What if Doctor Seuss channeled H.P. Lovecraft?
January 30, 2016 7:10 AM   Subscribe

That's just adorable.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:24 AM on January 30, 2016

The text's not really very Seussian, but the illustrations are bang-on.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:30 AM on January 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

In the comments the creator says there will be a hard copy for purchase "soon". I will buy ten copies and give them to all my friends who have young children.

I know Lovecraft was a gross bigot and the majority of his tales are basically riffs on the idea that "knowledge will fuck you up and you should avoid it by locking it up in strongboxes" which is a savagely stupid idea...but Call of Cthulhu is still a ripping great yarn in spite of these things.
posted by Doleful Creature at 7:46 AM on January 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

the majority of his tales are basically riffs on the idea that "knowledge will fuck you up and you should avoid it by locking it up in strongboxes" which is a savagely stupid idea

I don't think this is true. Lovecraft's main theme, it seems to me, is the inevitability of displacement, madness and destruction as a result of our place in a universe that does not care about us, our morality or our aspirations. You can't choose to avoid knowledge, knowledge will choose you, simply by virtue of your humanity (or unhumanity). Over and over, Lovecraft's protagonists (and even antagonists, think of the sad and pathetic fate of poor Wilbur Whately or the revelation of what must have really happened to Asenath Waite) are trapped by forces that they did not yet set in motion and can never stop. Fleeing into "a new dark age" represents a momentary escape, on a cosmic scale. Humanity will be ground to dust, as will even the most daring and powerful of alien forces (where are the Elder Things now?).

But Lovecraft write about those things because he loves them, and is fascinated by them, as well as because he is terrified of them. Abdul Alhazred isn't just a useful nonsense name to pin the authorship of the Necronomicon on, he was also Lovecraft's childhood pseudonym. Lovecraft is no more the prophet of doom, warning us against further trespass, than he is the maniac inviting us to push further into madness, tempted by the wonders that it offers (consider the final reflections of the narrator in The Shadow over Innsmouth).

Lovecraft clearly lived in profound fear of great swathes of humanity, of many of life's realities and sometimes of the world itself, he was a notable racist bigot in a notably racist and bigoted age, he had beliefs that disgusted many then and cannot fail but repulse us now, but he also clearly had great love for many of his fellow creatures, and for much of the world he lived in. The greatness of central key body of work comes as much from this complex and deeply uncomfortable character as from his frequently and misguidedly derided literary talent. He was not a good man, by the standards of any age, although he had good qualities, but I maintain that his continued and growing popularity is testament to the fact that he was a great writer.
posted by howfar at 8:26 AM on January 30, 2016 [31 favorites]

I really, really wish people would learn that poetry is about more than just end-rhyme. Bad meter can make something almost impossible to read.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:01 AM on January 30, 2016 [22 favorites]

posted by Cookiebastard at 9:07 AM on January 30, 2016 [13 favorites]

A fetid, eldritch horror by any other name ...?
posted by Chitownfats at 9:28 AM on January 30, 2016

nth the idea that I love this idea and the images are spot on, but the writing needs a serious edit/revision pass to properly flow. You should tumble through the verses on each page and be propelled into each page turn by the rhythm of the words.
posted by meinvt at 10:21 AM on January 30, 2016

I would not, could not on the docks
Would not, could not on tidal rocks
I do not like to sleep with fishes
Regardless of the Deep Ones' wishes
posted by logicpunk at 11:15 AM on January 30, 2016 [14 favorites]

I've always been vaguely horrified by Wacky Wednesday. You just know that the stars have maligned in that one, Cthulhu's no longer asleep, reality itself is warping, and everyone's minds are melting.
posted by meehawl at 11:28 AM on January 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Personally I preferred the webcomic "Call of Cthulhu: The Musical", with all its musical numbers set to familiar tunes, starting with this (to the tune of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious")
"Miskatonic University caused his psychosis
'Divorced from all reality' is the doctor's diagnosis"

Sadly, the cartoonist abandoned the project a year-and-a-half ago (and in the middle of a cliffhanger without a musical number).
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:21 PM on January 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really, really wish people would learn that poetry is about more than just end-rhyme. Bad meter can make something almost impossible to read.

Yeah, Seuss was an astonishing wordsmith and this is regrettably cloth-eared.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:38 PM on January 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

To be more positive; while we're on strange yet awesome Lovecraftiana, Cthulhu Rising is an astonishing album of Lovecraft jazz from Wellington drummer Reuben Bradley.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:42 PM on January 30, 2016

I actually think HPL might have enjoyed Doctor Seuss. He certainly liked writing lurid poems...for example Hallowe’en in a Suburb:
The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
And the harpies of upper air,
That flutter and laugh and stare.

For the village dead to the moon outspread
Never shone in the sunset’s gleam,
But grew out of the deep that the dead years keep
Where the rivers of madness stream
Down the gulfs to a pit of dream.

A chill wind weaves thro’ the rows of sheaves
In the meadows that shimmer pale,
And comes to twine where the headstones shine
And the ghouls of the churchyard wail
For harvests that fly and fail.

Not a breath of the strange grey gods of change
That tore from the past its own
Can quicken this hour, when a spectral pow’r
Spreads sleep o’er the cosmic throne
And looses the vast unknown.

So here again stretch the vale and plain
That moons long-forgotten saw,
And the dead leap gay in the pallid ray,
Sprung out of the tomb’s black maw
To shake all the world with awe.

And all that the morn shall greet forlorn,
The ugliness and the pest
Of rows where thick rise the stones and brick,
Shall some day be with the rest,
And brood with the shades unblest.

Then wild in the dark let the lemurs bark,
And the leprous spires ascend;
For new and old alike in the fold
Of horror and death are penn’d,
For the hounds of Time to rend.
posted by howfar at 1:35 PM on January 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

The art was perfect, but then, Seussian illustrations were always more unsettling than anything out of Lovecraft. Look at that telescope! Squicky geometry that's 100% Seuss, 0% R'lyeh.
posted by postcommunism at 1:38 PM on January 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

It's not that the writing is terribly bad,
It's just that reading it will drive you -- quite mad!
posted by CCBC at 1:49 PM on January 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

The Mini Mythos line of books does something similar, with titles like Where The Deep Ones Are and Cliffourd, The Big Red God.
posted by brianrobot at 2:39 PM on January 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is painful. Writing metered verse is difficult and if you're not going to take the time to do it right, don't do it at all. You are ruining rhyming poetry and insulting the memory of Seuss. May the Muses, who are much more kick-ass than Cthulhu, descend upon you and tear your liver out.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:14 PM on January 30, 2016

It's so frustrating! He clearly has read about what he's meant to be doing, but he just can't manage it. He says "anapestic tetrameter" in the interview. And then he breaks the metre in the second line. On the second page he ends a line with "carelessly", an amphimacer, which clearly can never end any anapestic line. It's ridiculous. If you can identify the metre you're meant to be using you need to make sure you can work out if you're doing it properly, especially after you've put in so much work on these fantastic drawings.

If you read this, Mr Ivankovic, get in touch, I'll help you fix it.
posted by howfar at 5:02 PM on January 30, 2016

Er, not that I'm trying to play mythological one-upmanship or anything, and no offense intended to Calliope, Thalia and their esteemed colleagues, but Cthulhu fully awakening is a world-ending event. You'd be lucky to get out of that only missing yer liver.
posted by JHarris at 5:05 PM on January 30, 2016

The Very Hungry Cthulhupillar
posted by radwolf76 at 6:33 PM on January 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

shakespeherian: "I really, really wish people would learn that poetry is about more than just end-rhyme. Bad meter can make something almost impossible to read."

I can't nth this enough. I truly cannot stand bad meter. It's a shame, though, because as others have said, the illustrations are genius. The text, however, is atrocious and insulting to Seuss.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:24 PM on January 30, 2016

I was sad to learn recently that they are actually licensing Dr. Seuss's name and characters for junk like There's No Place Like Space, which felt like a phoned-in first draft with zero sense of meter, much less any interesting detail or sense of wonder about the planets. Mr. Ivankovic's effort doesn't look so bad in comparison.
posted by mubba at 9:04 AM on January 31, 2016

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