H. P. LOVECRAFT’s “Beyond the Wall of Sleep.” Short story. Adapted in graphic format Lovecraft in Full Color #2. Adventure Comics [an imprint of Malibu Comics], March 1992. Writer: Steven Philip Jones. Pencils & inks: Octavio Cariello. Reprinted in H.P. Lovecraft’s Worlds – Volume One (Caliber Comics, paperback, June 2019).

   “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” is one of H. P. Lovecraft’s earliest stories, written in Spring 1919 and first published in the amateur publication Pine Cones in October 1919. It has been reprinted many times since and is probably still in print today, over a hundred years later.

   In this particular comic, it’s been updated to what was present day at the time (1992), and while it’s told in a somewhat disjointed form, the story is still very much recognizable from the one Lovecraft first created. A university researcher is trying to find ways to read the minds of others, and in what may be a breakthrough, connects with a being somewhere in the cosmos through the mind of crazed killer named Joe Slaader, a denizen of the deep Catskill hills, a man suffering from dementia who likely never been more than five miles from where he was born.

   Slaader is dying, but has a history of visions and delusions, and somehow the researcher has tapped into that. And at least for the short time before Slaader dies, the researcher finds himself “not a stranger in this Elysian realm,” but looking out upon Earth from somewhere near the star Algol. Slaader is dead, but his life of torment on this world is over.

   The story is short, the adaptation is clunky and difficult to follow, but there’s a magic to it that somehow neither the telling nor the sketchy artwork can hide. It may, paradoxically, add to it.

   

   Other Lovecraft stories adapted in this series:

1. “The Lurking Fear.”
2. “Beyond the Wall of Sleep.”
3. “The Tomb.”
4. “The Alchemist.”