It wouldn’t be surprising if the world is doomed and we’re all under the spell of Cthulhu, because it’s clear H.P. Lovecraft’s most iconic beast has become a full-on phenomenon. He’s the scourge of Kickstarter, his projects as ubiquitous as Richard Simmons in the 1990′s, except it’s a good thing. Cthulhu rocks, and it’s wonderful to see all the creative endeavors the Lovecraft nuts have undertaken. One such project is LITTLEST LOVECRAFT: THE CALL OF CTHULHU, an illustrated children’s book, turning one of Lovecraft’s most horrifying stories into a bed-time story. The eBook ($3.95) and hardcover book ($19.95) are now available, and can be ordered today at Littlest Lovecraft.
Nothing here will give your kids nightmares, because it’s likely going to be over the head of more than a few children during a bed time story. Hell, for some of the narrative I was confused as to who exactly was telling the story. LITTLEST LOVECRAFT, a loving book crafted by author Tro Rex and artist Eyona Bella, goes pretty in-depth, especially for a children’s story.
The opening is wonderful: “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is that mere mortal minds just cannot comprehend. We were not meant to fathom the vastness of time, or the reach of the cosmos, or Things without end.” Of course, most mere mortal childrens’ minds won’t be able to comprehend that. But a lot of that is part of the fun, as they will be just as enthralled by the mysterious goings on and nonsensical words as you were when you first read Lovecraft’s tale. What better way to put them to sleep than introduce them to a new, fun language? I can only imagine how funny it’d be [Insert your YouTube videos here] to witness a kid struggling with faves like Cthulhu, fhtagn, R’lyeh, etc.
There’s also plenty of fun stuff to marvel at on the visual front. The artwork is simplistic and clean for the most part, but shines when we get to see Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian beasts, symbols, and machinations (Necronomicon!). For a taste, check out their gallery.
Of course, you’ll want something that is interesting to read as well, and LITTLEST LOVECRAFT is decidedly interesting. It has a story within a story (or several) and that swell Gothic fiction vibe reminiscent of Lovecraft’s works. The book follows Professor Angell, who’s confronted with Henry A. Wilcox’s faltering sanity in the face of receiving a clay bas relief of Cthulhu as well as other manuscripts and documents from the Cthulhu cult. Angell becomes mesmerized by the crazed dreams and wild eyes of Wilcox, hooked on the contents of Wilcox’s dreams. He seeks more information about these supernatural goings on, unable to shake the portents of knowledge and doom. The narration shifts and broadens, as a strange statue is found submerged in the murky depths of a New Orleans swamp, and Inspector Legrasse and Professor Webb investigate its meaning. The whole story comes from the journal of Francis Wayland Thurston, as he uncovers all of these various threads following his grand-uncle’s death, and is the latest to become ensnared in Cthulhu’s cult.
The book does a wonderful job of tackling the Lovecraft mythos, the religion and cult of the Old Ones, and how devastating such knowledge can be to us puny humans. It’s an absolute treasure to see the mythos brought to life for a younger audience.