A graphic novel adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's surreal fantasy classic and three other stories of the dreamworld.
Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvellous city…and three times he was snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it.
Written in 1926 and never published during his lifetime, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is the only full-length fantasy novel by H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937). Combining characters and places from many of his earlier works into an invented mythology, it's a Lovecraft's fan's dream, but it also stands on its own as a weird fantasy in the tradition of Lord Dunsany, William Beckford and China Mieville. From an author better known for his stories of horror and science fiction, it's a strange adventure into realms of endless caverns, fantastic cities and perfumed jungles…of journeys by ship, zebra and winged monsters…of perilous encounters with man-eating ghouls, dark gods and talking cats. When I first read the story way back in junior high, I thought not only of Lovecraft's usual horrors, but also of the kinds of nighttime worlds I remembered from my childhood readings of Maurice Sendak, Winsor McCay and Mercer Mayer.
At length, sick with longing for those glittering sunset streets and cryptical hill lanes, nor able sleeping or waking to drive them from his mind, Carter resolved to go with bold entreaty whither no man had gone before…and dare the icy deserts through the dark to where Unknown Kadath, veiled in cloud and crowned with unimagined stars, holds secret and nocturnal the onyx castle of the Great Ones.
From 1997 to 1999, I drew a 122-page all-ages adaptation of Dream-Quest, drawing inspiration from underground comics and classic children's books and the "naive fairy-tale wonder-spirit" that Lovecraft, in his own words, was trying to capture. I self-published it as a five-issue comic book series, and art from it was used in a Dream-Quest movie adaptation, but the original issues are long out of print. Years later, homesick for dreamland, I went back and drew adaptations of three more of Lovecraft's dream stories, "Celephais," "The White Ship" and "The Strange High House in the Mist." I've published these stories on the web at http://www.mockman.com.
"Thompson's adaptation of the story is epic in scope, heroic in execution. Surely there are longer comic stories, some even the result of a single vision, but few, if any, approach the complex texture with which Thompson imbues this splendid work."
—Ralph E. Vaughn, H.P. Lovecraft in the Comics
Here's my plan: I want to go back to my Dream-Quest comics, retouch the art, and reprint all four stories—Dream-Quest, "Celephais," "The White Ship" and "The Strange High House"—together in one definitive collection of HPL's greatest dream stories. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath will have a new cover, a map of the dreamworld, concept art of the various creatures and places, and a comic adaptation of Lovecraft's four greatest dream stories. Altogether, it'll be a 176-page, oversize (approximately A4 size) book.
To cover printing and shipping costs, I need your help raising $10,000. I'm taking Kickstarter pledges of all levels, and I'm offering rewards ranging from a printed copy of the book, to original artwork and sketches, to a poster map of the Dreamlands, to a never-before-printed Lovecraftian RPG adventure inspired by "Hypnos," "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" and "The Green Meadow." If you're really inspired, for $1000 and up I'll even do a complete new comic of the short Lovecraft story of your choice!
"A terrific job, an incredible effort, no—more than that—an absolutely masterful interpretation. This is the kind of effort the Lovecraft fan base keeps hoping to see someday from Hollywood. It's a brilliant reimagining which will allow an entire new legion of readers access to the master. My sincerest wish is that not only will this project be finished, but that it is only the first of many."
—C.J. Henderson, author, creator of the Teddy London and Piers Knight series
If you're a Lovecraft fan, if you like fantasy and children's books, or if you want to introduce Lovecraft's fantasy side to a friend or family member who's squeamish of horror, please help me out and spread the word. Making this comic is my dream, and I can't do it without you.
Thanks for your support!
Funders outside the U.S., please add $10 to your pledge for shipping. Thanks!
Well, of course! You can still contribute to get any of the awesome rewards listed for each level of contribution!
Due to limited quantity, pages are first come, first served, but I'll try my best to accomodate your request if you have a particular page you want. As of September 19, 2011, none of the $150 backers have picked out a particular page that they want, and almost all of the pages are still available. For the two-page spreads for $300 backers, one backer has already requested the Dylath-Leen spread, but due to the way Kickstarter works I'm not able to edit the description of the reward. The "flying over Leng" and "flying to Kadath" spreads are still available. As soon as the project is funded, I'll be sending out an email asking people if they have particular pages they're interested in.
Funders outside the US, please add $10 to your pledge to cover shipping.
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Pledge $5 or moreYou selected
ZOOG: Your name in the acknowledgments section of the book, plus a high-res PDF of The White Ship, Celephais & Strange High House in the Mist.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or moreYou selected
GUG: The previous reward, plus an illustrated PDF of an original Lovecraftian RPG I wrote, "The Club of the Seven Dreamers," a d20 system adventure previously run only at NecronomiCon 2001.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $40 or moreYou selected
DREAMER: The previous rewards, plus a copy of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and Other Stories graphic novel, signed by me.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $75 or moreYou selected
JOURNEYMAN DREAMER: The previous rewards, plus a poster map of H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands.Estimated delivery:
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MASTER DREAMER: The previous rewards, plus an 8.5 x 11 artboard sketch by me, your choice of subject.Estimated delivery:
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24 backers Limited (66 left of 90)
GREAT ONE: The previous rewards, plus one original single-page art board from Dream-Quest (limit 90). Artist's choice, but if there's a particular page you want, I'll do my best to accommodate your request.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $200 or moreYou selected
5 backers All gone!
COSMIC ENTITY OF THE FREEDOM OF DREAMLESS SLEEP: The previous rewards from $5 to $150, plus a hand-crocheted Randolph Carter dream doll! (For pictures of the doll: http://mockman.com/2011/10/24/randolph-carter-dream-dolls/ ) (limit 5)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $300 or moreYou selected
3 backers All gone!
ONE OF ONLY THREE FULLY HUMAN SOULS WHO CROSSED THE BLACK IMPIOUS GULFS TO OTHER DREAMLANDS: The previous rewards from $5 to $100, plus one original double-page spread art board from Dream-Quest (limit 3). Your choice of Dylath-Leen, the nightgaunt flight over the plateau of Leng, or the first sight of Unknown Kadath. First come, first served!Estimated delivery:
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1 backer All gone!
NYARLATHOTEP: Want me to illustrate more Lovecraft stories? Pick out any Lovecraft short story or poem, subject to my approval, and I'll illustrate it and put it on www.mockman.com! The finished comic will be between 6 and 8 pages and will be dedicated to you. You get half of the original art pages (your choice of pages) and a signed, printed & bound edition of the story. Plus, all the previous rewards except for the original Dream-Quest art boards. (limit 1)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
AZATHOTH: How about an even longer Lovecraft adaptation? Pick out any Lovecraft short story or poem, subject to my approval, and I'll illustrate it and put it on www.mockman.com! The finished comic will be between 10 and 16 pages and will be dedicated to you. You get half of the original art pages (your choice of pages) and a signed, printed & bound edition of the story. Plus, all the previous rewards except for the original Dream-Quest art boards. (limit 1)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $3,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
RANDOLPH CARTER: The same as 2000, plus I will fly to your house anywhere in the US or Canada, personally deliver your book, and run a Lovecraftian roleplaying game for you and your friends. Or speak at your event or convention. Or, I'll design a mural for your child's bedroom (subject to approval of reasonable room size). Anyway, I'm comin' to visit. Let's talk! (limit 1)Estimated delivery:
- (60 days)