Some fans are so hardcore that any attempt to mess with their idea of 'canon' is met not just with resentment, but outright hostility. As an author of Lovecraftian horror, I've experienced that firsthand. So the bad news is that the hardcore fanboys are going to turn their noses up on "Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom". Too bad. The good news is that people who buy this entertaining graphic novel are going to have a fun romp.
This irreverent tale may use the trappings of the Lovecraftian mythos, but at its heart, Bruce Brown's script
successfully dips into a manga sensibility to move things along at a quirky pace with a snarky sense of humor. The plot concerns the young Lovecraft, who looks somewhat like Calvin of "Calvin and Hobbs", as he travels to another dimension where he saves a large beastie (a Cthulhueque type critter named Thu Thu Hmung) who becomes a friend/servant/pet. The creature escorts him to a castle where he is welcomed as a savior for a group of folk seeking to be returned to their paradise home, Ryleh (this is where the hardcore fans are throwing things at the screen). To help save the Ryleh folk he has to defeat the evil Dagon. Without ruining any surprises, I'll say that the plot becomes a bit more Lovecraftian as it edges toward a satisfying climax.
Visually, it's wonderful. Renzo Podesta's artwork is imaginative and moody. His use of sepia and off-beat alien landscapes provide Brown's twisted story and quirky characters an appropriate playground.
Yep, I loved it. Don't expect the sort of horror one associates with Lovecraft, this is more an irreverent tribute. And sure it pleased me, but give me a rubber band and a piece of string, and I'm good for hours. So to be sure, I kidnapped some teenagers and subjected them to Brown and Podesta. They smiled, nodded appreciatively,and commented about theme and story. Seriously. This was a crowd that would be happy losing themselves in "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac" (Jhonen Vasquez) or "Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil" (Loren Bouchard). They chuckled in all the right places and gave appreciative murmurs for the panels that warranted such appreciation.
If you have a teen interested in graphic novels, especially someone who dresses in blacks and stays up too late checking out Adult Swim on The Cartoon Network, then this might be a worthy consideration for a stocking stuffer.