“Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse.” — Japanese proverb
There’s something deeply mysterious about lighthouses. Part of it is the setting. They’re generally located in areas remote from town centers: up atop rocky cliffs, down windy roads, and on desolate islands — some occupied by prisoners. Their very nature recalls darkness, chilliness, and desolation. It’s no wonder that there are more than a few people who are convinced that more than a few of them are haunted.
Today’s webcomic review deals with a girl who must keep the fires burning at her lighthouse … only it’s not only the encroaching darkness she must keep at bay. In The Watcher of Yaathagggu by Robyn Seale, there are horrors that live beyond the fading edges of the lighthouse beacon lights.
“The end is near. I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. It shall not find me. God, that hand! The window! The window!” — H. P. Lovecraft
I’ve got a confession to make. By an large, I am not that huge a fan of H.P. Lovecraft. I can count the short stories I’ve read on one hand: “Dagon,” “The Statement of Randolph Carter,” and parts of “Call of Cthulhu” (which I tried to reread before writing this review). I also generally liked the movie Dagon, which was apparently based on a different short story entitled “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” (Dagon was probably deemed the catchier title by studio execs.)
However, I understand why there are plenty of Lovecraft admirers, whose ranks include Neil Gaiman, Benecio Del Toro, Stephen King, and the members of Metallica. The horror imagery is creative, enduring, and highly influential. Movies like Alien, comics like Hellboy, and games like Halo 3 are covered with Lovecraft’s fingerprints. No wonder the internet’s in love with him. Google “Cthulhu,” Lovecraft’s infamous deity with the “pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque scaly body with rudimentary wings”, and you get 4.3 million results. Meanwhile, “Leopold Bloom” only gets you 88,900 results. Take that, Joyceans!
Still, I’m man enough to admit that I’m a relative newcomer to the Lovecraft mythos. Yet, here I am, reviewing Larry Latham’s Lovecraft Is Missing. Maybe I’m not the right guy, stripped as I am of any Trekkie-like obsessive knowledge of the Lovecraft mythos. But the new Star Trek movie thrilled both hardcore Trekkies and newcomers alike. Dare I hope against all hopes that Lovecraft Is Missing provides a gateway to the world of eldritch horrors for the uninitiated? (Incidentally, the phrase “eldritch horrors” will pop up multiple times in this review. It’s sort of required when you’re writing something about Lovecraft.)