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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Emmy Nominated Director David Hartman Joins Hocus Pocus Comics!

Emmy Award nominated Director, David Hartman (Transformers Prime, Phantasm 5: Ravager), has joined the collective publishing group, Hocus Pocus Comics, as Production Consultant. In his new role, Hartman will advise and consult MacPherson on all of Hocus Pocus Comics’ projects as well as the TV/Film/Animation licensing and option deals for the comic publishing company. David and Dwight L. MacPherson, Founder and President of Hocus Pocus Comics, have been friends for more than 10 years, and MacPherson is thrilled to have his friend onboard in this important capacity.  They look forward to developing HP Comics’ properties together in the future.

David Hartman is a 19-year veteran of television animation, the multi-talented Hartman has worked as an Emmy Award-nominated director, producer, illustrator and character designer throughout his career. Hartman’s directorial credits include the live-action horror film  “PHANTASM 5: RAVAGER” and animated series “TRANSFORMERS PRIME”, “My Friends Tigger & Pooh”, “Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles”, “Astro Boy”, “Jackie Chan Adventures”, “Godzilla” and many more. Additionally, Hartman directed two animated music videos for rock musician Rob Zombie. Hartman’s other credits include visual effects supervisor for the cult film “Bubba Ho-Tep”, animator and vfx artist for “John Dies at the End” and production consultant for Showtime’s “Masters of Horror” series. In addition to his television animation work, Hartman is an award winning illustrator whose artwork graces numerous comic books, magazines and music albums covers. For more information on David Hartman: www.sideshowmonkey.com.

On Hocus Pocus Comics’ mission, MacPherson says, “I believe that telling incredible stories is fundamental to a successful publishing company. 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 projects 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. For more information on HP Comics: www.hpcomics.net.

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