“Everybody got aout of the idee o’ dyin’.”

– Zadok Allen, The Shadow over Innsmouth

I am proud to announce that Caliber Comics is releasing the latest H.P. Lovecraft’s Worlds adaptation The Shadow over Innsmouth in a brand new graphic novel now available through the Caliber website as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers.

Trey Baldwin’s opening page to The Shadow over Innsmouth.

This is my first new comics script in over ten years and my first new Lovecraft adaptation in over twenty. (Where does all that time time go?) Joining me is artist, letterer, and H. P. Lovecraft fan extraordinaire Trey Baldwin (Lovecraftian, The Ladies of Market Street). You are going to love him and you can take that to the bank!

Lovecraft’s The Shadow over Innsmouth is considered by many critics and HPL fans as one of his best weird tales. The decaying town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts has an unhealthy reputation. Nearby citizens shun it. You won’t find it on any maps. And the denizens just don’t look right. They just don’t.

Maybe it’s something in the water?

One of Bernie Wrightson’s Shadow over Innsmouth concept paintings.

This adaptation has been a long time coming, beginning in 1991 when I read about an unproduced film adaptation by Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon in Fangoria magazine. Included in the article were concept paintings by Bernie Wrightson (Swamp Thing, Frankenstein) and photographs of preliminary make-up work by Dick Smith (Little Big Man, The Exorcist). With names like this involved it is obvious the film was going to be a big deal, but apparently a combination of things stymied the production, first at Vestron Pictures and then Full Moon Productions.  The budget appears to have been the biggest hurtle — this movie was going to require extensive practical effects –followed by concerns rather audiences would want to see, much less be frightened by, a film about fish people.

A close-up of one of Dick Smith’s designs for Shadow over Innsmouth.

In 1991 the question of who owned the rights to The Shadow over Innsmouth and Lovecraft’s other stories was open to debate, making it financially prohibitive for independent comic book publishers to adapt anything other than his earliest works. That is just what I had done for Malibu Graphics with H.P. Lovecraft in Color, but prior to that I had adapted Re-Animator for Malibu under an agreement with Full Moon, which got me thinking, “Why not adapt the unproduced Shadow over Innsmouth screenplay? And why not use some of Wrightson’s paintings as covers?”

So I asked Tom Mason, Malibu’s creative director and frequent sounding board for my crazy ideas like this … only this one didn’t turn out to be so crazy. Tom confided to me that the Shadow over Innsmouth film might just be on again, and, if it got the green light, Malibu had the license to adapt it into a three-issue limited series. Based on my earlier Lovecraft work, Tom was not only fine with me writing this adaptation but my getting started on the scripts so long as I understood nothing was definite.

A few days later the screenplay by Dennis Paoli (Re-Animator, Dagon) arrived in the mail and I got cranking roughing out the first script.

You probably already guessed what happened next.

A sampling of Wrightson’s concept sketches for Shadow over Innsmouth.

That was that until July 2016 and the Comic Book I-Con, where I was introduced to Trey, who was looking to get his foot in the door as a comics artist.  We talked, hit it off, and discussed working on a Lovecraft adaptation together. Unlike the 1990s the question of who owned the rights to Lovecraft’s stories was no longer a problem, so all of HPL’s weird tales were on the table. After considering several possibilities, we settled on Shadow over Innsmouth.

“Well,” I thought, “better late than never.”

Actually, I was pumped! Getting to work with Trey was awesome and I was finally going to get a chance to work on one of Lovecraft classic stories like “The Call of Cthulhu,” The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, or Shadow over Innsmouth.

Who could ask for anything more?

This graphic novel also includes Lovecraft’s 1931 novella (edited by me and appearing with permission from Lovecraft Holdings LLC) and my articles “H.P. Lovecraft: A Brief Biography” and “Lovecraft: A Look Back,” both of which have been updated for this adaptation.

And if Shadow over Innsmouth sounds great, you might want to check out my new novel Lovecrafitan with interior illustrations by Trey!

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