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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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