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The Haunter Of The Dark by John Coulthart
Not a Savoy book (published by Oneiros) but produced by one of Savoy's artists and featuring some of his Lord Horror work, this collects drawings and paintings of John's HP Lovecraft-inspired work from the past 12 years. This is a lavish production on high quality paper, specially designed by John to be a cohesive work rather than a collection of disparate pictures.
Pages from the Lord Horror series Hard Core Horror and Reverbstorm show the evolution of Coulthart's work and the influence which Lovecraft, the premier horror author of the 20th century, continues to exert. Also featured is an exclusive collaboration with acclaimed comics writer Alan Moore (who also provides the book's introduction), examining Lovecraft's pantheon of nightmare deities from an occult perspective.
The Haunter Of The Dark / The Call Of Cthulhu / The Dunwich Horror / The Great Old Ones (with Alan Moore) / Lord Horror
128 pages / ISBN 1-902197-02-X / £11.95 (UK) / $19.95 (US)
'I have not seen in many a long series of months or years the kind of continued dedication to the punctilious pen and ink work put on board by John Coulthart. It's a striking example of the need to create and the desire to shock the sensibilities of an audience with a phantasmic subject linked to a febrile and phantasmagorical talent.'
'Coulthart's version of 'The Call of Cthulhu' awed me when I first saw it and it awes me still. Had he lived to see it I feel sure that Lovecraft would have been delighted.'
'At its far edge, horror shades into beauty, and it is far beyond that edge that Coulthart takes us, into terrible magnificence.'
Alan Moore, in the book's introduction
"This is one of the best books I've seen in years. John Coulthart's work will be familiar to many from his Lord Horror work, some of which is reproduced here, explicitly presented as a conflation of Holocaust architecture and Lovecraftian mythos. The other material includes three heavily illustrated (i.e.: comic format, although the term seems limiting for work of this calibre) interpretations of Lovecraft storiesThe Haunter of the Dark, The Call of Cthulhu and The Dunwich Horrorand a set of illustrations of the Old Ones, with evocations by Alan Moore. The collection as a whole has an intensity that lifts it far from its relatively pulpy originsthe obsessive attention to detail throughout is inspirational, and the illustrations of the Old Ones are among the strangest and most beautiful pictures I've ever seen. Coulthart has the perfect foil in Alan Moore, whose prose is almost too dense, too rich to be taken in at once; together, their work demands and deserves a commitment on the part of the reader to match the imaginative rigour on display here, but such attention is amply rewarded. There are a lot of 'comic-book' adaptations of celebrated writers' work out there, and this pisses on the lot of themhopefully it will provide a new template and standard for a field all too often characterised by shoddy, lacklustre and cynical work. It's also the finest addition to the ever-growing Cthulhu canon I've seen, beyond Lovecraft's stories themselves. The first title from Oneiros was David Conway's Metal Sushi, an excellent collection marred by bad setting and proofing. This beautifully packaged book shows how far the company has come. Unmissable."
James Marriott, doo.yoo.com
"After enough postponements and printing problems to suggest ancient curses at work, John Coulthart's Lovecraft illustrations are finally collected together in book form. 'The Haunter of the Dark' represents a 20 year career of creating Lovecraft inspired artwork, from the stark, cold geometry of Providence and Torenbürgen to the swirling madness that accompanies Alan Moore's evocations of The Great Old Ones.
The book begins with complete comic adaptations of 'The Haunter of the Dark' and 'The Call of CthuIhu'. Each tale is marked by the painstakingly precise pen and ink technique that later provoked controversy when Coulthart created a vicious dreamscape of corpses and fascism for David Britton's 'Lord Horror' comics. Yet no matter how thick the blood runs from Coulthart's work, as Alan Moore states in his introduction, "...the horror shades into beauty."
The second part of the book consists of a kabbala of The Great Old Ones accompanied by the occult evocations of comics' legend, Alan Moore. Moore's writing is as dense and layered as Coulthart's computer generated portrayals, in which insects, sea creatures, body parts and mysterious symbols are collaged into dark, chaotic, yet fearfully symmetrical forms.
The final part of the 'The Haunter of the Dark' is dedicated to Coulthart's work for infamous Manchester publishers, Savoy. Here we find degradation and violence taken to unimagined extremes. The images are visceral and shocking yet stylized and crafted to the point of magnificence.
The Haunter of the Dark is a staggering achievement that will make major players of both Coulthart and Oneiros in the field of horror literature. Although the subject matter may be challenging for the more delicate of taste, Coulthart's artistic talent is indisputable. Whilst I'd recommend putting 'The Haunter of the Dark' on your list to Santa, I would suggest keeping an eye on it on Christmas Day if you have relatives on the loose. The last thing you need is a bored Granny or inquisitive young nephew picking it up for a browse."
Matt Leyshon, The Alien Has Landed
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