04 June 2009

Richard Corben / William Hope Hodgeson: THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND

I've never understood the appeal of William Hope Hodgeson's House on the Borderland. Well, that's not entirely the case. I understand its appeal, but not relative to the obscurity in which most of Hodgeson's other, far stronger works seem to languish. I mean, the man could write a sea story. And a horror story. And a horrific sea story, horrific meaning horror-filled, not bad, because the last thing Hodgeson's writing ever is, is bad. Well...except for House on the Borderland. Which, again, isn't bad, but is thoroughly mediocre. And I mean thoroughly. There's not a single point in the (very short) book that jerked me upright and shouted, "Hey, this is some vintage Hodgeson right here!" No, not one. But whatever: apparently H.P. Lovecraft loved it, and who are we to shout down good old H.P. (never mind that he was a racist bastard in addition to be being a great writer, and thus cannot perhaps always be looked to when defining what is and isn't good taste). Which leads us to the graphic novelization of House on the Borderland, by Richard Corben. Corben makes some changes, modernizing the story a bit and speeding it up significantly, but doesn't change the fact that, relative to Hodgeson's other work, I find the whole thing to be nothing but, well, mediocre (sound familiar? That's because I'm repeating myself all too much). It doesn't help, I suppose, that I'm not a fan of Corben's art, which might otherwise have livened things up. Oh well; I give this a C+ only out of respect for the rest of the William Hope Hodgeson corpus.

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