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"For a second we gasped in admiration..." September 1930. A scientific expedition embarks for the frozen wasteland of Antarctica. But the secrets they unearth there reveal a past almost beyond human comprehension - and a future too terrible to imagine. By taking scientific fact so seriously, At the Mountains of Madness(1936), H.P Lovecraft's classic take on the "heroic age" "For a second we gasped in admiration..." September 1930. A scientific expedition embarks for the frozen wasteland of Antarctica. But the secrets they unearth there reveal a past almost beyond human comprehension - and a future too terrible to imagine. By taking scientific fact so seriously, At the Mountains of Madness(1936), H.P Lovecraft's classic take on the "heroic age" of polar exploration, helped to define a new era in 20th-century science fiction. "...and then vague horror began to creep into our souls."


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"For a second we gasped in admiration..." September 1930. A scientific expedition embarks for the frozen wasteland of Antarctica. But the secrets they unearth there reveal a past almost beyond human comprehension - and a future too terrible to imagine. By taking scientific fact so seriously, At the Mountains of Madness(1936), H.P Lovecraft's classic take on the "heroic age" "For a second we gasped in admiration..." September 1930. A scientific expedition embarks for the frozen wasteland of Antarctica. But the secrets they unearth there reveal a past almost beyond human comprehension - and a future too terrible to imagine. By taking scientific fact so seriously, At the Mountains of Madness(1936), H.P Lovecraft's classic take on the "heroic age" of polar exploration, helped to define a new era in 20th-century science fiction. "...and then vague horror began to creep into our souls."

30 review for At the Mountains of Madness: A Graphic Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sr3yas

    2.5 Stars Lovecraft's famous tale of horror comes alive in these pages, albeit not perfectly. Frankly, I was curious to see how someone can adapt a story as complex as At the Mountains of Madness into a graphic novel. The original story lacked conversations and solid interactions, thanks to Lovecraft's mad writing skills! “We might have known from the first that human curiosity is undying, and that the results we announced would be enough to spear others ahead on the same age-long pursuit of the 2.5 Stars Lovecraft's famous tale of horror comes alive in these pages, albeit not perfectly. Frankly, I was curious to see how someone can adapt a story as complex as At the Mountains of Madness into a graphic novel. The original story lacked conversations and solid interactions, thanks to Lovecraft's mad writing skills! “We might have known from the first that human curiosity is undying, and that the results we announced would be enough to spear others ahead on the same age-long pursuit of the unknown.” ---------------------from original story Famous last words?! The story tells the misadventures of a research team during their expedition to Antarctica, where they come face to face with an ancient race of Aliens. (You can read my review of original novella------> here) The adaptation starts strong, developing good character interaction and enough drama to keep the reader interested. The writing has been toned down to normal prose (Lovecraft fans will understand what I'm talking about) which allows the reader to approach the story with a different perspective. The art is reminiscent old adventure comics like Tintin series. It works well in first half but falls flat in second half. Yes, the second half is very problematic here. In the second half, our heroes enter the mysterious mountain and come face-to-face with the horrors of the nameless abyss. At this point, the toned down prose and the art fail to deliver the true terror. Well, it's not a bad adaptation. But it is far from brilliant.

  2. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    the good: the art is lovely and I liked the oddness of a story that features art that looks like an homage to Boys' Adventures serials from the 20s and 30s being put in service of a dire Lovecraft plot. I always appreciate the tension that occurs when simple, often primary color-based palettes, intelligent use of shadow, and retro stylization are used to tell a story of darkness and terror. Blue Velvet, Parents, etc. so that was an interesting choice by Culbard. or maybe it's just his style? the good: the art is lovely and I liked the oddness of a story that features art that looks like an homage to Boys' Adventures serials from the 20s and 30s being put in service of a dire Lovecraft plot. I always appreciate the tension that occurs when simple, often primary color-based palettes, intelligent use of shadow, and retro stylization are used to tell a story of darkness and terror. Blue Velvet, Parents, etc. so that was an interesting choice by Culbard. or maybe it's just his style? some not-so-good things too. Culbard's occasional updating of Lovecraft's dialogue felt distinctly off. he plays around with the narrative itself in a minor way, but also in a way that I found unnecessary and often irritating. this adaptation spends too much time showing all of the preamble before getting to the exploration of the alien city, and the result is a story that ends up being surprisingly dull. and sadly the art itself fails when depicting that city - it looks like a futuristic place of jetpacks and rockets rather than something truly alien and therefore truly disturbing. that is a big, big fail. this is a 2 star book but I feel the need to give it an extra star because I'm obsessed with the cover. so evocative yet so unreal. eerie. I'd like it to be painted on one of my walls. Culbard, can you do that for me?

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    At the Mountains of Madness is the third of four H.P. Lovecraft novels included in the gorgeously produced Self Made Hero omnibus Lovecraft, adapted and illustrated by I. N. J. Culbard. I decided to review them separately, and in the process of reading it realized that I had read it before. I think I must have read the original tale decades ago, or at least tried to read it: Lovecraft is not my favorite writer. I like all the cool adventure/horror ideas he has--that Cthulhu mythos he creates--bu At the Mountains of Madness is the third of four H.P. Lovecraft novels included in the gorgeously produced Self Made Hero omnibus Lovecraft, adapted and illustrated by I. N. J. Culbard. I decided to review them separately, and in the process of reading it realized that I had read it before. I think I must have read the original tale decades ago, or at least tried to read it: Lovecraft is not my favorite writer. I like all the cool adventure/horror ideas he has--that Cthulhu mythos he creates--but he's more into tone and the atmosphere of dread than character or dialogue. At the Mountains of Madness is a great, inviting title, and Culbard's cover art has an aura of mystery about it, fitting for a supposedly classic Lovecraft tale, published in 1936. The story, informed maybe in equal parts by Poe and Verne, features an expedition to Antarctica that turns creepy: There the explorers discover the remains of "The Old Ones," these intergalactic aliens who once settled on earth millions of years ago. The idea is that this bleakly frigid landscape can only yield shudder-producing horror, but this idea is undermined by the tone of the art that is much lighter and breezier than the cover. Also, the monsters we see aren't really all that scary. One is an amoeba with multiple eyes that can't match the horror of Culbard's pulpy prose in describing it. So many people have been influenced by Lovecraft, so many of us go back to the source material, which I find a little dull, more telling than showing. I like the work of several people that have adapted the Cthulhu myth materials to their ends, such as Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips in Fatale, or Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez in Locke and Key, or Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows's Providence. Feels strangely distant rather than truly scary, though all the drawings and coloring are lovely and technically proficient, for sure. I found this to be true with Culbard's Sherlock Holmes stories, too, not suspenseful as were the original Holmes stories, or the movie adaptations. Not quite right for mystery and suspense. Not gaspingly scary or spine-tingling as you want it to be.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I have been a fan of HP Lovecrafts work ever since university when I first discovered his work - followed shortly by realising how influential he is. From such a short writing career he created a body of work which is even to this day inspiring writers, artists and film makers. So when I found out that there was a publisher which had taken some of his most famous stories (and in some cases other authors who he had influenced) and turned them in to graphic novels I was very interested. This there I have been a fan of HP Lovecrafts work ever since university when I first discovered his work - followed shortly by realising how influential he is. From such a short writing career he created a body of work which is even to this day inspiring writers, artists and film makers. So when I found out that there was a publisher which had taken some of his most famous stories (and in some cases other authors who he had influenced) and turned them in to graphic novels I was very interested. This therefore is the second book of his (discounting the two anthologies which contain various shorter stories) which had the graphic novel treatment. Now this is intriguing story to start with - some see it as an attempt to explain (in a still vague way) the mythos and how the various stories could be linked together. Plus this is a story which has defined various film makers attempts to put it on the screen (although if you read the various film news it seems they are still trying) so as you can imagine this book has a lot to live up to. So when I read it I must admit that although I did feel the atmosphere - now again working to the no spoilers tenants you can guess there is artic weather in abundance that the book certainly conveys that but other elements the more fantastic I felt were a little light in presentation. However the whole air of mystery is perfect. For me this is a book for someone who has never read At the Mountains of Madness - so there are no expectations or assumptions. That said any of HPLs stories given this treatment is worth a look at. It just makes me want to get the other volumes and read those too.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gregsamsa

    You can't judge a book by its cover, but you should be able to with a graphic novel. At least a bit. The cover art on this comic-book retelling of the H.P. Lovecraft tale is a little on the bleak arty side, ambiguous and atmospheric. The art on the inside, however, is completely different: it looks like it was taken from an adventure story published in a 1951 issue of Boy's Life Magazine. On the upside, we are spared all of Lovecraft's florid faux-Poe exposition and scene setting, on the downside You can't judge a book by its cover, but you should be able to with a graphic novel. At least a bit. The cover art on this comic-book retelling of the H.P. Lovecraft tale is a little on the bleak arty side, ambiguous and atmospheric. The art on the inside, however, is completely different: it looks like it was taken from an adventure story published in a 1951 issue of Boy's Life Magazine. On the upside, we are spared all of Lovecraft's florid faux-Poe exposition and scene setting, on the downside we are spared tone and atmosphere almost altogether. Too bad it wasn't all like the cover.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Seth T.

    I've been a fan of H.P. Lovecraft for a while now. I mean, not a real fan. Real fans of the author would almost certainly consider me a dilettante—a lipstick Lovecraftian, if you will. Fact: I have never finished anything Lovecraft wrote. I gave At the Mountains of Madness a shot several years ago when I downloaded it for free for my old-gen Kindle. It was too slow, too dry, too far-removed to keep my interest. What then are my points of contact with the author's worlds? Through Mignola's Hellboy I've been a fan of H.P. Lovecraft for a while now. I mean, not a real fan. Real fans of the author would almost certainly consider me a dilettante—a lipstick Lovecraftian, if you will. Fact: I have never finished anything Lovecraft wrote. I gave At the Mountains of Madness a shot several years ago when I downloaded it for free for my old-gen Kindle. It was too slow, too dry, too far-removed to keep my interest. What then are my points of contact with the author's worlds? Through Mignola's Hellboy universe, first of all. I know he hasn't adapted the Cthulhu mythos but I had read that his cosmic monstrosites have been described as Lovecraftian. And since I loved his monsters and elder gods and tentacle-beasts, I decided that I liked whoever was the influential genesis for these creations. My other point of entry is the boardgame, Arkham Horror, which is set in Lovecraft's fictional stomping ground and employs his creatures and mythos. Because of that game (which, sidenote, is really pretty fun), I can give a knowing nod of recognition when someone namedrops Cthulhu or Shoggoths or even Shub-Nigguroth the Black Goat of the Woods. Unimpressive, I know. But here we all are. With my previously abortive attempt to read "At the Mountains of Madness," I was pretty excited when I discovered that INJ Culbard had adapted the story into the comics medium. I loved Culbard's work adapting the Holmes mythos with Ian Edginton and thumbed appreciatively through his work in Princess of Mars last time I was in an actual, physical bookstore (sadly, only window shopping). At the least, I knew I could finish the story this time. And I did. Culbard's attractive illustrations took me through a story that, while involving fascinating concepts, was actually pretty dull. The book has its up-sides for sure, but I'll hem and haw about where it went wrong for me before I get to the good stuff. Because I found the original so distancing and tedious that I couldn't finish it, I don't have any viable apparatus to judge whether to blame Culbard or Lovecraft for what I feel went wrong here. I lean toward Lovecraft because 1) he's dead and won't have his feelings hurt, and 2) the opening to the original At the Mountains of Madness wasn't that encouraging on its own. The biggest issue may be that Culbard leans pretty heavily on dialogical and narrative-bubble exposition across the entire tale's expanse. As the story is related in flashback by a surviving member of an arctic expedition, this seems sensible and keeps the reader in mind that we're encountering the recent past in which something terrible occurred. Unfortunately the text is rather wooden and so, while fitting the standard style of desiccated academic writing (as all academic writing I've encountered is1), is rather a chore to get through. It would have been nicer to see Culbard rely a bit more heavily on his artistic chops rather than on resurrecting so many of Lovecraft's words.2 It would have been far more difficult, I imagine, to rely so much on art to tell this story but I believe both that Culbard is prodigious enough to do the work well and that the book would have been much more interesting for the effort. Part of the issue, perhaps, is something I alluded to in my review of Junji Ito's horror classic Uzumaki . I begin that review wondering at the comics medium's ability to interact with the horror genre so well as other mediums: I’m skeptical of comics’ power to truly horrify using supernatural elements. Because the reader controls entirely the pace of a story’s execution, one of the primary tools of the horror genre is kept from authors in the comics medium. Additionally, revulsion is increasingly difficult to elicit from static imagery—a gross drawing is merely that and draws forth none of that sense of fear or terror that aficionados of the genre tend to relish. Certainly a compelling story about the affects of war on a civilian population can horrify, but only because it is humanity who is the monster and not some lumbering creature of the imagination. There seems little room for the supernatural to scare us from the immobile, two-dimensional page. This is Lovecraft. This is cosmic horror. We all know that because that's what we (even we who've never read the work) know about Lovecraft. Space monstrosities that push mortal men toward insanity. And yes, horrifying things happen. Supernatural things. Things beyond the ken of these men to describe. We are allowed to peek beneath the veil of a whole, horrifying world. Something that should be disturbing and frightening and maddening. Only it isn't. I'd say the problem is that we are jaded by years and decades of being fed unnatural images through film and literature (because, of course, we have!), but this isn't the whole answer. After all, film and prose fiction still have the ability to conjure fear of the uncanny. So then it seems a weakness unique to the comics medium—and a weakness that diminishes the ability to empathize with the protagonists of At the Mountains of Madness, who are clearly terrified by the horror they've stumbled into. Rather than feel anything relevant to their revulsion or terror, I simply had to acquiesce to a detached acknowledgement that these people are feeling these things and that the events and beings they are witnessing are actually horrifying. I don't blame this on either Culbard or Lovecraft but the medium.3 Okay, so those are my two complaints. Give them what weight you will. But instead now let's move on to the happier, gilded shores of Culbard's art. The artist here presents page after page of lovely illustrations. His cartooning is top-notch and his skill at rendering his characters leaves nothing to be desired. The reason I was excited to see what he'd do for Mountains was that in the short time I've been following his work (two years? three?), it has yet to disappoint me. While his figures are straightforward and simply conceived, he spends some level of invention toward panel and page design. In the present work, it is not uncommon for him to expand one panel to fill the background and gutters of the entire two-page spread. It's a killer technique that lends an expansiveness to his pages.4 The nature of Mountains' narrative gives Culbard numerous opportunities to experiment with lighting and he does a good job, dramatically illuminating subjects and casting demented shadows. The whole work is a visual treat. In the end, Culbard saves me the trouble, allowing me to experience what I imagine is a faithful recreation of Lovecraft's novella. The story itself does little more for me than serve to sate my interest in the mythos sparked by experiences with tangential works. It was fun to encounter (in some sense of the word) Elder Things, Shoggoths, Mi-Gos, and Cthulhu. It was cool to hear mention of the history of R'lyeh and to learn a touch more of the civilization that once thrived on the Plateau of Leng. I only wished I could have been more enthralled by the experience. Man, that would have been something! __________ 1) It doesn't have to be of course, and I'll admit to only having read a smallish pile of academic papers. 2) If indeed that is what he's done here. 3) A lot of this is conjecture. I may be wrong and it may be that horror isn't impossible in the medium. It may be either that I haven't encountered the right book or story yet or it may simply be that I am dead inside and therefore incapable of feeling fear or horror or revulsion at any of these plainly terrifying things. 4) I don't remember him doing this in prior works I've encountered but now I want to go back and see what I missed. __________ [Review courtesy of Good Ok Bad.]

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    Many thanks to Self Made Hero for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review 3.5 stars! So, what's this book about? September 1930. A scientific expedition embarks for the frozen wasteland of Antarctica. But the secrets they unearth there reveal a past almost beyond human comprehension - and a future too terrible to imagine. By taking scientific fact so seriously, At the Mountains of Madness(1936), H.P Lovecraft's classic take on the "heroic age" of polar exploration, helped to define a Many thanks to Self Made Hero for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review 3.5 stars! So, what's this book about? September 1930. A scientific expedition embarks for the frozen wasteland of Antarctica. But the secrets they unearth there reveal a past almost beyond human comprehension - and a future too terrible to imagine. By taking scientific fact so seriously, At the Mountains of Madness(1936), H.P Lovecraft's classic take on the "heroic age" of polar exploration, helped to define a new era in 20th-century science fiction. If I had to describe this book in one sentence, that sentence would be: "This creepy graphic novel is a horrifying mash-up of Tintin and The Thing" And you know what, that just about sums it up. Review over. Just kidding. But seriously though, that was really what I kept thinking over and over as I read this graphic novel. On that note, this graphic novel was GRAPHIC. I've only read... I think one of Lovecraft's stories before but I knew that this would be creepy. And it was. This graphic novel was beyond unsettling. It was horrifying. It would make an amazing movie. Overall, I highly recommend this for people who are looking for a fast paced sci-fi/fantasy horror graphic novel!! | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram

  8. 5 out of 5

    Charles Dee Mitchell

    H.P. Lovecraft wrote, or more accurately, overwrote At the Mountains of Madness in 1936. (That "overwrote" in the preceding sentence already has me on the bad side of avid Lovecraftians.) I read the original years ago when I did most of my Lovecraft reading, and it was never one of my favorites, crucial as it may be to the Cthulhu mythos. Since the Guillermo del Toro film has been canceled, this graphic novel seemed like a good way to revisit the material. The drawings emphasize that this is a 19 H.P. Lovecraft wrote, or more accurately, overwrote At the Mountains of Madness in 1936. (That "overwrote" in the preceding sentence already has me on the bad side of avid Lovecraftians.) I read the original years ago when I did most of my Lovecraft reading, and it was never one of my favorites, crucial as it may be to the Cthulhu mythos. Since the Guillermo del Toro film has been canceled, this graphic novel seemed like a good way to revisit the material. The drawings emphasize that this is a 1930's adventure story. Brave explorer/scientists, as a child one of my favorite hybrids in literature and movies, go to explore the further reaches of Antartica. There they discover the remains of "The Old Ones," those intergalactic drifters who settled on earth millions of years ago, inadvertently set in motion terrestrial life, and then had some sort of internal battles and disappeared into the depths of the sea. I don't remember all the details. I.N.J Culbard's pages are in saturated colors, varying from arctic blue, to the dark browns of the explorers' camps, to the unearthly jade green that dominates the city they discover. That city, as described by Lovecraft and pictured here, never seems particularly well designed for the squid-like creatures who lived there. Why did squids want skyscrapers? One Lovecraftian trademark, not too well served here, is to announce the manifestation of an "indescribable horror" and proceed to describe it for one or two pages. Lovecraft's descriptions attain pulpy grandeur, but the glimpses of a giant amoeba with a bunch of eyes we get here is a letdown. Self Made Hero, the publisher of this version, has a series of Lovecraft anthologies planned. One volume is out, and with the diversity of artists invovled it promises to give more outrageous visions of Lovecraft's cosmic terrors.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Chung

    Cool story. Loved that the Cthulhu is mentioned in this story. I have been dying to know what the heck they were. Great illustrations. Nice big panels and color palette. This is the story of an expedition to Antarctica. The team has reached their destination and one scientist, Professor Lake the biologist, takes a team of men to scour the mountains for artifacts. That is when the weirdness happens. Professor Lake and team discover a lifeform. They presume they are dead and take them to their camp Cool story. Loved that the Cthulhu is mentioned in this story. I have been dying to know what the heck they were. Great illustrations. Nice big panels and color palette. This is the story of an expedition to Antarctica. The team has reached their destination and one scientist, Professor Lake the biologist, takes a team of men to scour the mountains for artifacts. That is when the weirdness happens. Professor Lake and team discover a lifeform. They presume they are dead and take them to their camp to dissect them. Little do Professor Lake and team know that they will soon be the ones dissected. Dum Dum dUUUUUUMMMMMM! Not nearly as creepy as I would have liked. Cool concept though. Loved the idea of a super intelligent being coming to earth and creating humans. Loved the underwater city. Very cool all around.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    MINI REVIEW: so I've yet to read the novelette/novel but I enjoyed the graphic novel. A lot of the big reveals I already knew because I've played the roleplaying game and the historical section reveals a great deal about the Mythos. That said, for people who have not read either I suspect the graphic novel will give you a nice twist at the end. Tale focuses upon an expedition going up to the North Pole in the 1930s and discovering a strange city there. Keep in mind that back in that time we as a MINI REVIEW: so I've yet to read the novelette/novel but I enjoyed the graphic novel. A lot of the big reveals I already knew because I've played the roleplaying game and the historical section reveals a great deal about the Mythos. That said, for people who have not read either I suspect the graphic novel will give you a nice twist at the end. Tale focuses upon an expedition going up to the North Pole in the 1930s and discovering a strange city there. Keep in mind that back in that time we as a species had yet to map that area so it was totally up to the imagination. Written adaption by I.N.J. Culbard and artwork by the same person. I like how the artwork colors are made to suit the era. OVERALL GRADE: B.

  11. 5 out of 5

    TraceyL

    This was so freaking fantastic! I've tried reading Lovecraft before but the language was very hard for me to get into. I love the concepts, I just couldn't get into the stories. A graphic novel adaptation is a great way to show what the heck the author was talking about in a more digestible way. I had only heard of this story's title before. I knew nothing about what was going to happen other than a scientific research team goes to Antarctica and finds something unusual. I genuinely gasped out l This was so freaking fantastic! I've tried reading Lovecraft before but the language was very hard for me to get into. I love the concepts, I just couldn't get into the stories. A graphic novel adaptation is a great way to show what the heck the author was talking about in a more digestible way. I had only heard of this story's title before. I knew nothing about what was going to happen other than a scientific research team goes to Antarctica and finds something unusual. I genuinely gasped out loud at some of the reveals in this book, and couldn't put it down once I started. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to get into Lovecraft. I'll be checking out the author's other works as well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    April

    While I love the art int this volume I don't think it's very well suited for depicting the sense of dread & overwhelming horrors of Lovecraft. A mix of styles would have been great. The simple TinTin like style at the beginning slowly giving way to something much darker & crazier as the story progressed would have been my choice. While I love the art int this volume I don't think it's very well suited for depicting the sense of dread & overwhelming horrors of Lovecraft. A mix of styles would have been great. The simple TinTin like style at the beginning slowly giving way to something much darker & crazier as the story progressed would have been my choice.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    The tone or color of the book is all blues and whites. There is a feeling of desolation and quiet. I know I use the word creepy often, but this is a creepy story. Spine tingling might be a different way to say it. I enjoy the end when they find out what is behind the mountains. Incredible imagery and it makes your mind think, what if?s I have to admit I haven't read H. P. Lovecraft. I know this is a hole in my reading background and this book entices me to read some of his stories. I enjoyed this The tone or color of the book is all blues and whites. There is a feeling of desolation and quiet. I know I use the word creepy often, but this is a creepy story. Spine tingling might be a different way to say it. I enjoy the end when they find out what is behind the mountains. Incredible imagery and it makes your mind think, what if?s I have to admit I haven't read H. P. Lovecraft. I know this is a hole in my reading background and this book entices me to read some of his stories. I enjoyed this little story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ferdy

    Spoilers Pretty good. I've never read a novel set in the Antarctic so that was kind of interesting. The mystery was fairly engaging but it wasn't all that original — science team goes on expedition, weird rocks are found, discovery of a lost city, people dying, nothing is as it seems blah blah blah. The characters personalities were all kind of similar to each other - I don't even remember anyone's names. The ending was disappointing, that mustache guy's team were killed by alien things and he wa Spoilers Pretty good. I've never read a novel set in the Antarctic so that was kind of interesting. The mystery was fairly engaging but it wasn't all that original — science team goes on expedition, weird rocks are found, discovery of a lost city, people dying, nothing is as it seems blah blah blah. The characters personalities were all kind of similar to each other - I don't even remember anyone's names. The ending was disappointing, that mustache guy's team were killed by alien things and he was all 'okey dokey let's not tell anyone when we get home, it's too mind blowing blah blah blah.' Really? Mustache guy discovered an intelligent species that came before humans and he then realised that the alienish creatures were responsible for the existence of humans and he's all 'I'm not telling anyone, just because.' Ugh. And then he changes his mind and is all 'Oh wait, I'm telling everyone.' WTF, mustache guy?! All in all, At the Mountains of Madness was a quick and mostly enjoyable read. Oh, and the illustrations were good.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1874607... this takes Lovecraft's classic novella and puts it into a stark graphic novel adaptation, beautifully suited to the tale. The original story is a masterpiece of horror, ratcheting up the tension and dread with each sentence; Culbard's adaptation must play with the text a little, but keeps many of the best lines. The drawing style is generally restrained, which makes the one or two moments of horrific revelation (particularly the gruesome fate of the advanc http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1874607... this takes Lovecraft's classic novella and puts it into a stark graphic novel adaptation, beautifully suited to the tale. The original story is a masterpiece of horror, ratcheting up the tension and dread with each sentence; Culbard's adaptation must play with the text a little, but keeps many of the best lines. The drawing style is generally restrained, which makes the one or two moments of horrific revelation (particularly the gruesome fate of the advance party and the first sight of the hidden city) all the more effective. Dyer's increasingly horror is conveyed very economically with subtle changes to the shading of his face, especially the bags under his eyes. The graphic medium does mean a certain attenuation of atmosphere. In Lovecraft's text, we are taken into Dyer's mind, and he admits that he is a slightly unreliable narrator, partly unhinged by the horrors he has witnessed. As a drawn character, even as the narrator, he becomes someone who we readers watch along with the other members of the expedition (and the monsters); he may still be the central character, but his perspective is no longer as privileged as it is in the original text, and that's probably unavoidable. (Dave Sim, for all his many faults, actually had some great moments in Cerebus where we could appreciate the points of view of particular characters, but I think that needs a different kind of story-telling than is really possible here.) Anyway, a must-have for anyone who is even a mild Lovecraft fan, or indeed for anyone who hasn't yet tried him but is wondering what the fuss is about.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I have to admit, I have never been one of Lovecraft`s biggest fans. I was pretty much always left with the feeling of "and then what happens?" whenever I read one of his stories... perhaps my youthfulness of the time prevented me from truly appreciating his stories... something I guess I'll have to remedy sometimes soon. The suspense while reading this story was palpable... even to the point of getting a much needed relief and a chuckle when they "run" into the penguin. I have no doubt Lovecraft I have to admit, I have never been one of Lovecraft`s biggest fans. I was pretty much always left with the feeling of "and then what happens?" whenever I read one of his stories... perhaps my youthfulness of the time prevented me from truly appreciating his stories... something I guess I'll have to remedy sometimes soon. The suspense while reading this story was palpable... even to the point of getting a much needed relief and a chuckle when they "run" into the penguin. I have no doubt Lovecraft was trying to relieve some of the accumulated dread put into the reader, only to have it build up again a few paragraphs later. In the mire of today's extreme gore, it is a relief to read something truly horific and scary without having to resort to excessive gore (though there is gore in there, mind you). As for the art, it emulates the simplicity as well as the complexity of a classic Hergé Tintin tale. Proving once again that good art does not need to cover itself in layers of details to get its point across. I'm glad I "discovered" this graphic novel... though truth to tell it would have deserved an over-sized hardcover edition... I shall be looking for other stories adapted by I.N.J. Culbard.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pierre

    A competent work in a clean line european graphic style reminiscent of the great Edgar P. Jacobs and his masterpiece works Blake And Mortimer (also available in english). The use of monochrome and sepia colors gives the art its aged look creating an atmosphere similar to old black and white science-fiction movies of the 1930s and 1940s, and providing a classic feel to the setting of H.P. Lovecraft's masterwork. This style may not please everyone however since it can feel cold (pardon the pun) and A competent work in a clean line european graphic style reminiscent of the great Edgar P. Jacobs and his masterpiece works Blake And Mortimer (also available in english). The use of monochrome and sepia colors gives the art its aged look creating an atmosphere similar to old black and white science-fiction movies of the 1930s and 1940s, and providing a classic feel to the setting of H.P. Lovecraft's masterwork. This style may not please everyone however since it can feel cold (pardon the pun) and lacking in emotional impact.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This is a graphic novel based on the famous H.P. Lovecraft novella "At the Mountains of Madness" - and although I may have read some works by Lovecraft long ago, that is, over 50 years ago, as a child or adolescent, I don't recall having read this particular work, so the story was new to me (although the author is not). The treatment was effective, and I thought the drawing style suited the circa 1930s fantasy tale era, with a simplified mostly dark-hued color palette. The drawing style reminded This is a graphic novel based on the famous H.P. Lovecraft novella "At the Mountains of Madness" - and although I may have read some works by Lovecraft long ago, that is, over 50 years ago, as a child or adolescent, I don't recall having read this particular work, so the story was new to me (although the author is not). The treatment was effective, and I thought the drawing style suited the circa 1930s fantasy tale era, with a simplified mostly dark-hued color palette. The drawing style reminded me a bit of classic comic strip characters of the era, such as Popeye, Little Orphan Annie or Dagwood. Or even L'il Abner. But not in a caricature-ish way - not exaggerated. So the drawing style is simple yet effective. The subdued color scheme and emphasis on shadow, with a lot of black ink, points to the dark world of mystery and subliminal/unknown terror the work is about. One critique though would be the depiction of the penguins - they were drawn as immense, at first, but only appeared somewhat bigger than the explorers in some subsequent drawings. The horror of the climactic scene of (I assume) the shoggoths vs. the penguins, is only suggested - by the penguin blood Danforth stumbles upon initially and the absence of penguins after the shoggoths have left. However, the shoggoths are not shown to have tentacles - only the old ones are drawn as large squid-like creatures with tentacles. Were the penguin attackers the shoggoths or the old ones - or both? Later, returning to the base, Danforth recollects what he has seen - his memories are reflected in his goggles as he pilots the plane. In that image, it's tentacles that are shown reaching up to engulf the lost city, not shoggoths. Anyway, either way, the penguins are gone after the (defrosted) old ones or the revived shoggoths rumble in. Perhaps only suggesting their disappearance - somewhat like that of the poet who wrote the Necronomicon, a grimoire that supposedly explains what the lost city and its unearthly inhabitants was all about - was more effective than showing exactly what happened to them and so forth. Still, the entire work was plausible enough to seem believably horrible when the shocking portions of the story kicked in. The combination of the authentic-seeming exploration of Antarctica, with its day-to-day problems, conflicts, and group politics, along with the technical aspects of the mission, with the stumbling upon an unknown world and the ensuing terrors is quite effective and it is easy to see why Lovecraft is considered one of the originators, and a master, of the horror genre. The story will lodge in the reader's mind. It is oddly powerful - and for me at least, has led to a renewed interest in the author, so I will probably try to read the original and possibly other Lovecraft stories of the Cthulhu Mythos (cycle of stories). I would recommend this graphic novel to anyone interested in a rousing "spine-tingling" and effective fantasy-horror story!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Etienne

    Good adaptation of Lovecraft work into a comic book. The illustrations look a bit childish for my personal taste, yes it can be a good way to get children (around 10 years old maybe) to discover Lovecraft, but I would have like a darker style for the arts. If not that aspect, it was fun to read and well adapted. Enjoyable!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    It has been a couple decades since I last read the original of this, but my favorite thinsg from that version were (1) the history of these beings and (2) that fact that I found it "not scary" while reading it, but then really scary later, when I was trying to go to sleep. This graphic novel version does a really good job of capturing the creeping sense of wrongness in the original, but a lot of the history is (of necessity) lost. It was like watching a good movie adaptation of a book... it hits It has been a couple decades since I last read the original of this, but my favorite thinsg from that version were (1) the history of these beings and (2) that fact that I found it "not scary" while reading it, but then really scary later, when I was trying to go to sleep. This graphic novel version does a really good job of capturing the creeping sense of wrongness in the original, but a lot of the history is (of necessity) lost. It was like watching a good movie adaptation of a book... it hits the high points of the story and even adds something new at times, but I could feel the loss of something, too. The graphics do a great job of capturing the scale of everything... but not as good as my imagination did when it had to rely on just the words. I really enjoyed this version and recommended it for anyone who hasn't read the original (or, better, hasn't read it in a long time), but if you have the time and inclination, read Lovecraft's text itself instead.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    This is a surprisingly solid graphic take on one of Lovecraft's best-known (but problematic) works. I.N.J. Culbard makes his rendition succeed by staying relatively close to Lovecraft's original story, and allowing the simple but effective art to highlight the stark surroundings of a foreboding landscape. While the source story is fascinating, it is also one of Lovecraft's howlers, as his over-serious characters wrestle with giant penguins and interpreting a detailed history of an (apparently) e This is a surprisingly solid graphic take on one of Lovecraft's best-known (but problematic) works. I.N.J. Culbard makes his rendition succeed by staying relatively close to Lovecraft's original story, and allowing the simple but effective art to highlight the stark surroundings of a foreboding landscape. While the source story is fascinating, it is also one of Lovecraft's howlers, as his over-serious characters wrestle with giant penguins and interpreting a detailed history of an (apparently) extinct alien race from a brief survey of wall carvings. Culbard makes it work by keeping his images uncomplicated, and allowing his dark palette to lend the dry dialogue a sense of impending dread that Lovecraft struggled to pull off in his version.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tim Mckinstry

    Just didn't do it for me I'm afraid. I may have only read the graphic novel however I was put off attempting the novel. Such a promising premise and beginning yet when I expected things to pick up the story just seemed a little flat. The creatures seemed too abstract, (trying too hard to be... Well, I won't spoil the story) that I couldn't relate to them in any sort of way. That said, the artwork is superb. I am unwilling to devote time to reading the novel now I am aware of the big reveal, a slig Just didn't do it for me I'm afraid. I may have only read the graphic novel however I was put off attempting the novel. Such a promising premise and beginning yet when I expected things to pick up the story just seemed a little flat. The creatures seemed too abstract, (trying too hard to be... Well, I won't spoil the story) that I couldn't relate to them in any sort of way. That said, the artwork is superb. I am unwilling to devote time to reading the novel now I am aware of the big reveal, a slightly underwhelming reveal at that.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris Deal

    I mean, what hasn't been said about Lovecraft. A precursor to early King, let's call it literary junk food, but that's not even being fair. Still, not great, no, no, not by a long stretch of the imagination, but so damn fun. This was quickly followed up with The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, which was a rather marvelous romp, right up until that end, because really, that ending completely undercut what came before.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Justin Labelle

    A Nice, well adapted story that tries a little too hard to recreate 'comic art' from the Lovecraft era. While the art is playful and definitely reminiscent of Herge and others mentioned in some of the other reviews, it is surely to the detriment of the story's frightening possibilities. A good but not entirely great graphic adaptation but well suited for the month of October.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    An excellent graphic novel take on Lovecraft's story. For people who've read it and not quite understood what was going on, I think this is a must-read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    Meh. Neat art, poorly adapted writing. Read the original, it's much scarier.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sylvester

    Not a big sci-fi fan, nonetheless, it was interesting. Really excellent graphics, although they probably don't truly depict the horror of the story (fine with me, not fine with Lovecraftians).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Johnny

    Seeing this graphic novel based on H. P. Lovecraft’s bizarre novella, At the Mountains of Madness, the story that Guillermo Del Toro wanted (wants) to make into a feature film, I couldn’t resist. The cold loneliness of Antarctica combined with the dark and eerie mythos of Cthulhu seemed like a marvelous escape from grading papers and studying theology. So, I picked it up at my local public library. The name of the story comes from a line in the story where a rescue party sees the horizon of jagge Seeing this graphic novel based on H. P. Lovecraft’s bizarre novella, At the Mountains of Madness, the story that Guillermo Del Toro wanted (wants) to make into a feature film, I couldn’t resist. The cold loneliness of Antarctica combined with the dark and eerie mythos of Cthulhu seemed like a marvelous escape from grading papers and studying theology. So, I picked it up at my local public library. The name of the story comes from a line in the story where a rescue party sees the horizon of jagged pinnacles which would bear that name: “I could not help feeling that they were evil things—mountains of madness whose farther slopes looked out over some accursed, ultimate abyss.” (p. 58) The story begins, harmlessly enough, with an expedition to this icy wasteland where the discovery of geological formations and ancient markings, according to received knowledge, impossible, split the expedition into those who wished to push forward into the unknown and those who wished to take a safer, more prudent route. Of course, if cooler (and the pun just slipped in there) heads had prevailed, we wouldn’t have had this story of obsession, insanity, and overwhelming evil. If one’s idea of the Cthulhu mythos isn’t already firmly established, consider the results of a dissection on the tentacled bodies found in a mysterious cave. “These creatures were no product of any cell- growth science knows about. Despite an age of maybe forty million years, internal organs are intact.” (p. 47) Now, if that isn’t foreshadowing, I don’t know what is. Naturally, the rabid ferociousness of heretofore well-behaved dogs (for the dog-sleds) when they caught the scent of these things should already have been foreshadowing enough. Amazingly, the expedition finds artifacts of an impossible civilization which even reveals the origin of those ubiquitous “Shoggoth” with which Lovecraft populated his fiction (p. 87). At another point, the exploration brings two of the survivors into contact with a gigantic creature with no apparent eyes: “What need have they for eyes in the perpetual darkness of a sunless sea?” (p. 103) Yet, even though some brave scientists survived, there are some underground locations mentioned in the last eighth of the book which make no sense—until one reaches that last, terrifying page. The artwork makes the best possible use of the murky greens and shadows one would expect in a graphic novel based on Lovecraft’s unsettling visions. But I. N. J. Culbard’s illustrative style does a significantly better job on landscapes and backgrounds than on the characters. Well, he does a better job on landscapes than on the human characters. The inhuman characters are executed with a bold, confident brush appropriate to their unsettling demeanors.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness was one of the earliest stories that today's readers would recognize as modern science fiction. Sure, it's got Cthulhu in it, and tentacles, and it uses "cyclopean" a lot, but it's not about horrific and unknowable alien gods that hold sway over us like The Call of Cthulhu, nor about sorcery and monsters like The Dunwitch Horror. In At the Mountains of Madness, Cthulhu is basically just another alien that settled on Earth with its people, much like th H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness was one of the earliest stories that today's readers would recognize as modern science fiction. Sure, it's got Cthulhu in it, and tentacles, and it uses "cyclopean" a lot, but it's not about horrific and unknowable alien gods that hold sway over us like The Call of Cthulhu, nor about sorcery and monsters like The Dunwitch Horror. In At the Mountains of Madness, Cthulhu is basically just another alien that settled on Earth with its people, much like the Old Ones. The Old Ones are specifically called out as being humanlike:Radiates, vegetables, monstrosities, star-spawn—whatever they had been, they were men!And their history is one of the classic--one might even cliche now--modern sci fi plots. The Old Ones built a great civilization and fought wars against their enemies, but they created a slave race of biological robots to serve them. Over time, the Old Ones fell into decadence, their shoggoth servants attained sapience and staged a rebellion, and after putting it down the Old Ones withdrew to their secret underground lake city, leaving their previous city empty and abandoned, there to be discovered by the Pabodie-Lake expedition. Hilarity ensues. The original story is available online, and if you haven't read it, you should. It's really good, if slow-paced. Most of the story is taken up with the description of the Old Ones' history, and the main horror comes from the idea of deep time and how even a civilization as powerful and advanced as the Old Ones couldn't last forever. Anyway, this isn't about the original. This is about the comic bookgraphic novel version. Though my wife is quite fond of them, I'm not a huge reader of graphic novels. I've read Watchmen and Sandman and...that's about it, really. Nonetheless, we were in our local library's graphic novel section and my wife was looking for something when she saw this on the shelf and, knowing I'm a complete sucker for anything Lovecraftian, snatched it and showed it to me. My first response was- Okay, actually, my first response was "squeeeeeeeeeee!," but my second response was, "How would that even work? It's too slow-paced and reliant on imagination to really be told well in a visual medium!" Was I right? Well, kind of. Whereas in the original short story the majority of the text is taken up describing the Old Ones history, here it's 2/3rds of the way through the book before Danforth and Dyer even see the Old One city. The history of the Old Ones is run through in a dozen pages, and most of the action is given over to a slow build-up of the expedition going to Antarctica, Dyer remembering those passages he read in the Necronomicon back at Miskatonic University, Lake wanting to go exploring and finding the Old One fossils in a cave in the Antarctic interior, the storm blocking communications, and then the discovery at the campsite. I can see what the author was going for--the slow horror, the creeping sense that something is wrong, that there's more out there than the human mind understands or is capable of understanding. Lovecraft himself used that in several of his stories, but At the Mountains of Madness isn't really one of them. It's more a story of discovery and of the insignificance of humanity, a warning about the future, and a bit of hope--after all, "they were men!" I don't think enough time is spent on the history of the Old Ones to really give it the same message that the book had, but I can see why it wasn't done. Like I said, part of the impact is that the reader has to imagine all the scenes that the protagonists are only seeing in the bas reliefs in the Old One city, and drawing everything out would remove that completely. I already thought the drawings we did get were a bit on the prosaic side, which I thought was pretty disappointing. Also, the mi-go were really cute. I don't think that really conveys Lovecraft's image of them properly, even if here they're just another alien race that inexplicably wants to colonize Earth too. Overall, it was okay. It's a quick read and I'm a sucker for new adaptations of Lovecraft, but this just did more to convince me that there's a reason most visual adapations of his stories are terrible, and also that if del Toro ever does get all that money to make his epic At the Mountains of Madness movie, it'll either be awful, or it'll be changed so far from the story that it'll just be another work with something like "inspired by the terrifying Lovecraft original!" written on it and only the vaguest connection to the source material. I didn't hate it, though, and I thought that it did a good job within the limitations of the medium. For someone who hasn't read At the Mountains of Madness or who doesn't love worldbuilding and sociology of alien cultures as much as I do, this may even be a superior version. It's certainly a better work of horror, even if it's not as good a proto-science fiction story, and that is the main association people have with Lovecraft nowadays.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This summer my friends and I discussed authors we didn't feel comfortable openly loving anymore, and while I think Updike did more misogynistic damage to me in the long run, I'd be much more likely to praise him than holler "I REALLY LOVE LOVECRAFT EVEN IF HE WAS A RACIST MISER" in a crowded room. But I do! His writing is so preposterous and his ideas so extreme and insane and someday I'll lead an excellent class discussion on art-vs-artist and whether Lovecraft's racism is a symptom of his time This summer my friends and I discussed authors we didn't feel comfortable openly loving anymore, and while I think Updike did more misogynistic damage to me in the long run, I'd be much more likely to praise him than holler "I REALLY LOVE LOVECRAFT EVEN IF HE WAS A RACIST MISER" in a crowded room. But I do! His writing is so preposterous and his ideas so extreme and insane and someday I'll lead an excellent class discussion on art-vs-artist and whether Lovecraft's racism is a symptom of his times or less problematic considering his misanthropic dismissal of all humans in the COSMIC SCOPE OF OUR TERRIBLE INDIFFERENT UNIVERSE--but that's for another day. I'm EXTREMELY, over-the-moon elated that INJ Culbard's comics exist. They're so much more palatable and understandable than ol' Howie P's bombastic prosody (ha!), and they maybe do more justice to the source material than it deserves. I thought I'd reread the original after finishing this, sighted the length of it, and said hell no, ain't nobody got time for that. Stoked to dive into Kadath next.

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