by Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
When two great minds think alike, an older creation from H.P. Lovecraft’s world will arise. Cthulhu is a creation that’s getting a Conan the Barbarian style resurrection by creators Myke Allen and Steven Saunders in a crowd funding campaign. These two informally met at a local festival (introduced to each other by their mutual partners) and they hit it off quite well because of their common interests in fantastic literature. Saunders was editing for an e-magazine called The Uninvited at the time and needed an artist for a few stories. Allen was quick on the draw and from then on, they both realized they enjoyed working together.
“Steve’s interest is in dark noir and I was used to drawing superheros. It was a fun transition for me to build darker scenes, to develop harrowing stories. Steve sent me to the Whitechapel message board where I came up with the concept [of Cthulhu the Conqueror],” said Allen.
This artist has illustrated since he was 12, was introduced into the horror genre with Werewolf by Night, and got his formal training at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in digital art. He freelanced ever since. His work has appeared in the comic, Degrassi: The Next Generation Extra Credit and he helped design Gary Bloom’s Red Lance, also a Kickstarter comic. His job includes graphic design, creating posters for music bands — having done work for groups like BC Girls Rock, Hank Pine & Lily Fawn and DJ Anger — and this can be seen online at http://www.mykeallen.wix.com/graphicallyill
Part of his joy in creating comics is in what he sets to colour.
“I personally don’t think I’m the greatest at it but I guess that’s why I spend so much time doing it,” said Allen, “I have the most fun inking but I feel that there are elements of an image that just can’t be seen until you add colour. Sketching is free and fast. Colouring is game time.”
For Saunders, his resume is a hundred miles long! He has worked the independent comics scene as an editor and writer, has his own role-playing games imprint, Black Goat Games, and on top of it all, he’s also a musician. From playing a recorder when he was little to Deejaying in his young adult years, he’s learned the business well. That includes a long run in Seattle as a booking and promotions agent for local metal bands.
“A lot of my work can be found on http://www.baconlich.com, which is my personal website that’s full of links. My music can be heard at mrzoth.bandcamp.com,” said Saunders.
For this jack-of-all-trades, he will provide a soundtrack as one of the stretch goals for Cthulhu the Conqueror! Not many comic books come with a digital music download to set the mood as its being read. In a pulp action adventure story that has the mighty one rampaging through several realms, this added bonus will be like watching a movie. He once was unleashed to deal with the “True Old Ones,” and get exiled into the Nether, to sleep until needed again. However, unlike Sekhmet of Egyptian lore in the Story of Re, her blood lust was never sated even though both figures were sent out for a purpose; both had to be calmed down. The cat got drunk and Cthuhu, well …
He was allowed to escape his story banishment and he’s looking for answers. Who manipulated him? From the Kickstarter page, he has a love for the Hindu goddess Kali, representative of Death, and what does she have to do with this tale?
“Kali is more of an equal among lesser beings in Cthulhu’s eyes,” said Allen. “Savagery is their common thread but it’s openly known in regard to both. Theirs is a relationship of mutual respect built on blood; their hearts are an adjoining set of graveyards.”
“Cthulhu and Kali’s love isn’t really covered too much in Cthulhu the Conqueror. When the story begins, the love affair between Cthulhu and Kali is already in the past. It’s a mystery as to whether Kali knew about Cthulhu’s exile when the gods were planning to trick him into the Nether Realm. The way their love story finally ends will give large hints as to what her motivations might have been. I’ll be up front: Their story is Shakespearian/Sophoclean on the tragedy scale. I actually teared up writing it all out,” revealed Saunders.
Cthulhu’s journey is to travel through all the realms from various mythological pantheons to find answers. Allen says the comic’s focus is to look at the holistic connections between the deities and the relationships they share with each other not just with their worshippers or subjects. Both Allen and Saunders will function as a writing team to decide on what to feature. They may dive into some very obscure bits of lore to keep the roster fresh and surprising.
“I like to note that we’re also trying to be as respectful as possible without compromising our creative vision. Mythology/Religion is important to a lot of people, whether it be part of their culture, their keen interests, or personal belief. We don’t want to just crap all over that for shock value and cheap thrills. Naturally, one’s mileage always varies,” noted this co-author.
And for fans of H.P. Lovecraft, they will enjoy what this creative team will offer from his world.
“We definitely have a pile of Old Ones, Shapeless Ones and creatures from before to show you. It wouldn’t be Lovecraft without some monsters to play around with! Yog-sothoth will most definitely attend!” grinned Allen.
Even if the Kickstarter project does not succeed, Allen reveals that they will pitch the idea to publishers like Boom! Studios (current publishers of Cthulhu-related works). It’s a project the two are excited about getting off the ground. It’ll get out there for the masses. Saunders says that they will relaunch the project, but have a smaller set of goals in mind, like going strictly digital.
“That’s just one option. We’re not giving up just because our first Cthulhu the Conqueror Kickstarter campaign doesn’t succeed!” said Saunders.
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