Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Jacen Burrows
Avatar Press (2011)
Confessions first (as always): Well, I always loved the dark tales of H.P. Lovecraft. When I was young they were just called horror stories. These days, in times of bloody political correctness these stories are called “Dark Fantasy”. Fuck.
So, let’s talk about horror – and this is to explain why I love H.P. Lovecraft and why I also love Neonomicon.
I believe that real horror, I mean REAL HORROR you only can experience as a real person in a specific situation. Like opening the envelope and reading your tax bill.
OK that was a joke.
But just imagine: You are lost in a dark forest. While hiking you somehow have missed the right crossing to get home before nightfall and now you’ve got lost. You realize, that your bloody cell phone has no network connection and now you’ve got COMPLETELY LOST. It’s really dark now, you can only see the shades of the narrow trees, and you hear the leaves below your feet when walking. You even can’t figure out whether you still are on a trail or not. Fuck. Then you hear a disturbing noise. Of rustling leaves or so. The wind? An animal like wild boar or deer? Or somebody? SOMEBODY. Your brain tries to tell you that given the time of the day and the remoteness of the area the probability of someone else being around is extraordinary low. There. The noise again. And CLOSER NOW. It comes to your mind, suddenly. Things have happened here. In the past. Not so long ago a guy was killed around here. Somewhere in this fucking forest. Stabbed to death and robbed. Was all over the press at the time.
EVEN CLOSER NOW…
Should you ever find yourself in such a delicate situation my advice to you is:
Relax and enjoy the situation.
Have some popcorn (if you have any).
Remember, you are experiencing world-class genuine horror now. And such kind of genuine horror experience even the best horror movies can hardly achieve. No book or comic even comes close to this real feeling of horror. Except maybe for stories by H.P. Lovecraft.
And Neonomicon. The story: An FBI agent investigates a series of unsolved murders in which the killer sort of butchered his victims’ bodies, leaving only certain parts like a hand or some interior organs. When following a lead he encounters a strange and mysterious experience, which turns him into killing people the same way. And to make things even weirder, he seems to have completely lost his mind and the ability to speak English (or any other human language). Instead he talks in some sort of extraterrestrial language using words like “R’Lyeh”.
A short while later a further team of Feds follows up to investigate the case. It turns out that the visions and evil monsters of H.P. Lovecraft – in particular from his Chthulhu Mythos – are real, not fictive and they are just awakening from a hundred or so year’s long sleep.
There have been many epigones who wrote more or less good pastiches of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories. Alan Moore’s story captures the intensity and the horror of HPL like scarcely anybody else. Jacen Burrows’ art is brilliant often switching between realism and surrealism from one panel to the other.
Disclaimer: This book is definitively 18+ stuff. And also, remember, HPL stories rarely have a happy ending.
For people unfamiliar with comics: Alan Moore (a Brit born in 1953) is one of the best and most influential authors of comic books and graphic novels. He is best known for „Watchmen“ (1986-87), „From Hell“ (1989-96), „V for Vendetta“ (1982-85) and „The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen“ (1999-2000).
NEXT: Adventure, History, Dreams & Magic – Hugo Pratt