In 1920, H. P. Lovecraft published a short story titledThe Curse that fell on Sarnath”. A story that recalls a city struck down by a primal evil. In 2001, the writers Mike Mignola Y Richard Pacenext to the cartoonist Troy Nixley They made their own version. using to Batmanthey created the elseworld “The Curse that fell on Gotham”.
The “elseworlds” (word coined from the publication of Batman: Gotham by Gaslight 1989) is a line for non-canon stories. Within these possibilities, the creators play with almost limitless concepts. In gas lightthe Crusader of the Cloak faced the very Jack the Ripper. In footnote we have already talked aboutThe nail” Y “Superman: Red Son”.
an ancient curse
In the year 1928, BruceWayne arrives at Cape Victoria in Antarctica on a rescue mission. The objective is to find the members of the expedition of Oswald Cobblepot. Finding the missing ship, and finding all the crew dead, Bruce splits a person in a cave. This man was seeking to release some kind of frozen monster.
Bruce decides he must go back to GothamIt has been more than 20 years since he left. However, he will bring with him the evil discovered on Cobblepot’s expedition. In his hometown Harvey Dent he is running for Mayor, but primal forces will work against him. A mysterious woman appears, and is somehow related to the Antarctic find.
The city of Gotham is in danger from its very soul, and Bruce Wayne, Batman must ally himself even with infernal forces to stop the danger. Everything will lead to the darkest secret that the city hides from its very origin. Something the founding fathers thought they could hide forever.
The key elements
Lovecraft’s mythology works the concept of horror towards the unknown. For this, the author has created a race of primordial beings that ancient civilizations worshiped as gods. This is the central element that Mignola and Pace will use to create this story. The introduction in Antarctica is a mere suggestion to remember that this evil once dominated the world.
The key is to use well the elements of the world of DC comics (and especially related to the Bat) to resignify them. Thus one of the greatest enemies of Batman is who will be the representative of the enemy: Ras Al’GhulAnd your daughter Thalia. Bruce Wayne’s first contact with the certainty of this danger is Jason Bloodwho is linked with the devil Etrigan.
As the pages go by, various characters will parade through the panels, changed to post-Victorian versions. Barbara Gordon (Oracle) will be a woman who designed a device that allows her to communicate with spirits. There will also be a version of Swamp Thingas well as various villains from the classic Gotham gallery.
Taking advantage of the fact that it is an Elseworld, the story gives a Lovecraftian conclusion, but at the same time, according to a hero like Batman.
Bringing the myth to life
Troy Nixey was chosen to illustrate this three-issue miniseries. Nixey’s style is dynamic, so it’s no surprise that he blended in with the two writers (who are also artists). The way in which the characters are illustrated, with specific features, but always tending towards a slight deformity, is reminiscent of Mignola’s style.
Page layouts are usually few panels, but full bodies are rarely seen, either because of the closed plane, or because the elements do not fit. This is done in order to, despite a distribution of fewer vignettes, convey a kind of claustrophobia. When the big appearances arrive, even then the splash pages (double page illustrations) are overwhelmed.
Why does it work?
Lovecraft works on horror, the images that deform the features of his characters due to the extreme terror to which they are subjected are an icon of his work. Batman is a being that uses fear as a tool, an element that has led him to the darkest stories of DC (for the general public). So it results in a perfect combination.
Batman has been involved in themes related to magic, and the occult, himself being a kind of urban myth. Placing it in a time where this type of superstition moves the world with its rules, it is a fantastic opportunity to play with this. Seeing how his own tools turn against him and how he manages to avoid risks is part of what characterizes the character.
Originally edited as a self-titled miniseries, Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham (original title) lasted 3 issues. In Argentina it arrived within “The Definitive Collection of DC Graphic Novels” by Editorial Salvat in volume 50.
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Batman on an Adventure HP Lovecraft Style – Footnote
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