cover image Only the End of the World Again

Only the End of the World Again

Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, Troy Nixey, and Matt Hollingsworth. Dark Horse, $

First published by Oni Press in 2000, this tepid graphic novella has been reissued and repackaged in a significantly expanded format as part of the Neil Gaiman Library. Claims adjustor and werewolf Lawrence Talbot, evidently having survived the events of his 1941 movie The Wolf Man, sets up shop in the icy town of Innsmouth, only to discover that his neighbors are monsters, too: inbred fish-people, as described in H.P. Lovecraft’s story “The Shadow over Innsmouth.” Gaiman’s erudite script adds a gloss of darkly funny sophistication to what is, essentially, a goofy fan fiction about the Wolf Man vs. Cthulhu. Illustrator Russell designed the page layouts, but the actual art is by Nixey, whose work is agreeably creepy but miles away from the art nouveau elegance that Russell’s name evokes. The page count of this edition is three times that of the original, thanks almost entirely to an appended “sketchbook” of the complete penciled page art, but this feels less like a behind-the-scenes bonus and more like padding. Gaiman completists will want to add this to their collections, but even readers casually interested in the author’s output will find it underwhelming. (Feb.)