A meeting of mythoses worth investigating
By Eleanor Sciolistein
Frankenstein meets The Wolfman, Batman vs Superman, even, god help us, Alien vs Predator…
As a general rule, any time fictional characters or storylines that have monolithic status within their own mythic universes collide, the resulting mess is less than the sum of its parts. There are of course exceptions, but when first faced with the prospect of a graphic novel that has H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror bleeding into with the foggy Victorian Gothic of Sherlock Holmes, I can’t say that I was overly optimistic. In this case however, I was pleasantly surprised.
Considering that the roots of the Holmes character lie firmly within the horror genre (look up E.T.A. Hoffman or Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you won’t regret it) that Conan Doyle had a well publicised fascination with the esoteric and occult and that The Hound of the Baskervilles might as well be classed as a horror outright, it is hardly surprising to find later authors working with the Holmes character allowing the super sleuth to explore horror more explicitly.
Indeed in Sherlock Holmes and The Necronomicon the famed detective is only just recovering from the supernatural forces he encountered in the previous volume in this series, in which he encounters the Vampire Selymes. The plot here involves Holmes making an artic expedition and tracing the emergence of a great evil back to his native London, where, alongside Lovecraft’s infamous fictional grimoire, he finds a haunting spectre from his own past in the shape of his supposedly vanquished arch nemesis.
Whilst purist fans of either Holmes or Lovecraft’s creations may scoff or protest that neither element is fully realised in this portrayal, I would argue that the imaginative scripting by Sylvain Cordurié gives enough elbow room to each mythos to allow them to co-exisit comfortably within a tightly plotted and highly entertaining horror adventure
This is to say nothing of the artwork. Filled as it is with close detail, dynamic action and beautifully rendered settings, featuring superb attention to architectural detail and the sense of mood it can convey, Laci’s work is, as always, superlative and worth the price of the graphic novel on its own. As is, the artwork helps to elevate what is already an above average slice of franchise enlarging horror, into something definitely worth investigating.