Sunday, 16 October 2016

Welcome Your Twenty-First Century Gods

I've been talking about C21st Gods for so damn long that it feels a little crazy to say that it's finally real and finally nearly out - at least the first issue - and that in just a few weeks I'll be holding an actual copy in my hands.  But there it is: thanks to Bill Campbell at Rosarium, thanks to some extraordinary work from artist Anthony SummeyGods is already casting its shadow upon the Earth.

Here's how the blurb talks about that first issue, and indeed the book as a whole:

In a noirish modern re-imagining of H P Lovecraft's classic The Call of Cthulhu, one determined police detective investigates a series of horrific cult murders, only to discover that - in an age when technological marvels outstrip the wildest nightmares of the past - there may be worse to fear than even the return of a godlike horror from Earth's prehistory.

And that's all true, undoubtedly, but maybe it's not entirely what C21st Gods is about.  For me, it's also about horror the genre, and about the idea that sometimes horror isn't all that great a mirror to the things that actually, on a day to day basis, scare the hell out of us.  In particular, it came out of a realisation that The Call of Cthulhu just wouldn't work so well now, because as a species we've been busily cooking up atrocities that would make a semiaquatic, city block-high deity seem like small fry.  And how well would Lovecraftian cults fare in the age of global surveillance?  For that matter, how could one man caught in the midst be expected to make sense of any of it?  Just what is the correct response to threats so vast that you can't make sense of them, that perhaps don't make sense at all?

It never occurred to me until I wrote that last paragraph, but I can see now that that's where C21st Gods fits into the line-up at Rosarium.  Hell, I don't want to pretend that the book is astute social criticism or anything like that, but it's not quite the pulpy little bloodbath that this first issue suggests either.  (Though it definitely is that too - and on a side note, I've learned the hard way that if you've got a weak stomach, don't write horrible things in scripts that someone might then go on to draw, because you'll just end up freaking out over your own comic.)  I guess what I'm saying is, Gods is about pulp horror and also some big ideas about what's really scary in the twenty-first century, and if Anthony and I have done our jobs right then hopefully the result is a story that works on both of those levels.

Though, there's really no question that Anthony has nailed his part.  Just look at that cover!  And its heartening to see that the early reviews have been praising Anthony's work just as much as I've been, his contribution here alone is ample reason to pick up the book.  Which, oh right, was half the point of this post in the first place: C21st Gods is now available for review, here on Netgalley.  So if you're a reviewer then go grab a freebie copy.  And if you're not then please consider picking it up when issue one becomes available to buy on the ninth of November, which - and I've no idea if Bill realises this or not - happens to be my birthday.  What better present could you possibly give me than to buy the first issue of my new horror comic miniseries?

Yeah, that was a trick question.  The correct answer was a herd of capybaras and a garden big enough to keep them in.  But buying my comic book would be pretty cool too. 

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