Saturday, November 26, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: The Vessel of Terror

With my recent interest in both comic books and H.P. Lovecraft, this book was a natural fit.

Written by a Norwegian and printed in the UK this is a decidedly "Lovecraft-ian" work.  Borrowing from well known horror/sci-fi works like Alien, The Thing and others, The Vessel of Terror still stands on its own as a worthy creation.

The art is excellent and realistic as it should be for a graphic novel like this.  The force of the ocean, grittiness of a seaport and dim light of a location nearing the Arctic Circle are all well felt.

The writing draws sufficiently upon familiar themes to give the novel a baseline on which to draw in a short piece like this without being a carbon copy.  The fact that some of what is contained herein is based in fact (Yes, there is such a think as a Magnapinna squid, they are very big, they do have 10 tentacles vs. the 8 arms and 2 tentacles that other squids have or 8 arms and no tentacles that octopus have, none have been captured alive or studied and really, no one is sure if they are really squid or should be classified elsewhere).  See video here of one taken at a deep ocean drilling site in the Gulf of Mexico.

And this is the best part of the novel and what is best about Lovecraft's best work.  It takes the unknown, known (that which we know exists but don't know anything about it) and extrapolates it all sorts of weird directions.  Sure its not probable (OK, likely not possible), but just the fact that we don't KNOW means there's some infinitesimal chance that it MIGHT be like this.  And the fact that there is an infinitesimal chance just can sit there in the back or your primate brain and haunt the bejezus out of you.

This book is under $20 and as its from a small publisher, writer, etc. and not a big publishing conglomerate that churns out the same drivel over and over, its well worth supporting.


RC Miller said...

I've never heard of this book so thanks for bringing it to light for me. Sounds right up my alley as well.

Magnus Aspli said...

Thanks for the review, Dan! Pleasant surprise. May I ask where you got hold of the book?

spalind (Dan Spalinger) said...

Magnus, I actually ordered two copies. One from Markosia directly in the UK (yet to receive) and one from Lonestar Comics ( here in the States in Texas. I just checked Lonestar again and they do not have any other copies so I may have gotten one of their only ones. All the best Magnus, well done...