This beautiful publication not only marks the first time writer and graphic artist Andreas’ work has been published in English, it also brings together his Cromwell Stone trilogy (Cromwell Stone , The Return of Cromwell Stone  and The Testament of Cromwell Stone ). The eponymous character is one of 13 men who, after surviving a maritime voyage in which a mysterious artefact is stolen, discovers his life is in grave danger. As his fellow surviving passengers begin disappearing in sinister circumstances, Stone vows to find out who, or indeed what, is behind the disappearances. What he discovers will enthral admirers of weird fiction, as Andreas weaves a spellbinding and chilling tale of forbidden knowledge, ancient otherworldly entities, strange cults, and alien worlds that lurk unseen on the periphery of our own.
On the surface the tales of Cromwell Stone appear to be a loving pastiche of the work of horror-fantasy authors such as HP Lovecraft, William Hope Hodgson (particularly his novel The House on the Borderland ) and Frank Belknap Long (notably his briny tales of maritime terrors). However, Andreas creates a world all his own, with enough intrigue and twists to ensure readers become immersed in the story, vividly brought to life by striking black-and-white hatchworked illustrations. The etched stylings of the artwork at times visually echo the engravings of Gustave Doré, as well as the work of Bernie Wrightson, particularly his graphic adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1983), with darkly dizzying detail in every panel.
Part prequel, part sequel, The Return of Cromwell Stone expands upon and enriches the mythology created in the original tale. By diving back into the story and depicting certain events that were alluded to in the first instalment, Andreas affords the reader a completely different vantage point of unfolding cosmic horror. The Return frequently poses as many questions as it answers, resulting in an utterly intriguing, beguiling read. There is also a backstory provided for the various alien entities that haunt his characters which, thankfully, does not diminish their sense of eerie awe. The Testament of Cromwell Stone offers further exploration of the incredible alien mythology. And, while a considerable amount of time passed between the creation and publication of each instalment, the flow and pace transitioning them is seamless.
With his trilogy, Andreas has created a warped and fabulously esoteric universe that fans of the weird will enjoy exploring. This Titan publication should hopefully introduce a whole new audience to his work.
26 Nov 2019