I've always had a taste for the outré and the uncanny in fiction. Not gore and viscera, that's just repulsive, but something that reminds you, with a chill and a thrill, that there are things in heaven and earth beyond your ken, is scary and entertaining. Therefore I'll have to try H. P. Lovecraft again.
(H.P. by Bruce Timm)
In the '20s and '30s, Lovecraft wrote supernatural horror tales, "weird fiction" he called it, which was often a blend of the supernatural, science fiction and ancient mythology. He strove to create "an atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces," malignant forces that wanted to destroy our supposedly reliable, safe reality.
His stuff showed up in magazines like "Weird Tales."
So having heard all that, but never having read any, I decided, about twenty-five years ago, that I should check out a volume of H. P. Lovecraft from the library.
And... Wolfie shrugged.
Maybe I tried to read too much of him all at once, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood. A few tales I found compelling, but mostly what I noted was Lovecraft's pronounced aversion to reptiles, cephalopods, and mucus.
All of his creatures / aliens / monsters appeared on the scene scaly, or squishy, and dripping secretions. Always dripping secretions. And that can certainly be revolting, but about the sixth tentacled thing with a runny nose you encounter in one afternoon, it gets a little tedious.
Like I said, maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind. About that same time, I was thinking that Anne Rice's vampires were kinda soggy and sloggy.
Anyway-- and my apologies to true Lovecraftians for a truncated explanation-- one of H. P.'s running themes was the idea that long before the dawn of Man there came to our planet a very odd and very powerful race of extraterrestrial beings, whose history and wars ended with a lot of them in a precarious hibernation, and their dreaded awakening meaning our eradication.
One of these beings, supposedly one of the lesser of the Old Ones, but certainly one of the most popular, was "Cthulhu"-- a giant monster, hundreds of meters tall, who could change its form to suit its needs, but generally appeared, said Mr. Lovecraft, in "vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind."
Lovecraft sketched this:
And his published stories inspired some really cool paintings! I kinda like the middle one best.
And of course, there are some who won't take it seriously. Wiseacres. My People.
And NOW you have enough to make whatever sense there is to make from the three cartoons RICHARD WINDSOR sent over!
While he was walkin' down the beach, one bright and sunny day, he saw a great big wooden box a-floatin' in the bay. He pulled it in and opened it up, and much to his surprise, he discovered this THUMP THUMP THUMP right before his eyes!! And e-mailed it to me. But instead of yelling "Get outta here with that THUMP THUMP THUMP!!" I decided to give it to YOU!
The artist is Greg Sukebe, and it's the first I've seen of any of his work. The subject is Bettie Page and Cthulu.
Thanks, Rich! And Greg, wherever you are!
Speaking of slimy monsters from outer space, I had this magazine. and the movie has a couple of good tush-shots.
UPDATE-- July 9th!
Honestly, Cartoonists must have a Collective Consciousness.... If you've seen George Takei passing this around on FaceBook-- well, now you get the gag!
And now, this musical interlude.