For decades, legendary author H.P. Lovecraft's tales of supernatural dread and cosmic horror have inspired countless artists in all mediums, with his uncanny body of work providing diverse interpretations all eerily injected with the master writer's dense foreboding style.
Now, Dynamite Entertainment is presenting a new prestige-format comic tapping into one of Lovecraft's most notorious creations, Miskatonic University's diabolical physician, Herbert West, aka The Reanimator — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive preview of the premiere issue.
Written by the Eisner-nominated Cullen Bunn and showcasing unsettling artwork courtesy of Blacky Shepherd, The Reanimator: World of Cthulhu is a direct sequel to Lovecraft's 1922 short stories, "Herbert West - Reanimator," and touches upon elements of life, death, and truth, all with an infusion of netherworld terror.
"Cosmic horror... tales of mankind's slipping grasp on reality... stories of ancient beings rising up when the 'stars are right' to clear the world of insignificant humanity... have always piqued my interest." Bunn tells SYFY WIRE. "I circle back to these types of tales again and again.
Bunn and Shepherd previously collaborated on Dynamite's Vampirella vs. Reanimator series in 2019 and they haven't missed a step in this endeavor.
This project originated as an Indiegogo campaign in collaboration with Dynamite that funded the first week it was launched. It connects West's unholy experiments to Lovecraft's greater Cthulhu mythology and launches a fresh cycle of Reanimator tales. The first chapter, titled "The Eternal Lie," is expected to be released this summer.
West is believed dead at the conclusion of Lovecraft's original series, ripped apart by his zombified creations. Now the the mad scientist has returned, and with his glowing reanimation serum stolen by an insidious cult, he must travel to the infamous New England town of Innsmouth to search for his magical elixir. The haunted township is home to degenerate townsfolk lurking in the dark and nefarious elder gods that West has to navigate around to achieve his goal.
Bunn is most interested in creating his own mythologies, but the Cthulhu mythos has held a special place in his heart since he first saw the bizarre beasts portrayed in the Deities & Demigods sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons when he was a kid.
"I loved those creepy creatures," Bunn recalls. "I loved the amazing Erol Otus drawings in those pages. I lost my copy of that book, and when I was able to replace it, that section had been removed! That only added to the mystique! These literary mythos have been inspiring horror fiction, comics, movies, and television for nearly a century.
"So many great creators have added to this cycle of horror stories. This is just a small contribution in terms of connecting the Reanimator stories with the other mythos more directly. Hopefully, it's a way to make my own mark on these characters for some time to come."
Unspooling in the Roaring Twenties, Bunn and Shepherd's series begins a few short years after West was presumed to be killed by his own monstrosities.
"It makes the assumption that all other incarnations of Herbert West are but dreams in the mind of madmen," Bunn adds. "This story is, of course, just another madness-fueled dream. Continuity of any sort is a dance with insanity, I'd say, but build your own myth cycle.
"In this story, West's prized formula has been stolen by a nefarious cult. West wants it back, but he has little idea what this sinister order really intends to do. Discovering that awful truth will lead The Reanimator into encounters with beings from beyond human understanding. Make no mistake. West is no hero. He is a force of entropy, but he's the agent of destruction that we'll follow through this tale. And if West is the closest thing we have to a hero, you know the villains of the piece will be awful!"
Bunn is particularly pleased with Shepherd's skill at bringing some truly awful creatures to life.
"Some of the pages he turned in just amazed me," Bunn adds. "We have been very secretive about them, because we don't want to spoil the shock value."
Now step inside the Lovecraftian nightmares of Dynamite's The Reanimator: World of Cthulhu #1 in the full gallery below.