This was a Kickstarter commission, and it was very fun. The original request was to draw the Great Old Ones playing poker, but I threw in Nyarlathotep, who is technically an Other God (or perhaps the second-most-powerful being in the universe, or perhaps the most, or perhaps who knows?). He just seemed like the one who would be most at home in a poker game, although obviously he has blown himself up to colossal size here, or else the other creatures have all squeezed their protean bulk down to human size, so as to fit at the poker table.

Tsathoggua is an obvious inclusion whenever I think of the Great Old Ones: he’s just so frickin’ awesome. CAN’T GET ENOUGH TSATHOGGUA. I could have left out the bat-ears, or made him hairier, but since he is a shapeshifter such little details change from encounter to encounter. And I’m sure he’s a very good poker player, as he loves sedentary scheming and toying with people. Cthulhu — well, of course he wouldn’t be left out of game. Y’golonac is certainly a cunning player as well, and as he/she/it is such a sensualist, no doubt there are many emptied bottles of brandy, and other pleasures of the flesh, scattered around the game room offscreen. Glaaki, on the other hand — who let that dude play? Perhaps Tsathoggua might have been the only one who would have even considered letting Glaaki down gently and suggesting he spend the evening swimming or counting zombies rather than this kind of strenuous mental activity. But in the end he/it, and the others, will gladly help themselves to Glaaki’s money. The real question, though, is whether any of them can beat Nyarlathotep.

BTW, now seems like as good a time as any to mention that Ramsey Campbell is my favorite horror novelist, and was in fact the gateway drug that led my 12-year-old self away from purely Lovecraft-related horror fiction into the somewhat wider world of general horror. I’ve read almost all of his novels, and they’re great. And although he moved successfully away from giant monsters in his mature work, in his adolescent Lovecraft work he’s really good at coming up with just plain weird and strange-shaped alien beings. So, props to him on many levels.

If you’re still reading, hit the ‘previous’ button and check out the second page of my “Doom That Came to Sarnath” adaptation!