By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Horror fiction and children’s books aren’t two genres one would expect to mix, but author Bruce Brown has successfully combined them in his Howard Lovecraft graphic novel trilogy.
The novels follow a child version of H.P. Lovecraft, a 20th-century writer of horror fiction. He opens a dangerous book which begins an exciting journey with his elder god companion Spot, encountering elements from Lovecraft’s horror stories throughout.
“I consider it a ground-breaking series because nobody at the time when it came out was really thinking of Lovecraft and kids in the same sentence at all,” Brown told the Other Press.
Brown and the series’ publisher, Arcana, started a Kickstarter campaign in August (the month of Lovecraft’s birthday) to fund a hardcover book, Howard Lovecraft and the Three Kingdoms, featuring the series’ three stories: Frozen Kingdom, Undersea Kingdom, and Kingdom of Madness. The campaign, which ends on September 19, offers reward incentives for monetary donations, such as a plush Spot, a T-shirt featuring Howard and Spot, an exclusive Necronomicon cover of the book, and many more.
The character of Howard came to be when Brown was reading Lovecraft’s works for a book he was working on and decided to write a short story about a child version of Lovecraft for an anthology published by Arcana.
“After the story was done, I just couldn’t let go of the idea of that character. I started to think about if I took elements of his real life and merged them with elements from his stories to make a children’s book,” he said.
Brown chose to write the graphic novel for all ages so that the stories could be accessible to a wider audience and also be something that parents and children could connect with.
“There are so many parents who were into comics and they struggle finding something to introduce to their kids to share that love of comics with them,” he said. “So it’s nice to have something that a parent can read themselves and enjoy, and then read it with their kids and enjoy.”
The Kickstarter campaign to create a hardcover book of the collected series was started partly as a response to the series’ popularity and readers’ inability to obtain all three books at one time.
“The books sold so well that there would be times when they’d read one of the stories and then they wanted to get the next one, but they had trouble getting the next one because they just kept selling out,” Brown said. “Now people will be able to get all three of them at once.”
The rewards offered in the campaign were chosen based on what Brown and Arcana thought would appeal to fans of the series, as well as what appealed to them.
“I love the exclusive Three Kingdoms volume that looks like the Necronomicon. That’s got a big appeal to me. If you’re familiar with Lovecraft, that’s a huge part, and it’s a crucial part of the series,” Brown said.
The campaign also has a stretch goal of $7,500 that, when reached, will mean the release of a teaser trailer for the upcoming Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom animated feature, which is currently in development.
To find out more about the Howard Lovecraft and the Three Kingdoms campaign or to donate, visit Kickstarter.com or check out the series at Arcana.com