Review by Reber Clark
December 30, 2016
Pete Von Sholly’s illustrations perfectly capture the mood, emotion and drama of what is happening in the stories. The introductions by S. T. Joshi are full of wonderful information with a real affection for the material and for HPL himself. S. T. cares about Lovecraft and it comes through. Not only are the dust jackets covered in Von Sholly’s wonderful art, remove the dust jackets and find the same images printed on the hard boards. The end papers are wonderful images from the included stories. There is not an over-profusion of images with the text, which I appreciate - one must use one’s own imagination - and I applaud the decision to present the stories in this way. However, the striking images by Von Sholly that do grace these pages perfectly set the tone and wonder of HPL’s stories. In each book Lovecraft’s own bookplate is included as a frontispiece.
The size of the volumes is perfect. Not too large and not too small - 8 ½ inches tall and about 6 inches wide - just right for carrying around. If I was just starting out on Lovecraft as a younger person these are the volumes I would seek out. There are twelve volumes in this series and in the back of each book is a listing of all volumes in the Lovecraft Library Series each illustrated expertly by Pete Von Sholly who has storyboarded more than one hundred feature films including "The Shawshank Redemption", "The Mist", "The Green Mile", "Mars Attacks!" and more. He has also written and illustrated for Dark Horse, Last Gasp, IDW, BOOM!, Kitchen Sink and others.
Lovecraft Illustrated Volume 11, "The Haunter of the Dark": Not only is the title story included but several short stories beyond "The Haunter of the Dark" are presented with Von Sholly’s excellently appropriate illustrations. "The Thing on the Doorstep" (and an essay entitled "Excised Passages in 'The Thing on the Doorstep'" by S. T. Joshi), Robert Bloch’s "The Shambler from the Stars", "Sonnet XXI - Nyarlathotep" from HPL’s "Fungi from Yuggoth", another Bloch story "The Shadow from the Steeple", "The Spider" by Hanns Heinz Ewers, "Some Antecedents of the Shining Trapezohedron" an essay by Steven J. Mariconda, "The 'Haunter' Letters" by Lovecraft which includes excerpts of letters between Bloch, Lovecraft and Willis Conover (a younger writer with whom HPL corresponded) and "A Eulogy for the Church of 'The Haunter of the Dark' " by Robert Bloch written in response to the razing of the real-life church which figured prominently in Lovecraft’s titular story.
Lovecraft Illustrated Volume 12, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward": HPL’s masterful tale "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" is nicely presented and well-illustrated, an essay by Richard Ward, "In Search of the Dread Ancestor" on comparing M. R. James’ "Count Magnus" and HPL’s "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" is also included. James’ "Count Magnus'"story is thoughtfully included as is an essay by Brent V. Friedman entitled "Re-Animating Lovecraft". Master artist and illustrator of these volumes Pete Von Sholly includes his own essay "Thoughts, Observations, and Conundrums with Regard to The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" as the closing subject of this excellent compendium.
These are wonder-filled books that are packed with information and worthy of any Lovecraft fan’s shelf. Highly recommended.
Thanks to HPLHS Member David McCloskey for providing photos for this review.