This book was a tough sell for me at first. It wasn’t the Lovecraftian overtones or the exaggerated art, but the drug element. Typically, any story that deals with drugs isn’t fascinating to me, but Golgotha took me aside (which is weird because it’s a skull) and said, “listen Dustin, it’ll all work out if you get past the first few pages.” So I did, and I found a story that was filled with crazy and hilarious characters and even a level of maturity that I wasn’t expecting. I liked the book a lot despite it having elements that I usually don’t gravitate to.
The story opens with H.P. Lovecraft I 1932 and creates a hidden history to Rhode Island with the worshippers of the old god Cthulhu. From there the story moves to 1997 as Lovecraft’s grave is being dug up by unknown individuals which becomes the catalyst moment for the entire plot. The next day we move into the court house and meet our main character Aleister as he stands before a judge for drug charges. The Judge sentences him to mandatory rehab that if he doesn’t complete he’ll go to prison. Aleister is an artist that’s trying to skip town to New York, but it’s not going the way he wants. We catch up to him a week later in rehab as he gets into a humorous argument with another patient in for rehab about Lovecraft who is the author he credits to changing his life. This is where Aleister finds out about Lovecraft’s skull being taken.
He calls up his friend Jude to bust him out so that he can solve the case of the missing skull. Later that night Jude picks him up… in between shooting up some junk. Aleister actually decides to stay clean until he’s out of the state and the case is solved. From there we’re slowly introduced to the key players in the story which basically amount to people that hate Aleister, but they all have a connection to the skull. With each new introduction the plot pushes forward as Aleister purses his mission of returning his beloved author’s skull to his grave.
The dialog and characters are definitely the best part of the story. Each new character gets their own introduction such as: “This is… Crazy Henry.” Henry was one of the most interesting characters as he spouts off nonsense that is probably only understandable to the reader; he’s also drawn with crazy things coming out of his mind which made him visually interesting as well.
At its core the story is really about friendship and people’s relationships in general and that’s what made me stick around for the story. Aleister’s obsession and drug use has damaged a lot of relationships in his life and by wanting to ditch town he’s upset the balances of those relationships. Sure there is the fantasy element of the skulls “power”, but that’s there for comedy and entertainment value. Again, the dialog is rich and enjoyable.
I’ve mentioned elements of the art already with the character introductions and the craziness pouring out from Henry’s head. The art is very detailed and does shift between two styles depending on the timeline of the story, but both styles complement each other since it’s the same artist just different inking. I really enjoyed the black and white art as it lends itself to the craziness of the world. The character designs are a bit exaggerated at times with distinct noses and jaws and over the top hair, but I really enjoyed it because of those elements.
I probably wouldn’t have sought out this book if it hadn’t been sent to me for review, but I’m glad that I read it. It proved to be more than a drug induced Lovecraft themed story and while I didn’t personally relate to the character’s lives, I did understand them on their core level. We’ve all had friends that we’ve had to let go of or ex-girlfriends that we’ve hung on to for too long. It’s those moments mixed with the humor that I enjoyed and reminded me not to be quick to judge a book based on the first few pages. If you’re interested in a funny, Lovecraft themed story that doesn’t take itself too serious then definitely pre-order this book.
Writer: Andrew Harrison
Artist: Karl Slominski
Publisher: 215 Ink
Release Date: 6/26/13