By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Publication Date: June 26, 2019
Dark Horse Comics
Go Tanabe’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft‘s At The Mountains of Madness is the greatest thing since sliced bread. When considering not many attempts to convert this novella to a consumer-friendly form exists–be it a movie (a comic book and two radio plays were made in the past)–I believe the first half of the tale is not too difficult. Filmmakers or storytellers most likely may borrow from John Carpenter’s The Thing to set the tone. To make the remainder wholly different is where the challenge lays.
This artist is no stranger to this author’s work either. In 2017, Dark Horse Comics published his adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Hound And Other Stories TPB (Amazon Link).
Tanabe’s approach is almost unusual. Instead of using the manga style form because that’s what most readers expect, he uses a Westernized art style approach. When considering the expedition is made up of scholars from New England, it makes sense to draw Americans for the tale. His attention to detail is beautiful. Just when the arctic exploration flies through the strange alien city, the landscape is perfectly bizarre. Bits of Lovecraft’s prose is used to enhance the dread. To finally see the world as this Lovecraft intended has been a long time coming.
Not a lot of the narrative looks changed in comparison to the original tale. Professor Lake is perhaps the most anime-like with that evil glint in his eye.
The visual narrative is a quick read. I was enamoured and terrified at the same time. Lovecraft’s prose has not stood the test of time well, but for those who can follow along, his stories are essential reading for the cosmic horror enthusiast. Having modern masters of horror reinterpret the classics make curiousity for the original all the more enticing.
Volume two (due October 16, 2019; Preorder here) is only going to be better. All the anticipation is heightened. Most readers of Lovecraft’s tale know how the story ends. To see how Tanabe is going to top volume one is not tough. He proves he can handle the macabre well, and in true Mark A. Nelson style (Alien) the action I’m anxious to witness is gonna be metamorphic if not bloody visceral. Yog-Sothoth approves.
5 Stars out of 5