I’d like to thank Patrick McEvoy and Kat Rocha for the review copy. If you like Raymond Chandler, or just classic PI stories in general, and are into all things Lovecraft, then this is a graphic novel for you.
The team of Finney, McEvoy, and Rocha have launched a series (yes, it’s a series; more on that later) that lovingly blends the best elements of both.
Set in Lovecraft’s fictional town of Arkham in 1946, the story follows former marine Hank Flynn as he tries to establish his life as a civilian in his home town. He’s working as a private investigator. When he’s hired by a beautiful and wealthy widow to find a missing painter, his life takes a turn for the eldritch. The painter’s name? Richard Pickman.
The story is structured like a classic PI story, with the detective getting the crap beat out of him by thugs during the case, femme fatales, and disconcerting discoveries about himself.
Of course, there are plenty of lovecraftian elements. There are the ones central to the story, such as Pickman and references to Innsmouth (that will be followed up on in future installments). The creative team also scattered a number of Easter eggs throughout the book. Examples include the widow’s name (Derlith, a play on Arkham House founder August Derleth’s name) and a sign for cigar store named Bloch and Bates.
The story draws on various elements of Lovecraft’s work. Hank has dreams from his time in the Pacific, dreams that involve a fish-like god. There are tunnels under Arkham and ghouls in graveyards.
Hank Flinn is a damaged hero. Fortunately he finds a good woman, the good witch Glynda. She’ll be a recurring character. So will the mob boss Big Eddy Sturgeon, who influences some things from offstage. If I understood things properly, he operates out of Innsmouth.
Patrick McEvoy’s art fits the story perfectly. This is a black and white graphic novel. The varying shades of black and gray provide plenty of atmosphere. Pickman’s paintings are done in more detailed style. I will warn you, if you’re faint of heart or weak of stomach, some of the images can be…unsettling. This is a horror comic, after all.
I quite enjoyed Casefile: Arkham Nightmare on the Canvas, even if a few of the images were a bit gruesome. There were enough loose ends to set up a full series. I’ve got a review copy of the next volume, Her Blood Runs Cold. It’s due out a in a few weeks. Look for a review soon. In the meantime, check this one out if you haven’t already.