Comic book: Gou Tanabe: H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness (Dark Horse, 2019)
H.P. Lovecraft’s novella At the Mountains of Madness has been blessed with really good comics adaptations in the past but Gou Tanabe’s two-volume manga beats all of them in sheer atmosphere and architectural terror. As always, an expedition from the Miskatonic University arrives in Antarctica, exploring the continent using airplanes, a novel technology at the time when the story was originally written. They discover an ancient city created by mysterious beings and eventually terrible horrors within its depths.
In this adaptation, the story benefits from a higher page count making it possible to spend time on the landscapes, the mountains and the glaciers. The alien city often appears genuinely mindbending on the page, like looking at something your brain doesn’t quite know how to resolve.
The haunted eyes of the protagonists become a familiar sight while reading the story but its easy to emphasize with them. When the murals depicting the history of the Elder Things are discovered, they’re depicted in loving an exhaustive detail, with a cosmic scope that few Lovecraft adaptations even attempt.
Antarctica itself becomes a site of terror and death that doesn’t let go even after the characters have returned home.