I’m the mom that brings her toddler to playgroup in a Cthulhu onesie. Come on, if you’ve heard a toddler speak, you know for sure that they could be talking to the Ancient One himself, right? When I saw Arcane Secrets: The Curse of the Mottled Tentacle, I was, initially, insanely excited. Lovecraft for kids? Bring it on!
The only problem is, the book left me cold. It just didn’t interest me, it didn’t pull me in. I don’t expect to see The Great Cthulhu rising from the ocean and driving people insane on page one, but the storyline just didn’t connect with me, and I’m not sure it will connect with kids, either. Angel Svoboda takes on the task of making Lovecraft’s writing make sense to a child by making the names a bit easier to pronounce – Cthulhu becomes Xulu, for instance.
Svoboda also makes the storyline accessible to kids by bringing it to the basics: good guys and bad buys both want a magic piece of tentacle (Lovecraft alert!), the Finger of Curran. The bad guys worship Xulu, and are trying to get to the tentacle to help them release monsters into the world. There’s not a lot of linearity to the overall story, but the overall good versus evil theme, with funny situations like plant afros growing on investigator’s heads and a little, green tentacle-y guy named Elvis thrown into the mix, will appeal to younger readers.
While the story may have left me a little cold, the art is great. It’s bright, kid-friendly, and pops off the page. There are a lot of bright greens and purples to catch the eye, and the characters are cartoony enough to keep kids turning pages. The monsters aren’t terrifying, they’re goofy. Angel Svoboda also does the art for this book, and it’s fantastic.
I will likely pick up the next issue of Arcane Secrets, because I want to see where Svoboda is going with this story. Things tend to need an issue or two to work out the kinks. If you’re a Lovecraft fan, give it a shot – maybe this is your book, or a way for you to introduce this kind of storytelling to the kids in your life. If you’re not a Lovecraft fan, some of the story may go over your head, or you may just dive right in and work it all out. Either way, it’s a solid effort that deserves another look.
ARCANE SECRETS #1
Writer: Angel Svoboda
Artist: Angel Svoboda
Publisher: Amigo Comics
Release Date: Aug. 28, 2013
Diamond ID: JUN130722