Monday, August 01, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.214: The Courtyard and Neonomicon


No discussion of Lovecraftian graphic novels would be complete without some mention of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows' work in the area. As I haven't finished reading Providence yet, today I'll focus on The Courtyard and its controversial sequel, Neonomicon. Certainly Moore applies a unique (temporal) take on Lovecaft's mythos in these tales - and one that is also signficantly informed by his knowledge of contemporary esoteric thought. Burrows' artwork is also excellent and fits the subject matter well. Neonomicon in particular is notable for Moore and Burrows' attempts to give visible expression to the 'unspeakable rites' which Lovecraft hints at in his tales; taking the lead from stories like The Dunwich Horror and The Shadow Over Innsmouth, they interpret such rites in explicitly sexual terms: notably an extended and harrowing rape scene which has been a focus of controversy regarding Moore's use of sexual violence as a motif and of his representation of women more generally. Certainly Neonomicon evokes a powerful response in this regard - although for my part, its interpreting notions of the unspeakable and blasphemous exclusively in the idiom of (violent) sexual transgression potentially detracts from a sense of cosmic awe which, I think, Lovecaft seeks to suggestively evoke (via an inferred distruption or suspension of an anthropocentric 'natural' order) by using such terms.

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