If you haven’t heard of the stories M.R. James, or even if you have, you’re about to experience them in a compelling new format. A new collection of adapted stories in comics form have arrived from publisher SelfMadeHero, following on from an initial volume of James stories published in 2016.
M.R. James was a forerunner in the field of spooky fiction, as well as being a medieval scholar, and he’s thankfully having a renaissance of recognition right now. Maybe bringing him to comics has something to do with that, so thanks to comic creators Leah Moore and John Reppion for spearheading both volumes.
James was an influence on writers from H.P. Lovecraft to Ruth Rendell, and his writings are the epitome of the original “English ghost story”. He shies away from purely focusing on “gore in favour of atmosphere and suggestion”, as SelfMadeHero put it, and there’s an “understated” quality to his horror that will chill you to the bone.
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Volume 2 collects four “uncanny tales” James. Leah Moore and John Reppion’s adapt the stories of “watchful guardians, architectural puzzles and ill-advised academic exploration”.
The stories are arriving in good time for Halloween, celebrating the origins of popular horror tales, but thematically, the eerie explorations also have ties to the Christmas season, so this is going to make an ideal seasonal read from now through the holidays.
The book also contains an introduction by The Last Days Of Jack Sparks (which is currently being turned into a movie by Ron Howard) and Doctor Who writer Jason Arnopp.
The stories included in the book are:
- “Number 13” – art by George Kambadais
- “Count Magnus” – art by Abigail Larson
- “‘Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad’‘” – art by Al Davison
- “The Treasure of Abbot Thomas” – art by Meghan Hetrick
Look out for this new volume in your comic shops, since SelfMadeHero has both UK and US distribution, but you can also find it right here online.