It was the mid 1940’s and things weren’t going well for Private eye Hank Flynn. He just got out of the war and moved to the mean streets of Arkham. Or out of the frying pan and into the fryer. Hank has seen terror in the war but that doesn’t compare to what he sees when he is hired by a wealthy socialite to find an artist named Pickman. Hank’s search leads him into a world of witches, ghouls, black magic and straight into the hands of the Innsmouth mafia. Hank is up against an evil that he has never experienced and he is the only one that can stop the darkness that threatens Arkham.
Casefile: Arkham is written by Josh Finney and Illustrated by Patrick McEvoy and is an original take on the works of H.P. Lovecraft with a nod to Raymond Chandler. While reading this I felt like I was watching an old 1940’s mystery movie. The dialogue, the way the characters acted and the fact that everyone smoked and wore a hat, made this book feel like an old movie.
Josh Finney’s writing style is excellent, and Patrick McEvoy’s art adds to the creepiness factor. When this book begins there is a sense of dread, The city of Arkham is a dark place and Hank’s knows this but he is hoping for a new start. Right there the reader is invested in the story because you instantly like Hank but wonder in a place where monsters dwell (and we see in the beginning that there are real monsters here)how can you find something to be happy about?
I love the character of Hank Flynn. There is a scene where his client sends him to a fortune-teller and we hear a commentary of him questioning god. Hank is a catholic but after fighting in the war he is angry with god. He questions religion but he still wants to believe. Before seeing the fortune-teller he has a great speech where he mentions whether it’s a crystal ball or a bible, the name of the game is to get rubes to part with their hard-earned cash. I love how Hank feels, he is a man looking for answers for his clients and for himself. Later we meet a woman named Glynda, a Wiccan who runs a book store and is one of the few people who Hank seems to trust. I loved how Hank has feelings for her but because he is Catholic he feels that being with her would be blasphemy. Hank is a man at conflict with himself and Arkham is a place where evil dwels. I found myself rooting for him to get a happy ending despite the world being against him
I can’t say enough good things about this book. The story is good, the characters are deep and realistic and the art is beautiful. Casefile: Arkham is a work of art and a good example of how art and great storytelling can be combined to make the perfect graphic novel. You could tell this book was a labor of love. I hope this book gets enough support where 01 Publishing can turn it into a series because it made me want to seek out more horror comics to read.
01 publishing has more than one book that is inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Whispers From The Abyss is an anthology edited by Kat Rocha that contains 33 stories that were influenced by Lovecraft. I have to admit that I haven’t read a lot of Lovecraft but being a horror fan I still enjoyed a lot of the stories in this book. What really surprised me was how different all the stories were.
Not all the stories here were gems but there was some good ones including Death Wore Greasepaint by Josh Finney. This one is about a down on his luck man named Charlie who runs a cable tv station and a clown named Wilbur who has found his life’s purpose. I love how this story uses a kids show set in the present and ties it into Lovecraft’s mythos. Who would have guessed a clown could start the apocalypse. I love how this story describes intestines coming out of a body and then a character says: “I’ll never eat pasta again.” The best thing about this story is that The Octopus King has shown me how to be happy. Read the book and you will understand.
Another good one in this collection is Fear and Loathing in Innsmouth: Richard Nixon’s Revenge by Jason Andrew. This one is set in the seventies and follows a man who is trying to find proof that Richard Nixon is evil. This is an original story that combines a little humor with a little bit of horror. I love the references to Easy Rider, Ron Jeremy and the two quotes that open the story. Anything goes in this one and it has a good twist at the end.
Also getting points for originality is My Friend Fishfinger by Daisy, Age 7 written by David Tallerman. I love that this is written from the perspective of a girl whose parents follow a god that’s different from the one she believes in. If you know Lovecraft’s work you probably know who the god is. I love how this story is told, its like seeing evil through the eyes of an innocent child who doesn’t know what she is in for. The title is deceptive and the story is short and creepy. If you like the works of Lovecraft and Weird Tales in general pick up Whispers From The Abyss and if you like this one Whispers From The Abyss 2 is also available.