Thursday, November 5, 2009

Modern Tales of Monsters

Cthulhu Tales: The Whisper of Madness-Waid-Niles

Plot Synopsis:
Essentially this graphic novel is a combination of horrific tales that blends the Lovecraftian Monster "Cthulu" into modern day environments. The eleven stories here tackle everything from Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, religion, alcoholism, murder (of course), and a VERY disturbing passenger cruise. The opening story sets the tone as a disturbed blind stranger visits a small town and soon children turn up dead, the stranger commits a horrifically violent act on himself, and visions of monsters begin to appear for our main character Father Martin Blair. We are then taken on a bizarre mystery in "The Hiding Place" and "Alimentery, My Dear Cthulhu", which features a three-eyed detective and a woman fornicating with some kind of lobster monster (seriously, I am not making this up). So a bit of everything in this one, it certainly kept me on my toes.

Quality: I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of horror movies and Stephen King novels. Also this is great reading for people who have always wanted to see a story that involves an under-performing baseball team, an obsessive fan, and a 200ft demon from another dimension (all are featured in Exactly the Right Word). I can't say I am a huge fan of this graphic novel format generally, as often the writing pales in comparison to the illustrations. But in the case of "Cthulhu Tales" all of the stories have a great sense of urgency, and all of a sudden I want to read more of these disturbingly insane stories. Writers such as Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) really ramp up the tension, and there were not many moments of cheesiness to be had in this excellent compilation of terror.

Highlights: I particularly liked the stories set in the present day, such as "Katrina", "On the Wagon", and "The Cruise of Cthulhu". These stories really expanded on the imagery of H.P.Lovecraft , while bringing the disturbing monsters and visions into a contemporary light. Also check out "On the Wagon", which is disturbing riff on an alcoholic intervention that goes very wrong. If this kind of horrific storytelling is up you alley, I would also highly recommend "Tales of HP Lovecraft" which I read a couple of years back, as it gives a good range of his work while demonstrating excellent storytelling.

For more on Lovecraft, watch this

Blogged by Stuart Millar


Donna N said...


Your book sounds very different and very interesting all in the same. I am not much for graphic novels either but your blog does peak my curiosity. It also sounds like there was a lot of variety in your book.


Anne said...

Ooo, this seems like a very odd book! Everyone has different taste in literature so this may just do the trick in getting some certian students involved in the love of literature. I do agree with you and Donna that I do not really get into the whole graphic novel craze.
The youtube video: I must admit I became very bored and did not watch the whole thing. I was just staring at the picture...Not sure this would be the most beneficial additional to your review. Sorry!!

Stuart Millar said...

Good call Anne, I changed it :)

Caitlin Strandquist said...

This book sounds awesome! I love stuff like this, and even your posting of the cover( looks totally amazing,) is helpful. Thanks for giving an accurate review - I am a huge Lovecraft fan and would like to see some creative alternatives to his ideas. Interesting that this is YA lit, though...

Tom Philion said...

Thanks Stu--wow, what a different sort of story. one thing I find very interesting about YAL is that the authors often dig into very obscure and unknown material, and then spin it in a very interesting, creative way. Amy M's novel about the concentration camp, based on a true story, is another good example of this.

I like your review a lot--do you think you could actually embed your video in your post? (go to youtube and copy and paste the code for "embedding" the video directly in your blog).

Take care,

hutting said...

Stuart you must like the strange stories. I read this one and your madman review. You seem to like the extremely odd storylines? What made you pick this book off the list?

Stu1980 said...

I am drawn to bizarre story lines. It is often easier to write about something unconventional. Also I had read Lovecraft before and liked his style.