Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom

Review by Ed Sizemore, with help from Christopher

Picking up where the first volume left off, Howard finds out the banished King Abdul has a new ally. Abdul is coming after Howard and the book Howard has been tasked to guard. Howard’s adventures have him teaming up with his not-as-crazy-as you-thought father and a remarkably well-armed local policeman.

I asked my nephew Christopher (now 10) to help me in reviewing this book, since he enjoyed the first volume. Christopher really enjoyed this book and read it quickly. He said it was a good adventure story with major twists and turns. He didn’t find the book scary at all. In fact, he thought was a good blend of action and humor. He found the policeman and his cat particularly funny.

Christopher admired Howard’s bravery and liked him as a character. However, Christopher didn’t want to be friends with Howard because he is surrounded by people Christopher hopes to never meet.

I asked about the art. Christopher thought the art was good and easy to follow. He liked the colors used in the book. They let the reader know that the book could be creepy or eerie at times. He especially liked the change of art style when Howard is given a vision of Azathoth. It really caught his attention.

This was the first chance I had to have Christopher read a comic book on the iPad. For the most part, it was a positive experience, but it wasn’t impressive enough to get him to give up physical books. The boy is a true bibliophile in the making. For him, comics on the iPad meant other kids couldn’t bend or mark on pages. He didn’t like how carefully you have to hold the device to keep the display in portrait mode.

For myself, I also enjoyed the book and found it a very quick read. Brown has done a solid job of crafting his own all-ages verison of the Lovecraft universe. Honestly, I didn’t imagine you could do that. I’m happy that kids like my nephew will get some exposure to H.P. Lovecraft and that this series could encourage them to check out Lovecraft’s own writings one day.

I welcomed the change of artists. Boatwright is a better draftsman, and Howard now has a proper character design. Thankfully, the use of watercolor tones was retained, since it’s one of the aspects of the art I liked from the first volume. There’s a lot of use of green in this book, and Christopher is right, it does an excellent job setting the proper mood.

Both Christopher and I recommend this book to kids who enjoy a good action-adventure story. It’s been two years since the first volume appeared. I’d like to see another volume come out next year. A volume every other year will only hurt the series. It’s a lot to ask of adults to wait that long, never mind kids. Lovecraft fans should do like I did and order two copies: one to keep and one to pass on to a child reader or to give to your local library.

Arcana has a five-page preview for the book on their website. You can preorder the book through Diamond using the item code JAN12 0814 or order through Amazon. (An advance PDF review copy was provided by the publisher.)

2 Responses to “Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom”

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