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!
- (60 days)