cover image At the Mountains of Madness

At the Mountains of Madness

H.P. Lovecraft & I.N.J. Culbard. Sterling, $14.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-4027-8042-4

Lovecraft’s At the Mountain of Madness opens with a newspaper announcement of a voyage to Antarctica, immediately followed by the narrator, Professor William Dyer stating his opposition to it. From there, the book launches into the story of Dyer’s own, earlier expedition to the Antarctic wasteland, one that culminated in murder and horror in the aforementioned mountains. Lovecraft was a master of writing about indescribable horrors whose visages violate the laws of nature in unsettling ways. Right off the bat, this creates a problem for anyone seeking to translate his work into a visual medium: how to keep the sense of unspoken tension and dread? Artist I.N.J. Culbard addressed this concern admirably by telling the story largely through radio broadcasts, which forces the reader to feel the tense isolation felt by the explorers as they uncover progressively horrific mysteries from the Antarctic ice. Culbard also effectively threads a sense of dread throughout the book with subtle touches of the macabre, such as a glimpse of two blind penguins swimming in the foreground of an early frame. This is one of Lovecraft’s most famous stories. Although it is questionable whether it needed an adaptation, this is an excellent one. (Feb.)