The hallucinated T1&2 mountains of Gou Tanabe


#BD. Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s works, which are reputed to be unsuitable, fascinate creators who regularly rub shoulders with his texts. From Alberto Breccia and his ghostly creatures to Richard Corben and his rehearsals; from thoughtful adaptations by Mathieu Sapin & Patrick Pion to the unhealthy reappropriations by Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows, not to mention the dozens of others he inspired: the writer from Providence left a profound mark in comic strips. The mangaka Gou Tanabe embarked on the adventure in 2014 and has made his place among the best adapters of the work. And this, by taking a lot of freedom on the text, a daring bet that works.

Ki-oon, its French publisher, has chosen to start with Les Montagnes hallucinées, the most famous and inspiring text (think of Carpenter’s The Thing or Ridley Scott’s Alien) and will soon offer Dans l’abîme du temps (for September) in the same collection. An imitation leather dashboard cover, medium and dense format, this “Lovecraft masterpieces” collection is positioned from these first two volumes as heritage works benefiting from the writer’s notoriety and the virtuoso graphic style of mangaka. The Moloss, The Colour Fallen from the Sky (the scariest news I think, and you can trust me, I received them all recently) or The One Who Haunted the Darkness have already been published in Japan and we imagine their coming to us soon in front of the success of the first volume of the hallucinated Mountains.

If The Call of Cthulhu, Lovecraft’s other great narrative, is being adapted in Japan, Gou Tanabe has enough to experiment with the Pope’s complete work of unspeakable horror. A good starting point for the Mountains, whether you know Lovecraft or not, because it is one of his most dense texts, which offers a great adventure, a very gloomy mystery, a cosmogony by line and a vicious ending. Perfect then, embark for the South Pole, between white desert and black mountains, on board a scientific mission that will fall on an unknown civilization, with a busy past that could return to the present..

With a surgical style, a very technical and detailed feature and a sober staging, he managed to put in image the anguishing atmospheres, the heavy atmosphere and the unease that emerges from these texts. Its rather classical layout, coupled with a staging where it alternates details and grandiose double pages, allows it to give a literary tone without stylistic effects that would blur the narrative. Accustomed to horrific manga, he plays on silences, waiting and transitions to keep us on our toes and concentrates his energy on restoring creatures and landscapes, between realism and the necessary blurring: the great challenge of adaptation. With great precision, he managed to reproduce Lovecraft’s grandiloquent climbing in the decorum and presentation of the premises and found interesting ideas in the characters’ designs without showing too much.

A good choice if you like horror or fantasy stories, if you want to introduce someone close to you to the world of Lovecraft or if you want to rediscover some of the pleasure of this long story. We are waiting for the next volumes to see how the mangaka manages with the rest of the writer’s mythology.

Thomas Mourier

Les montagnes hallucinées T1&2 de Gou Tanabe, Editions Ki-oon

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