About a year ago, I reviewed a web comic called Wart which claimed to be inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. A lot of comics, movies, and other forms of entertainment make this claim. Many of them mainly slap the name “Cthulhu” on their creation somewhere and call it a day. Wart, however, was actually able to capture the truly morbid and macabre feel of Lovecraft’s work—and infuse it with comedy.
Now, a year later, the adventure continues with Wart #2. In Book #1, Wart Bellamy, sort of an Arthur Dent type, was abducted from his home and taken to an alternate dimension. He spends his days locked in an insane asylum, being tormented by a mad scientist and his assistants. He spends his nights having vivid dreams about being pursued by strange and horrifying monsters. Only they’re more than just dreams.
In Book #2, Wart finds himself at the center of an interdimensional manhunt. All different creatures, from all different places, are after Wart—for reasons which he still can’t comprehend. Whereas before, however, he was all alone in his struggle, now he may possibly have allies: a rat who shares his room with him and who may or may not be sentient, and another inmate at the asylum—the mysterious girl from room #217, who appeared to him in a vision in Book #1.
Book #2 focuses less on the morbid and macabre elements of the story and plays more on the humor. Wart may be hopelessly confused, but the various factions pursuing him aren’t much better. Some are inept and even a bit silly, which makes it very difficult to execute an evil plan.
The story is divided up into parts. Not full issues, like a graphic novel would be, but short chapters of maybe 10ish pages each. The first book collects parts 1-3. The second has parts 4 & 5, plus a bonus section, 5.5, which wasn’t part of the original web comic and explores the origin of one of the more minor characters in a somewhat amusing way.
A big part of what gives the story its humor is the artwork by Ammar Al Chalabi. Ammar’s artwork is vivid and colorful, depicting a variety of strange and detailed monsters and other apparitions—but he also has a knack for things like facial expressions that transform these bizarre and creepy scenes into something innately funny.
This is a very interesting and worthwhile comic all around, with a great story and vivid artwork. If you’re into horror/comedy, with an appreciation for Lovecraft, you’ll want to check out Wart.