Originally published in April 1929, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror was a work of pride for Lovecraft. Atmospheric, decrepit, and full of superstition, the story itself is iconic. It introduced a core Outer God entity, Yog-Sothoth to the Cthulhu Mytho, the Necronomicon makes a significant appearance throughout the story, and it helps solidify other aspects of the mythos, including Arkham, Miskatonic, and the town of Dunwich…all of which have become parts of games that we play and love, along with stage, film, and music.
In 2022, illustrator François Baranger released an illustrated novel of The Dunwich Horror, his 4th book of Lovecraft’s work, and it is a beautiful tome. This coffee table book tells the famous short story, but presents illustrations that help illuminate Lovecraft’s prose, really bringing to life the world around Dunwich and the story of the eventual tragedy and horrific events that occur in the book.
Mysterious figures dance around great bonfires at night outside of Dunwich, surrounded by blackbirds. A horrific creature breaks into the Miskatonic library, revealing yellow ichor, tentacles, and a goatish appearance. The town of Dunwich is broken, empty, filled with mist, the sound of breaking trees, and tarry deposits in a ruined farmhouse, with evidence of something unnaturally large moving through the environment.
And of course, the thrilling conclusion to The Dunwich Horror, in which our protagonists make a stand against a cosmic horror. I won’t spoil the book, but the illustrations add so much to this story, it was fantastic to read through. Normally, H.P. Lovecraft is a hard read. What he visioned, no one had ever thought of before. His imagination created things that are beyond our normal conception, and there weren’t movies or sourcebooks or art to help convey what he was thinking about, so this book helps in so many ways.
Baranger’s illustrations are dynamic, you can feel the environment in each panel. With that being said, all of the illustrations have a particular palette and feel to them, with a focus on realism. If you’re looking for a more artistic interpretation, this might not be the book for you. Personally, as a miniature painter, I really appreciate the realism presented, in particular the use of light and shadow.
I would recommend this book to fans of Lovecraft, horror, and atmospheric realism. As mentioned earlier, it’ll make a great coffee table book, and I look forward to more of his interpretations of Lovecraft’s work!
Randy is a designer, nerd, and mini painter. He's been painting since 2015, and has learned a lot in his time! Come with him as he continues to push his craft forward, always down to try new techniques, tools, and paints!
The Dunwich Horror
This beautifully illustrated version of the classic story would fit at home for any appreciator of H.P. Lovecraft.