March 15, 2015

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Fall of Cthulhu Omnibus by Michael Alan Nelson and Others


Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Illustrated by Various Artists
Published by Boom! Studios

One of the very first books I picked up when I branched out from manga to American comics oh so long ago was Fall of Cthulhu, with issues 0 and 1. I had fairly recently discovered Lovecraft, and knew quite a bit about the Mythos at the time, but had yet to find a story that really satisfied me (this was, of course, well before I learned about the more disgusting aspects of Lovecraft’s person, which tinted everything else I read from him a sour color).

I followed this story from the beginning, waiting impatiently for the next chapter every month (which prompted my LCS to carry more Boom! Studios titles), and playing along as the story changed from an excellent and spooky example of Lovecraftian horror to yet another Cthulhu flavored apocalyptic action sequence. I stuck with it to the end, at times more out of a sense of loyalty, but always because I simply wanted to know what happened in the end. I was super excited when I got to meet Michael Alan Nelson at C2E2 2014 (I didn’t even know he was there!) where I learned about this omnibus edition about a year before it came out.

The book itself is fairly straightforward – an omnibus to replace the six digest sized volumes that made up the series before. It collects nothing extra, just the story, and is presented in a less than amazing manner. The book is clearly an item created for convenience rather than for collectors. And convenient it is, being an excellent way to lend out the book and to return to the story in its full sized glory.


It was quite interesting, though, to reread Fall of Cthulhu after however many years of collecting and studying both the medium and the genre. The first two arcs are as excellent as I recall (though significantly less scary), though I became less enthused as the series goes on (especially with the final arc, Nemesis, which tells the back story of Mr. Arkham’s mysterious cat). The art, however, could easily be a deal breaker to someone who was not previously invested in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the work on the first arc, which was creepy and atmospheric, but a variety of artists worked on this book, and it seems that quite a large amount of them were rather unaccustomed to drawing horror (especially the Lovecraftian kind, which focuses so much on what you can’t understand, much less express visually).

There is quite a bit of back knowledge of the Mythos required to fully appreciate some aspects of the book as well, and I found myself occasionally having to look up some gods and creatures to refresh my memory. Ultimately, if you enjoy your comics with a somewhat unique Lovecraftian tinge, then this is an excellent book for you. If you are not familiar with the Mythos, though, Fall of Cthulhu is not a good place to start.