The Shadow out of Time
H. P. Lovecraft & I. N. J. Culbard
London, SelfMadeHero, 2013
There are an increasing number of classics being adapted to graphic novels recently. In my library, I have graphic versions of Dickens and Shakespeare. For reluctant readers, graphic novels are a more accessible route into stories, through use of illustrations and short pockets of text.
The Shadow out of Time is a rather complicated novel, and this graphic adaptation continues to use the complex terminology of the original. When Professor Peaslee loses five years of his life, he struggles to piece together the facts amidst terrifying nightmares. He learns of a mysterious race older than man, who draw from human experience to create a library full of the secrets of the universe.
It is a dark, mysterious story. I found it confusing in places - I couldn't make sense of the strange fantastical beings Peaslee uncovers. Lovecraft is a master of the weird, and this story spans great passages of time and space. Peaslee is a engaging protagonist, suffering through horrendous nightmares, determined to understand what has happened to him, travelling across the world to gain the knowledge he so desires. But he remains surprisingly lucid, eager to do what is best for his son, in spite of his overwhelming psychological trauma.
The art work in this graphic novel are incredible, particularly the scenes towards the finale that take place at night. It is incredible that Culbard is able to illustrate the drama of the situation using dark blues and blacks. On some pages, I had to look incredibly closely to see the detail.
This is not the sort of graphic novel you might give to a reluctant reader, as the language and story are so complicated. But for a lover of fantasy, regardless of age, this is a beautiful piece of art and literature.