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 If you like Lovecraft and love his monsters, this anthology just launched on Kickstarter is a beautiful exploration into the world of the Elder Gods as a “love letter to Lovecraft” and his love of monsters.

The esoteric realm of H.P. Lovecraft is the bread and butter of many horror fans, especially those who love tabletop gaming, horror literature, and the kind of horrific creatures that trigger the underlying fear that lies in what is unknown, what images conjure in our imagination of the unknown, and the danger of being sucked into madness.

The anthology is thirty-five shorts edited by writer and comic creator, Russell Nohelty who has successfully funded multiple Kickstarter projects, eleven titles in his Amazon store, holds courses on better business practices for creators looking to establish their work to a wider market, and more. Spearheading this project and including a piece of his own—which, at the end, is an excellent choice for an ending—Nohelty has arranged such a wide variety of different takes on the lives of the Elder Gods, including the mighty, sleepy, and hard to spell, Cthulhu. (But let’s face it, definitely not the hardest out of all the Elder Gods, I’m looking at you, Brkthruslpk.)

The journey through these stories will take you from deep, dark and horrific places, to moments of heartwarming storytelling, many silly and gut-busting narratives, and may even fill you with emotions strong enough for tears (yeah, I cried, sue me). While not all of the stories made enough of an impression to be my taste, for the sake of time, I have whittled down a list of my top five favorites in order of appearance.

Nora

Art and words by Angela Oddling

Before I get into why I really enjoyed this piece, when you read this collection, take time to read the forward by Dirk Manning. Not only does set a good tone for what you will experience, the first line of the intro plays into the theme of “Nora.” About a girl who doesn’t seem to fit into her world, she goes looking to find a way. This story, along with another in my list, is up there in the arena with emotionally driven story that tugs on your heart strings. The art is really fun and fits the story well, but the writing in this short feels polished and a good example of breaking away from the norm of writers exploring Lovecraft’s world in their own words.

Cat is Cryptic

Art and words by Megan Hutchison

Anyone who knows me knows that I love cats so automatically I liked this piece even though it gets pretty dark for a little bit. The cats in this piece are super cute and the arc of the story has such a smooth and subtle slide into a pleasing, yet happily horrific ending you can’t help but read it again.

Isathoggua’s Triumph

Art by John Edingfield II
Words by Clay Adams

This story definitely speaks to the overall themes of taking Lovecraft’s work to strange and hilarious places. You don’t really anticipate the end of the piece, but it made me laugh a lot and I was even happier to see that the injection of humor similar to this takes place throughout the rest of the book.

Flycatcher

Story by Frank Martin
Art by Dan Scalisi

About the destroyer—let’s face it, all of the elder gods are destroyers—Yba’sokug, this was a master lesson in brevity and a balance of subtle humor combined with the terror of Lovecraft’s work (that is, if you’re a fly). This one made it to my top five because it was so simply done in only two pages remaining to be self-contained and highly enjoyable.

Ashes to Ashes

Art by Laura Neubert
Words by Virginia Drohan

Of all the stories in this collection, this is one that I feel like no one should miss. Following Elder God Quachil Utttaus who turns the living into dust by just touching them, this story explores more of those feelings of loneliness, but unlike the earlier mentioned, “Nora,” this story doubles-down on those empty and lost feelings to reach down into your chest to rip your heart out and crush it into dust. The art is even gentle, lovely, and with a sort of poetic movement that only adds its beauty.

Overall

The stories I’ve highlighted, however, don’t even scratch the surface on what this collection has to offer. Every story from beginning to end is strategically placed with intent, giving the reader a clear vision of what the collection intended to do. It really accomplishes a well-rounded set, and an exploration into the world of the Elder Gods in the Lovecraft Universe. The writing is filled with humor, sorrow, and animated, purposeful storytelling along with vibrant art that demonstrates incredible diversity. There is something for everyone in this work and it’s the kind of book you’d want to revisit, especially if you want to add a little levity and escape from monsters of the real world. I do have to say, however, there are a few stories that feel a little lacking, but it’s not due to any fault of the writer or artist. These are just stories that feel like they may need a book of their own and hopefully they can find an extended life beyond such a short snippet.

All in all, it’s a great book and by the end, you’ll definitely know how to spell, Cthulhu.

Pronouncing it is the hard part.

Find it now on Kickstarter!

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