The Cats of Ulthar, Page 3

The Cats of Ulthar, Page 3

It’s the latest page of my quick & dirty “The Cats of Ulthar” adaptation! The Dark Wanderers arrive in town. Reading Lovecraft’s story, it’s pretty clear the Dark Wanderers are intended to be Ancient Egyptians (an echo of the Medieval belief that the Gypsies were Egyptian, hence the name ‘Gypsies), but they’re also probably influenced by the Wanderers, that “weird, dark tribe” described in Lord Dunsany’s Idle Days on the Yann. The Wanderers tame snakes and wear turbans, though, so they seem more Indian/Arabesque.

Incidentally, Gary Myers’ short story “The Loot of Golthoth” (in his long OOP Dreamlands story collection The House of the Worm) is a semi-sequel to this story, in that it describes what happened to the Dark Wanderers after they left Ulthar. (And it isn’t nice.) In Myers’ story, Golthoth is the Dreamlands analogue of Egypt. When I was drawing my map of the Dreamlands, though, I forgot about that (and also, I felt sorry for the Wanderers), so I drew Khem, a direct Ancient Egypt analogue, to the south of Ulthar and Dylath-Leen. (Since, I figured, real places from history live on in the Dreamlands, my way of answering S.T. Joshi’s ‘these stories took place in the past, not the Dreamlands’ criticism. In the super-nerdy spirit of trying to reconcile every possible contradiction, maybe (1) The people who left Golthoth long ago FOUNDED Khem. (2) Or alternately, Khem came first, and exiles or colonists from Khem were the ones who founded Golthoth. Or maybe (3) it’s all a coincidence. Clearly this question is best resolved in a new “Dreamlands” RPG supplement.

Incidentally, I want to give a shout-out to Gary Myers, the only Arkham House writer who wrote stories set in HP Lovecraft’s Dreamlands (aside from Brian Lumley, but I’m not a fan of his Dreamlands stuff). I was lucky enough to have a copy of Myers’ book The House of the Worm as a kid, since my dad (who loved Arkham House and used to talk about the time he had called them on the phone and gotten to talk to August Derleth) ordered it from their catalog and got it for me as a Christmas present when I was in junior high. Looking back, the stories are very repetitive and the book is very short, but it creates a cumulative, ritualistic, creepy feeling, especially with the scratchy, detailed little pen-and-ink illustrations by Allan Servoss (which were an influence on my own art style at the time). I hope Myers eventually releases his follow-up/collection book, “The Country of the Worm.”

The book arrived in Christmas 1987, the same year my brother got “Metroid.” I sat down and read “The House of the Worm” that afternoon while my brother played Metroid, whose title music by Hirokazu Tanaka I have forever associated with Gary Myers. To me, it has the same mix of creepiness, and the sense that the whole thing sort of takes place in a dollhouse, a game with toys in a circumscribed, 8-bit space.

Discussion (7)¬

  1. Gillsing says:

    I noticed that the “DreamQuestCover-PrinterFile-Small.jpg” image that is shown on the left is 2 MB. That’s not what I would call “small” considering the size on the screen, so maybe that’s not intentional?

    Keep up the good work! I’m enjoying your D&D stuff as well. :-)

  2. J42 says:

    I’ve just scrawled through all of your Lovecraft sketches. I love how they have so much character while staying faithfully inhuman and alien, I’m so inspired. Thank you for being awesome.

  3. @Gillsing – Good catch! I better shrink that down to save everyone’s bandwidth (including mine). I’ve just finished up a big new D&D project, hope you like it when it’s online!

    @J42 – Thanks for the kind words!! More Lovecraft comics coming soon!

  4. Gary Myers says:

    Shouting out right back at you, Jason! Jenn and I still recall fondly our sitting in at your gaming session at the last NecronomiCon. Can it really be going on twelve years ago? I stumbled on your site awhile ago and drop in on it from time to time. I find many things to like, but particularly your Dreamlands map, so much so that I appropriated it for my story website. This is not really a website, mind you, since it is only accessible by me and on my own computer. But your map is the first thing I see as I go in. Oh, and The Country of the Worm came out yesterday as an Amazon Kindle publication. But don’t worry, I am pretty sure there is nothing in it that requires you to change your map.

  5. Dear Gary — Thank you so much for the comment! I really enjoy your stories set in the modern day too, which I remember you reading at NecronomiCon way back in — was it really 2001!?! I’m about to send you an email too, and about to go buy The Country of the Worm!

  6. mithril says:

    black kittens in ulthar seem a theme of sorts for lovecraft.. there is one in the dream-quest as well, and it being eyed by the zoogs as a meal is what kicked off the war between cats and zoogs.

    (speaking of which, i’d envisioned the Zoogs as having some sort of bug or moth like wings, explaining why they seem to be “fluttering” all the time..)

  7. Jason says:

    I never thought of them having moth-like wings (and probosci?), but that’s an awesome idea!