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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HP Comics is Kicking Booty!

review_kindle

What a morning! Woke up to an email from one of my favorite writers, Kurt Busiek, saying The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #1 is “quirky and magical, a pell-mell adventure into nightmare, and I’m not afraid to say so!” I’ve been a fan of Kurt’s work since the ’80s, and Rebecca’s become a fan of his work though the most excellent Astro City, so this really made our day!

And then…

We found out a graphic novel illustrated by our artist for The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe, Luis Czerniawski, won a Bram Stoker Award! (Congratulations, James Chambers!)

And then…

We found out we’d received a glowing review of The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #1 on Amazon!

If you haven’t purchased your copy of The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #1 yet, you can download it on KINDLE or COMIXOLOGY!

So I think it’s fair to say our weekend is going pretty well. Hope yours is, too!

-Dwight

 

A New Original Short Story To Tickle Your Lovecraftian Fancy


My good friend and writing mentor (yes, Amy, you are!) Dr. Amy H. Sturgis is featuring a never before seen short story written by Dwight on her blog today!

I know I tend to brag on my talented husband somewhat, and I will continue to do this, but he truly is prolific. He is always writing something or thinking about writing something. And new ideas even come to him when he’s in the middle of writing something entirely different!

Clue: This story has nothing whatsoever to do with Sweeney Todd. I just like the illustration.

When Dwight showed me this twisted little tale, I immediately thought of Amy and her amazing group of Lovecraft fans. The thing about Howard Lovecraft: you either like him or you don’t. Despite the massive amount of stories he produced in his career, he is still not respected as much as he should be for his contributions to literature, and I think that is a shame.

But that is my two cents worth. Enjoy the story!

WARNING: MAY CAUSE A SUDDEN LOSS OF SANITY. CLICK HERE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Rebecca

Ye Olde Lovecraftian Pyrate Contest

I’m sorry, but Disney’s Davy Jones is no Cthulhu.

As you know, I am a fan of Lovecraft and pirates, so here’s what I propose…

The Contest!

Writers: Tell a short horror tale which incorporates pirates and Lovecraftian horror/the Cthulhu Mythos. The word count should be 1000 to 2500 words, and all entries submitted in rich text/Word format.

Artists: Create an illustration which incorporates pirates and Lovecraftian horror. Please send submissions as either lo-res gifs or jpegs. I may ask for a hi-res image at some point in the future.

All entries must be sent to dwightmacpherson at gmail dot com no later than midnight (EST) on JULY THIRTIETH.

The Booty!

One writer and one artist (selected by a team of shoggoth judges, Blackbeard’s cursed zombie and yours truly) will win an autographed copy of the DEAD MEN: DECIMATION original graphic novel, the highly-anticipated sequel to DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES.

So get writing and drawing, mateys–and good luck!

Oh, and most importantly…

HAVE FUN WITH IT!