Book Review: Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

meddling_kidsI was pleasantly surprised when I was contacted by Michael Goldsmith of DoubleDay Books requesting a book review of a new Lovecraftian fiction book by author, Edgar Cantero. Oh, I’ve written a few comic book reviews in the past and a book review for International Justice Mission, but that was the extent of my reviewing creds, and, as I said, it was several years ago.  In the end I decided that, hey, why not? I love to read, and I count Lovecraft as one of my biggest writing influences. So much so that I co-wrote the young Howard Lovecraft Trilogy with my good buddy, Bruce Brown, and I have an original Lovecraftian mini-series in the works with brilliant artist, Dave Youkovich.  Not to mention a few Lovecraftian short stories, an adaptation of Lovecraft’s HE for SelfMadeHero, and several unsuccessful pitches I’ve written over the years.

So it was decided.

In the years since Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s life, Lovecraftian fiction has become a popular horror subgenre which stresses cosmic, unknowable terrors and mankind’s hopelessness and helplessness to combat–or even fully comprehend–them. At the core, it is the fear of the unknown that drives the stories in this subgenre, and that is something we can all relate to, whether we are fans of science-fiction, or horror, or neither. It is from this commonality that brilliant screenwriter, Rod Serling (also a big influence on my work), penned some of his most poignant and terrifying episodes of The Twilight Zone. And Serling is only one in a long line of authors who have played upon this instantly relatable theme.

But I digress.

Imagine, if you will, the Scooby-Doo Gang in a Lovecraftian universe. As young people, the gang solved mysteries and unmasked bad guys–they were the heroes–but, during the course of their final caper they inadvertently brushed paths with unspeakable cosmic horror. It is an oppressive evil that haunts their dreams, poisons their lives, and they ultimately became scared, irreparably (?) damaged adults. Ultimately, these fractured adults decide to team up one last time and face the horror head on. This is Meddling Kids.

Does this sound similar to the synopsis of Stephen King‘s It to you? Indeed. Cantero isn’t breaking any new ground here, but what he does is tell an entertaining story that will have you furiously turning pages until you reach the bitter end. And he does so with great panache and skill. Cantero is obviously a master wordsmith who tips his hand every now and then, but never comes off as an exhibitionist. Snappy dialogue, vivid descriptions, quirky characters, and the building sense of dread will keep you enthralled and leave you wanting more. And for fans of Lovecraft’s work, you will find just enough that is familiar, but not so much that it feels overstated or cliché. As I said, this Cantero fellow knows what he is doing.

If this sounds like a fun story to you, you may be a Lovecraft fan. Or, maybe not. I believe that any reader who is merely looking for an entertaining, creepy summer read will find it quite enjoyable as well. Who knows…it may even compel some readers to check out H.P. Lovecraft’s work, and that would be awesome, indeed.

-Dwight

 

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Mark Hamill Added to Cast of Howard Lovecraft & The Undersea Kingdom Film

old-luke-skywalker1

The big news is revealed at last:

“Mark Hamill, the beloved Star Wars actor, is taking a little time out to voice an animated Lovecraft feature. He, along with Jeffrey Combs (Transformers Prime), Christopher Plummer and Doug Bradley (Hellraiser) have been set for the voice cast in the upcoming animated feature Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom from Shout! Factory and Arcana Studios. Written, directed and produced by Sean Patrick O’Reilly, the film is the adaption of Bruce Brown and Dwight L. MacPherson’s bestselling graphic novel of the same name, and marks the second installment of Howard Lovecraft animated film series. It is scheduled to be released in late 2017.”

Read the rest of the press release here: http://deadline.com/2017/01/mark-hamill-christopher-plummer-jeffrey-combs-animated-feature-film-howard-lovecraft-undersea-kingdom-1201888749/

More press:

DREAD CENTRAL 

A.V. CLUB

UPROXX

-Dwight

Hocus Pocus Comics…Here We Come!

ivoeap_issue_2
Cover by Mark Harmon (http://www.markharmonillustration.com/)

Rebecca MacPherson                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

12/01/2016

Hocus Pocus Comics

http://www.hpcomics.net

http://www.patreon.com/hpcomics

http://www.twitter.com/hpcomics_

 Hocus Pocus Comics Launches With Edgar Allan Poe and Houdini Comics

The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe marks debut for innovative digital media publishing company

Lakeland, FL:  Start-Up Comic Publishers Hocus Pocus Comics will release their dynamic debut comic, The Imaginary Voyages of  Edgar Allan Poe, and their website, hpcomics.net, on January 1st, 2017. This begins their first wave of properties to be sold on ComiXology, with the publishers releasing four additional titles throughout 2017.

The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe is a rebranding of the Harvey and Eagle Award-nominated Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo created by Hocus Pocus Comics’ founder, Dwight L. MacPherson. The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe offers a twisted glimpse into the dream-life of America’s greatest fantasist, Edgar Allan Poe, in the darkest time of his life. Book 1 will be reprinted as Book 1, Issues 1-4 (with an exclusive cover by David Hartman, Rob Zombie album cover artist and producer of Phantasm: Ravager). Book 2 will feature an updated script and all-new art by Luis Czerniawski (Transformers: Evolutions, Kolchak the Nightstalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe) and Book 3 is a brand-new story that will finally complete MacPherson’s magnum opus. As he says, “Many readers have asked me what happened to Book 3, as they loved the characters and story. I’ve often joked that it’s a ‘lost book.’ Well, the time is right to finally complete this epic, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this ‘lost book’ with the world!”

Hocus Pocus Comics’ second title, Houdini’s Silver Dollar Misfits, is described by MacPherson as “Harry Potter meets Gravity Falls.” The first issue will be released this spring, and it will feature  a cover by David Hartman and interior art by Mathieu Benoit (Jim Reaper: Week One, Lil’ Hellions: A Day at the Zoo).

Speaking on Hocus Pocus Comics’ mission, MacPherson says, “I believe that telling incredible stories is fundamental to a successful publishing company. There are many publishers pumping out a whole lot of mediocre properties, but we would rather take our time, stay small, and produce 3-4 extremely well-written, beautifully-illustrated books per year that will stick with readers long after they finish reading. We believe that good stories are magical, and we will do everything in our power to conjure some truly unforgettable magic.”  To that end, MacPherson has put together several stellar teams working on books of several different genres. Hocus Pocus Comics’ motto is Imaginatio est Magicae (Imagination is Magic). Their goal is to create the future’s myths and legends, one comic at a time.

Meet our Team!

 President and Publisher: Dwight L. MacPherson

Comic creator, writer, and editor Dwight L. MacPherson has been one of the most prolific writing professionals for more than 10 years. A longtime advocate of webcomics and digital media, his steampunk webcomic, Sidewise (DC Comics), won the June 2009 Zuda competition. He has also seen his creator-owned properties published by Image Comics, IDW Publishing, and many others. For more information: https://dwightmacpherson.wordpress.com

Editor-in-Chief: Amy H. Sturgis

Amy H. Sturgis holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Vanderbilt University, teaches at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and specializes in Science Fiction/Fantasy and Native American Studies. The author of four books and over fifty essays, and the editor of six books, Sturgis has won awards for her scholarship (The Imperishable Flame Award for J.R.R. Tolkien Scholarship), journalism (Best Magazine Review/Criticism/Column Award from the Los Angeles Press Club), and podcasting (The Sofanaut Award from listeners of the Hugo Award-winning StarShipSofa). For more information: http://www.amyhsturgis.com

Creative Director: Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown is the creator and writer of Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, now a motion picture. He is also the co-writer (with Dwight L. MacPherson) of Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom, which is now in pre-production.  Several of Brown’s properties have been published by Image Comics and Arcana Comics. He has multiple properties currently in production as well as a spin-off to the wildly successful Howard Lovecraft series.

Production Manager: J.M. Bryan M. Bryan is a writer and designer. He has an Associates in the Arts degree from Jackson College and a Bachelor of Theology w/minor in Language from Michigan Baptist Seminary. He spends his days with his wife and two children and his nights pouring his imagination onto paper. He is currently writing two comic series.

Vice President, Administration: Rebecca MacPherson

Rebecca MacPherson has over seven years of TV/Film and Theatre Production experience from her tenure at both Tribune Studios and Fox Studios. An NAACP Award for Best Local Producer nominee for the Los Angeles production of Stage Directions, she worked with Academy Award actor, Denzel Washington, as Production Secretary on his directorial debut, Antwone Fisher for Fox Searchlight Films.

For more information on Hocus Pocus Comics, please contact: info.hpcomics@gmail.com

 

 

Cuddly Cthulhu: The Guardian UK Reviews Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom

Great news in our inbox this morning! David Barnett of the Guardian UK gives Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom a glowing review! And we’ve been alerted that there may be a Howard Lovecraft sighting in The Independent this weekend, so we’ll certainly keep our eyes peeled.

In the meantime, please be sure to pre-order your copies and thanks again for your support!

Rebecca

Speaking With a Man of Rohan

Special thanks to actor and MC extraordinaire Bruce Hopkins for the wonderful radio interview on his RadioLive show!

You would probably know Bruce best for his role as Gamling in The Lord of the Rings films. As a complete Tolkien nerd, I must confess that the most difficult part of the interview was restraining myself from geeking out because I was speaking with a valiant Man of Rohan! (Don’t judge me.)

Bruce, I’m pleased for the opportunity to speak with one of Rebecca’s dear friends, and it was a pleasure chatting with you. I truly appreciate it. Cheers!

Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom

The advance reviews have been flying in, and they have been fabulous. In case you missed them, I have posted a few select links below:

Comics Worth Reading

Blog Critics

CBR’s Robot6

Chicago Comic Vault

The Outhousers

Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom will be released in March, but if you simply cannot wait to get your tentacles on it–or you prefer digital comics–it is also available for download at ComiXology.

It’s not too late to pre-order your copies from your local comic, book, and online dealers. Bruce Brown and I would love to make a third book, but, as with all indie comics, we are completely dependent upon you: the dear reader. So please pre-order your copies today and recommend the book to friends, family, and enemies (hey, why not?) so we can continue to chronicle the weird adventures of Howard and Spot. Oh, and Beastie, too.

-D

The Horror! The Horror!

Firstly, a big thank you to my lovely wife Rebecca for posting in my absence. She is such an amazing woman! I am truly blessed to have her. I hope you’ve enjoyed her warm and personal perspective.

Secondly, I am happy and proud (and a bit relieved) to announce that I have finished writing my first YA novel, and, to be quite honest, I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written! I cannot wait to share it with you.

So… the manuscript has been sent to my agent, and I am seated at my desk in the dungeon finally writing an update for my blog and beginning to put my thoughts onto paper for the second book. I have the story plotted in my head, so it’s just a matter of typing it out. That’s an “epic win,” as my 15-year-old son would say.

All I can say about the novel thus far is that it is primarily a work of dark fantasy. And if you are not necessarily a fan of dark fiction, fear not, I can assure you that you will still find something to like about the book.

I’ve learned quite a bit during the undertaking, and I will be sharing my thoughts about the entire process in future blog posts. I think you’ll find them quite interesting, informative–and perhaps even mildly entertaining.

As you know by now, I’ll pull no punches.

Pre-Order Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom NOW

Thirdly, I am happy to announce that Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom is now available for pre-order in the US and the UK! I co-wrote this book with my good friend Bruce Brown, and I think you will agree that I have brought my considerable knowledge of all-things-Lovecraft to bear. This exciting second volume greatly expands young Howard’s world, building upon what Bruce has established in the first book.

This second installment in the Howard Lovecraft series also includes a foreword by personal friend and author of the New York Times Bestselling Immortal Nicholas Flamel series: Michael Scott! How cool is that?!

Amazon seems to have jumbled the synopsis, so here is the cover by superstar artist Erik Fokkens and the correct text as it was given to our publisher:

Howard Lovecraft is back in a new tentacled tale of terror! At last, the sequel to the critically-acclaimed Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom which the Chicago Tribune called a “sumptuously illustrated, cleverly written and deeply haunting novel.” Join Howard as he travels to the planet Yuggoth, where he must face an all-powerful god and an army of monsters to rescue his family and Spot before he becomes a mindless Fishman. All he has to do is surrender his dad’s Book… which would result in the destruction of all mankind.

End Notes

That’s all that I can share at the moment, but I will be sharing my “Novel Concept” blog posts after the holiday. And, speaking of the holiday, be sure to tell your loved ones just how thankful you are to have them in your life. You are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Warm Regards,
Dwight

Blog Exclusive: Another Awesome Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom Teaser

Happy Friday, my dear friends! I hope you have a productive, safe, and sane work day.

This concludes one of the most insane writing weeks I’ve had in quite some time, so this will be a short note. The good news: the week flew by.

Totally unrelated, but has ANYONE actually been able to complete the e-mail submission process on J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore site?! My… uh… my sons were wondering.

Moving right along, I wanted to share another fabulous Howard Lovecraft teaser with you, so here goes…

Art by Thomas Boatwright

TOMORROW: Rebecca will post a short entry that you DO NOT WANT TO MISS, so please be sure to check back after 9AM EST. And, as always, thank you for reading, and feel free to comment and share this exciting teaser!

Cheers,
D

Blog Exclusive: Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom Sneak Peek #2

As many of you know, the sequel to the critically-acclaimed Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, written by yours truly and fellow scribe and best friend Bruce Brown, is well into production.

Well, I’m delighted to say that the rendering stage is nearing completion. Only one chapter of sequentials remains to be illustrated, and then the book will be lettered. After that, it’s off to the publisher for solicitation and printing.

In short, we anticipate wrapping up production on Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom by the middle of June!

After the completed files are sent to the publisher, I will ask a large favor of YOU.

But I mustn’t get ahead of myself.

Show Me The Art

As you may have guessed, this book reunites the creative team behind the Harvey and Eagle Award nominated The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo Book 1. Yes, indeed. Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom is illustrated by none other than the sensational Thomas Boatwright!

Back to Work

I apologize for the short blog update, but I have a looming deadline. Words must be transformed, and snipped, and replaced. And still others must be completely obliterated.

But fear not, I have my wand at the ready and I am more than prepared for the challenge.

So thank you for reading, and please feel free to share!

Download Your Free Comic!

Sounds like the subject line of a spam e-mail, but I’m going with it. And I promise to say nothing of Viagra (get your free sample here).

Anyway, as a special “thank you for reading” gift, I have decided to make a PDF copy of my horror anthology Dwight L. MacPherson’s Basement of Horror available to YOU, dear reader, absolutely free. But only for seven days.

If you do not download the book within that time… You. Will. Die.

Well, not really, but the link will cease to exist. So, in a sense, the link will die, right? (Work with me.)

Warning: This book contains disturbing imagery. Recommended for adult viewers.

You have been warned!

DOWNLOAD BASEMENT OF HORROR HERE!

America: Land of the Free, Home of the… Illiterate?

I read a disturbing bit of information on the Mental_floss blog today. Check this out:

• One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.

• 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.

• 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.

• 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

• 57 percent of new books are not read to completion.

I don’t know about you, but I find these numbers staggering. Looking at them makes me irritable and downright furious.

It would be easy for parents to blame educators, our culture, or the entertainment industry. But the real blame lies directly–and wholly–upon us: the parents.

Listen up, parents! The chances of your children becoming habitual readers is greatly increased if introduced (yes, you reading to them) in infancy, rewarded in youth, and strongly encouraged throughout early adulthood. So get off the internet, put down the video game controls, step away from your 3-D TVs and your busy little lives and pay attention! You are failing your children.

But you have the power. Make reading a priority in your home. And let them see you reading, too! Set the example. Limit video game, television and internet time (for them AND you). Create a “Reading Time” in your home where reading–and only reading–is the acceptable activity. Make it rewarding for younger readers (i.e. read a book and get a new one, an ice cream cone per book, etc). There’s nothing wrong with a little positive reinforcement–unless it’s your 15-year-old who expects an ice cream cone in exchange for reading a book. (My 15-year-old just read this and said “Dad, I don’t expect an ice cream cone!” I responded “Exactly.”)

Oh, and if your children are already teens, that’s no reason not to try. Buy your son or daughter a new book for their birthday or Christmas. Meet up regularly at a bookstore or library. Try. You may be surprised with the results.

CUT!

As you can see, I could post a long diatribe on this subject (I may already have). Literacy is a topic that I feel extremely passionate about. And I’m even more passionate about a parent’s (oftentimes neglected) role in literacy.

Deep breaths…

Signing Off

I need to get back to work, so I’ll say so long for now. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy Basement of Horror!