In 2014, P. Craig Russell adapted a Neil Gaiman short story called Murder Mysteries into a comic, which I had the pleasure of reviewing. This story marks another Russell adaptation of a Gaiman story, though from what I can tell, this one was specifically written to be a comic. It also has a very different tone from Murder Mysteries, though both have that Neil Gaiman spark at their core.
Lawrence Talbot is a claims adjuster by day and a werewolf by night—at least, for one night of the month. Trying to keep his baser desires in check, he’s not always successful, particularly when he moves to a small New England town called Innsmouth.
While attempting one morning to deal with a massive werewolf hangover, Talbot encounters a number of strange people throughout the town, who seem preoccupied—but not overly concerned—with the impending end of the world. What’s going on beneath the surface of this strange town, and how does Talbot fit in?
What makes this story interesting is that it doesn’t so much create a world as take one that we’re already familiar with and explore a side of it we might not think to look at otherwise. Lawrence Talbot isn’t just a werewolf; he’s the definitive werewolf from classic Universal horror films of the 1940s. Likewise, Innsmouth is a well-known town of ancient and unspeakable evil, created by H.P. Lovecraft and used by a number of horror writers since.
Gaiman uses these familiar names to establish the world quickly, so that he can then spend the bulk of his time introducing us to the characters who live in this world and what their lives are like on a day-to-day basis.
What we’re left with is a story that’s very well crafted and a lot of fun to read. The artwork, in turn, adds an extra dimension to it, with its depictions of old gods, strange omens, and a town where, according to Talbot, “Most of the folks look a little like Peter Lorre.”
The comic itself is fairly short. Once it’s finished, however, we’re treated to a page-by-page look at the original sketches that went into creating it, side by side with the finished pages. Artists and fans of comic art may enjoy this in-depth look behind the scenes.
All in all, this is a very good comic and well worth reading. If you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman, or H.P. Lovecraft, or classic horror stories in general, you’ll want to check out Only the End of the World Again.
Creative Team: Neil Gaiman (story and words), P. Craig Russell (adaptation and layouts), Troy Nixey (art), Matthew Hollingsworth (color), Sean Konot (lettering)
Publisher: Dark Horse
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