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2018 03 16 Cthulhu Concertina Guest Feature

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4 Alternative Illustrated Adaptions Worth Adding to your Bookshelf

Written by Lyndon White

Adaptions are everywhere. The classics are remade, retold and rebranded time and time again, bringing old fans and new to a familiar voice. Lyndon White is currently using Kickstarter to create an adaptation of his own, specifically H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu. He's highlighted four choice adaptations below, as well as some information on his new project.

01 dracula
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Bram Stroker’s Dracula (2009, IDW Publishing)

Ben Templesmith

Ben Templesmith is a titan in the comic book industry and with Dracula, he brings his own flare of horror to the original text. This adaption of Bram Stroker’s Dracula is in book format but complemented with Templesmith’s illustrations, bringing life to the count and the world Stroker created. There aren’t illustrations on every page, but whenever you get to a key moment of the story, you turn a page to a hauntingly beautiful illustration. Even if you have a copy of Dracula already sitting on your bookshelf, this is a nice alternative with a hardback casing to help fill that shelf space.

02 monster calls
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A Monster Calls (Collector’s Edition) (2011, Walker Books)

Patrick Ness & Jim Kay

Yes, this has been adapted into a film, but there is also an illustrated collector’s edition of the book with stunning monochrome illustrations. Page to page there are number of illustrations, sketches and double-page spreads by Jim Kay that visualise Patrick Ness’ story in a new light. A Monster Calls highlights the tragedy of a young boy who can not come to terms with his mother’s terminal cancer. Kay uses a series of silhouettes and textures within his illustrations to showcase a monster hiding in the dark and the young boy he tells stories to. The artwork is utterly striking and adds so much to the story with the use of mark making and textures.

beowulf cover
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Beowulf (2016, Image Comics)

Santiago Garcia & David Rubin

Image is mostly known for their serialized comics, but Beowulf breaks the mould. Taking the epic poem and transforming it into an oversized visual masterpiece. Santiago Gracia and David Rubin use parts of the original text to expand the character and adapt it into the graphic novel format. All aspects of the story are covered from Beowulf's fight with Grendel, his time with sea monsters to a battle with a dragon. The story plays out as expected with subtle character moments that bring warmth to the story. At times, panels and scenes use little or no text leaving the artwork to speak for itself and guide the reader through the story.

the graveyard book volume 1 cover
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The Graveyard Book (Harper Collins)

Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russel, Kevin Nowlan, Jill Thompson, David Lafuente, Stephen Scott, Scott Hampton & Tony Harris

Originally adapted as a two-part graphic novel, you can now get the collected story in a single volume, visualising Gaiman’s mix of murder, fantasy and horror with a team of expert artists. The graphic novel is a faithful adaption, remains true to the original story and is presented in a sleek hardback case. The Graveyard Book follows a normal boy, or would be if he wasn’t being raised by ghosts in a graveyard. Each chapter is illustrated by a different creator from the comic book world. Showcasing a verity of styles and talent that the medium can offer. This one is a great entry into Gaiman’s work for all comic readers, or a familiar friend to fans of the author.

cthulhu concertina guest cover H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu

This adaption is in the form of a concertina book, a fold-out book that tells The Call of Cthulhu through a series of 10 illustrations. You can read it like a normal book or fold it out and display it as a piece of artwork. Aside from the blurb on the back of the book, there is no text, leaving the reader to dissect the narrative through the art alone. Rather than presenting the reader with multiple illustrations of Cthulhu, Lyndon White has instead focused on telling the story based on the original text, focusing on the mystery and build up to revealing Cthulhu at the end of the book. Similar to Ben Templesmith’s Dracula, this is White’s The Call of Cthulhu, visualising Lovecraft’s work through the illustrators’ eyes.

The book is currently Kickstarter to pre-order and help raise the funds to cover the printing costs. Check it out here.

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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