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Hitting stores this January from Arcana, the original graphic novel Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom takes a very different look at the Cthulhu mythos. As part of this week's Frontier Frights festivities at BF we chat with writer Bruce Brown about his all-ages take on the world of H.P. Lovecraft.

BROKEN FRONTIER: As an opener can you tell us about the central premise of Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom? And what’s the format for the comic?

BRUCE BROWN: Basically, the premise of the story is this. After visiting his father in Butler Sanitarium, young Howard Lovecraft ignores his father's warning and uses the legendary Necronomicon to open a portal to a strange, frozen world filled with horrifying creatures and grave danger. Alone and scared, Howard befriends a hideous creature he names Spot who takes him to the castle of the king where he is captured and sentenced to death.

The book is coming out in an original graphic novel.

BF: How did the book end up at Arcana and can you fill us in a little about your career in the world of comics to date?

BB: I had worked with Arcana on another book, so I was familiar with the publisher. I basically pitched the property to them and the publisher loved it. I credit Sean O’Reilly with recognizing this as an extremely unique property.

Before Howard Lovecraft & the Frozen Kingdom, I had co-written a book with Dwight L. Macpherson called M-Theory from Shadowline, Image. I also have another book coming out from Arcana called Jack & the Zombie Box. Up until then, I’ve had several short stories published in a few anthologies. To date, this is my first book out, solely written by me.

BF: An "all-ages" take on Lovecraft is quite a departure from the norm. What inspired this approach to the great man’s works?

BB: I was asked to co-write a Lovecraftian script with Dwight L. MacPherson a couple years back. He asked me if I was familiar with Lovecraft’s work. I had to confess I wasn’t. Before I could begin work on that script, I basically had to take a crash course in Lovecraft’s work. I quickly realized why he is considered the Edgar Allan Poe of our time.

Whenever I find an author whose work intrigues me, I become interested in the author behind the words. The more I read Lovecraft’s work, the more interested I became in Lovecraft himself. For example, when he was a child, Lovecraft’s father suffered a complete psychological breakdown. As a comic book writer, I immediately thought of Bruce Wayne (a.k.a. Batman). I wondered what kind of impact would that have on a very young, bright child.

That thought stuck with me and eventually I wrote a short story for a horror anthology with Arcana called Velvet Rope. In my story, a young H.P. Lovecraft is present when his father suffers a complete breakdown. Now, in reality, he was not present when that happened, but the "what if" intrigued me. After that story was finished, I could not let go of the character of a young H.P. Lovecraft. So, from there, this story was born.

BF: Who do you see as your core audience for the book? Would Call of Cthulhu meets Where the Wild Things Are be a fair soundbite to describe it?

BB: That’s actually an outstanding soundbite! I would say that this is truly an all ages book in many ways. Lovecraft fans will thoroughly enjoy this unique take on Lovecraft.

Non-Lovecraft fans will find this the perfect introduction to this master of horror’s work. However, even if you completely remove Lovecraft from the picture; this is simply a wonderful story, filled with fantasy and suspense. There’s basically a little something for everyone in this book.

BF: Have you always been a big fan of the Lovecraft mythos? Why do you think his writing has both inspired and terrified its readers to such a degree?

BB: I didn’t start reading Lovecraft until about two years ago. But, I quickly became a fan to say the least.

I think the thing that grips me the most about his writing is that he understood one major thing; when a reader is faced with the unknown, the mind will go to far more terrifying places than any written word could take them.

BF: For the more knowledgeable Lovecraft fan Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom is full of Easter Egg moments – from the many references back to past stories to the historical elements like Howard being something of a prodigy and his father’s insanity. How much fun was it cramming the book full of these nods to the Lovecraftian "bigger picture"?

BB: This book is definitely filled with Easter Egg moments for the fans of Lovecraft! It was incredibly fun weaving in little elements of Lovecraft’s real life alongside Lovecraft’s works of fiction. The book was edited by Dwight L. MacPherson, who is also a huge Lovecraft fan, so he had many wonderful suggestions and advice on the story as well.

Most of all, when I wrote HL & FK, I wanted to create a world of Lovecraft’s work in a way that was respectful to the fans, but also piqued the interest of non fans into the work of this horror master.

                      

BF: What can you tell us about what artist Renzo Podesta has brought to the collaboration?

BB: I worked with Renzo on that short story for Arcana that I mentioned previously. I absolutely fell in love with the look of his work. When I wanted to do another story with a young H.P. Lovecraft as the lead, there was no one else I wanted more than him to do this book. Renzo is truly a phenomenally talented artist whose style created such a visual mood for the book!

BF: When does Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom hit the shelves?

BB: Howard Lovecraft & the Frozen Kingdom hits the shelves January 6 2010. However, it is available now for pre-order through Diamond (order code OCT09 0688), as well as, pre order at a later date through amazon.com. It is also available at a variety of comic shops online for pre-order. If you are not familiar with indie books and you don’t place an order now, there is a chance the book won’t be there in your shop on the day it comes out. So, don’t miss the opportunity to pick up this truly unique book.

BF: If sales are healthy enough would you like to return to the world of the young Lovecraft? Have you any sequels already in mind?

BB: If sales are healthy enough, I would definitely want to do a sequel to this book. It’s funny because after I finished writing HL & TFK, I had an idea for a sequel and wrote it all down. I am hoping, one day, to get the opportunity to share that story with the rest of the world.

BF: Are there any other comics-related projects you’re currently working on?

BB: I have another book coming out with Arcana called Jack & the Zombie Box. It is a story about a boy, whose obsession with a "Scooby Doo" like television show, reeks havoc on a household. It’s a very fun book and based on a true story. I also have several horror books in production that, hopefully soon, I will be able to talk about.

BF: Finally, Bruce, here is your chance for the hard sell… Why should the Broken Frontier readership definitely be putting in their pre-orders for Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom now?

BB: Hmmm…hard sell eh? Okay, BUY MY BOOK OR I WILL SEND CTHULHU TO YOUR HOUSE. HA!

Actually, I would simply say, this is a book with something for everyone. If you’re a Lovecraft fan, this book is a must! If you’ve never even heard of H.P. Lovecraft, this book is an extremely fun, wild ride! It’s filled with fantasy, monsters and a twists and turns! It available to pre order in comic shops, online shops, amazon.com and I have even seen the book for pre-orders on ebay. Definitely pre order this so that you don’t miss it! It’s Call of Cthulhu meets Where the Wild Things Are! Now who would want to miss that?! Sorry, but that really is a great soundbite!

Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom is available in January from Arcana priced $14.95 (Diamond code OCT09 0688)

 

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