Saturday, December 10, 2011

Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows' "Neonomicon" (Steak Knives)

I never did go through an H.P. Lovecraft phase.  I managed to avoid temptation based on a healthy aversion to Lovecraft zealots who are as much fun to talk to at parties as Ayn Rand zealots.  Ultimately it's been a case of 'it's not the band I hate, it's their fans.'  

A few years back, a friend compelled me to at least dip in a toe.  Given his non-zealot rationale and a fine batting average with author recos, I picked up 'The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories.'

I haven't been converted, as such, but I have been allowed full-access to the barrage pop-culture Cthulhu mythos references dropped everywhere from South Park to Warren Ellis, which has been more enriching than the primary text itself.  This brings us to the focus of this blog post. 

Moore (writer) and Burrows' (artist) 'Neonomicon' is a disturbing but inspired work *in parallel* to Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos.  While "disturbing but inspired" can be a standard reaction to an Alan Moore effort, what I mean to say is 'It's actually, really quite disturbing and inspired...  Even for Alan Moore...'  Shit gets crazy.

'Do do that Cthulhu that you do so well...'

A blend of Raymond Chandler, X-Files, and a little zoophilia, among other things, it's certainly hard to pigeon-hole, which is well within the spirit and character of the Lovecraft canon.  Unsettling and shocking at times, Moore manages to elevate the material above the puerile with great narrative pacing and what I can only call holistic gravitas.  At times the effect is just like a body blow.

Jacen Burrows' art is a sharp complement to Moore's pacing and richness of story.  He's as good as I've seen Moore paired with, though it's hard for a non-practitioner like me to discern exactly what influence the content itself plays in the fruits of artist-author collaboration.  This is well worth checking out, but seriously, know that shit gets crazy.

A R'lyeh good read...

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