This collection from Arcana isn’t new material. Rather it is the collection, or trilogy if you will, of all three Howard books; Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom and Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness. For those not aware of the premise, the Howard series is the brain child of writer Bruce Brown. It presents the iconic world created by HP Lovecraft as experienced by a young Howard Lovecraft.
As a reviewer, I have mixed feelings about this. I will fully admit that I am a fan of the works of HP Lovecraft. By having the story told from the view of a young boy and aimed at a younger audience, you lose a lot of the Lovecraftian horror aspect of the story. It isn’t the creatures that make the Lovecraft world special, it’s his brand of horror. When you strip that away, you are losing the soul of Lovecraft’s work. But on the other hand, if you don’t introduce these stories and this world to the younger generation, how does it live on? What better way to reach the kids than with a story where one of their own is the protagonist and with panels full of rich color?
As a new father, I think I will focus on the aspect that I will be able to read this book as a story to my daughter to introduce her slowly what I like. I think that is the mark of a good father…right? Looking at the collection from that aspect, It is a good read. The story tells the story of young Howard Lovecraft entering a mystical world introduced to him by his father. Without being patronizing or corny, Bruce Brown brings the story to life. The art is a bit different for each of the three books and the styles range from more childish to more dark. They all have their pros and cons.
I didn’t love the book overall, but I did enjoy reading it. I have a feeling that you’ll feel the same. It’s a fun time reading the once through, but I’m not sure there’s enough to the stories to make me go back to re-read….that is until my daughter is old enough to have me read stories to her.