H.P. Lovecraft vs Aleister Crowley, Issue 1 review
H.P. Lovecraft vs Aleister Crowley, Issue 1, written and illustrated by Monty Borror. Published by Geeksville Ent. Pro.
This 26-page comic, the first in a series, follows the traditions of early 20th-century detective pulp fiction. The artwork has a grainy film noir effect that works very well with the time period and the characters, or players as Borror calls them. The main characters are two detectives – one male, Dr Styx, and the other female, Diane Rosen, who hunt demons. A new case is brought to them by Aleister Crowley, yes that Crowley, after HP Lovecraft taunts him, claiming he can achieve something that the great magician could not.
A disclaimer expressing the fictional nature of the story and characterisations might have been appropriate here. Neither Crowley nor Lovecraft are shown in a positive light and it could cause offence to their Estates and fans, something Borror might choose to consider.
The story is interesting and there is plenty of tension provided as much by the things that aren’t explained in the first episode as the things that are. The female characters in the comic are, what seems inevitably, hyper-sexualised and although their faces are interesting and suggest diversity they tend to be shown virtually naked or, in the case of Diane, their clothing clings to them in ways that infer nudity, I found this a little off putting, but it might well sit better with other readers who may not yet be bored with this trope. The male characters are well drawn and have individual quirks that set them apart nicely both in their physical appearance and behaviours.
The narrative is easy to follow and the dialogue works well. In spite of the presence of demons it feels and looks very much like a superhero comic and Crowley and Lovecraft are drawn as the bad guys, one to be taken down and the other to be temporarily trusted. Lovecraft is portrayed as a prissy man-child, desperate for attention, and Crowley as too sex obsessed to even keep up with the plot.
The cliffhanger is strong enough for me to want to keep reading and Dr Styx is interesting enough for me to want to find out more. The artwork is effective and gives a feeling of urgency to the narrative. The story seemed under-developed and I was hoping for a more philosophical narrative when I read the names Crowley and Lovecraft in the title, but as this is only the first in a series it may be too early to complain about such things.
To find out more about Monty Borror and his work, visit his website.