AfterShock Announce New Series ‘Miskatonic’: “HP Lovecraft Meets James Ellory”

by Olly MacNamee

AfterShock announce a new horror/crime drama set in a world familiar to H P Lovecraft fans, as Miranda Keller and Tom Malone (form Lovecraft’s “The Horror at Red Hook”), two agents working with J Edgar hoover, are sent to investigate a seres of bombings in Miskatonic Valley.

Written by Mark Sable (GODKILLERSGraveyard of Empires) and artist Giorgio Pontrelli (Dylan Dog), Miskatonic is a mix of historical crime fiction and Lovecraftian-horror that dives deep into the American nightmare.
Sable sums up this new series for interested readers:
At first the terror seems be to the work of radicals, immigrants and other “undesirables” that Hoover wants rounded up, just as he did after a similar series of real life bombings ten years earlier when he conducted the infamous “Palmer Raids”.  In reality, it’s a white supremacist occult conspiracy, and can only be stopped by the very people that Hoover detests.

 It takes what’s thrilling about famous Lovecraft stories such as “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, “Herbert West: Re-Animator” and “The Dunwich Horror” (among others) but reworks them so that the characters that Lovecraft had issues with – like women – are center stage.  

At its heart though, it’s a kind of reverse X-files.  Miranda is the highly capable but skeptical FBI agent, while Tom is the true believing ex-cop, traumatized by his contact with the supernatural.”


What with HBO’s Lovecraft Country, itself based on a book by Matt Ruff, and now Mistakonic, it’s a virtual renaissance for this early 20th century author known for his groundbreaking horror and his racism, which is clearly being dealt with here in its own way, much like Lovecraft Country. All in all, it sound rather interesting and the unlettered art reminds me somewhat of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrow’s Providence (Avatar Press) from a few years ago. Both of which Sable cites as inspirations for this new series, as well as more:
I’ve also been inspired by some of the work deconstructing Lovecraft – Lovecraft Country (the book – the TV show wasn’t out when I started this), Alan Moore’s Providence and Neonomicon, and Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom.”
As for the Ellroy connection? Sable adds:
“I was also inspired by the work of crime authors like James Ellroy and Don Winslow, who tell fictional crime stories set against the backdrop of historical events – 1940s/50s LA for Ellroy’s LA Confidential, 60s assassination conspiracies in Ellroy’s American Tabloid and the Mexican Drug war in Winslow’s Cartel books.

That meant like them, I drew from history itself.  J. Edgar Hoover rose to power after the anarchist bombing of Attorney General Mitchell Palmer led to the so-called “Palmer Raids’, where Hoover over-reached and rounded up tens of thousands of suspected radicals, many of them immigrants who found themselves deported.    When he took over the Bureau of Investigation, he got rid of the few female agents, one of whom wound up committed into a mental institution.  That was often the fate of Lovecraft’s characters, so I saw away to turn someone they’d see as a victim into a hero (albeit a flawed one, in traditional noir style).”

Real life history, horror, crime and more. Look out for Miskatonic #1 is out November 11th from AfterShock Comics.

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