My latest graphic novel I finished reading was H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror. It retells two of Lovecraft’s stories: Dunwich Horror & The Hound. I’m a fan of H.P. Lovecraft ever since my brother introduced me to the board game Arkham Horror. I wanted to write why I enjoy Lovecraft’s work, but also highlight his importance to the horror genre.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born in August of 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island. Side note: I did try and drive around Rhode Island in May to find his house and I wasn’t successful. Both of Lovecraft’s parents suffered from mental illness; his father had a breakdown while his mother struggled with depression. This could have easily inspired his stories about untold horrors and losing your sanity.
Lovecraft is considered the inventor of “Cosmic Horror” which combines our world with other worlds with demonic creatures and darkness from the outside. Most of Lovecraft’s stories were short novellas as his most famous story is the “Call of Cthulhu” published in Weird Tales in 1928. Cthulhu is described as a combination of an octopus, dragon and a human. Cthulhu has recruited followers who blindly follow him into the destruction of Earth. Cthulhu is usually found in almost all the board games based off of Lovecraft’s stories including Arkham Horror.
Ultimately like most authors, Lovecraft struggled with financial stress and most of his work became more famous after he died which is rather unfortunate. Stephen King cited Lovecraft as the “twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale”. This isn’t surprising as when I think of King’s story It, I see lots of inspiration from Lovecraft.
I enjoy reading Lovecraft’s short stories because of how he describes the fear of the unknown. I imagine being in that story trying to get a grip on this creature that has no scientific explanation of why it exists. Humans fear the unknown and Lovecraft delves on that in each of his tales. It’s horrific to think if you saw a creature with no known existence and try to explain that to someone else. They would think you are losing your mind. I would rather go on a roller coaster any day of the week than try and fight Cthulhu.
There’s a downside to enjoying Lovecraft’s work and that’s because of his abhorrent racist values. I’m not qualified into delving into that topic, but Twin Cities Geek posted an article written by Bryan Thao Worra about how Lovecraft held racist values. This article is interesting as it talks about how writers of color can be fans of Lovecraft without forgetting about his views. This is a downside of Lovecraft’s work and I wish this wasn’t the case.
I hope this helps if you have ever wondered what’s with all the Cthulhu references or how Lovecraft’s influence has impacted horror novels. If you have ever considered reading his stories, you can pick up a collection at Barnes & Noble or purchase the IDW Comic The Dunwich Horror which gives you a preview of what Lovecraft’s stories are like. Also I cannot recommend Arkham Horror enough it’s the perfect game to play in October. If you have anything else you would like to add about Lovecraft’s contributions, I would love to hear it in the comments section below.