, the price is a bargain.
These are gorgeous renditions, each story given plenty of panel space to breathe and develop. This is very unlike many other comics where you get 4-8 pages maybe for stories this short. Often there are no words in the panel, with tension developing via facial expressions or action. My only wish is that this was an oversized book so the art was even more prominent. Tanabe-san stands proudly with the other best comic book versions of these HPL tales. You owe it to yourself to pick up this wonderful book. If it sells well, Dark Horse will produce more such versions of his HPL work. I can't wait!
I am not sure what I was expecting as far as the art, but it exceeded whatever those expectations are as when I first opened it I made an audible 'oh!' in surprise at how detailed and well rendered everything is. Tanabe's grasp of lighting in a scene makes everything extremely moody and shows tension in a successful way since many panels have no text and depend strongly on the visuals.
The text itself is a great translation, reads really fluidly and had I not known this was a Japanese manga translated to English I would have presumed the original language was English itself. Great job to the translator Davisson, I hope he stays on for future books.
My only disappointment was how short the book was. It was smaller overall in both book dimensions and pagecount, but for the price it works. Truthfully I wish it was ten times the current size. In the back of the book Dark Horse makes note that they hope to produce more translations of these HPL stories and I am right there with them hoping that is the case.