Conveying cosmicism: visual interpretations of Lovecraft

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Lovecraft’s fiction, distinguished by awe-inspiring landscapes, spectacular monsters and earth-shattering events, has long enjoyed a reputation for conveying an atmosphere of dread. In tale after tale, whether set in his native New England or in far-flung wilderness spaces, Lovecraft’s evocative prose aims to facilitate textual encounters with a world beyond the realm of known human experience. Lovecraft’s legacy, propelled by disturbing images of monstrosity and powerful notions of cosmicism, has found new forms of artistic expression well into the twenty-first century. Playing out across a wide variety of media formats, franchises like Hellboy and Locke & Key and works such as Lovecraft Country, to name but a few, pay homage to, or take inspiration from, established visual and thematic aspects of Lovecraft’s works. In this essay, it is my intention to examine adaptations of one of Lovecraft’s most celebrated short stories “The Colour Out of Space” (1927), focusing on film and comics. Acknowledging cosmicism as an integral aspect of Lovecraft’s legacy, and examining how this might be expressed in fiction, I will consider how this tale translates into other media formats. Looking first at cosmicism and then at adaptation, I will then turn attention to Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space (2019), and “The Colour Out of Space” included in Self Made Hero’s The Lovecraft Anthology I (2011), to argue that a Lovecraftian atmosphere is nurtured in each text according to its medium-specific qualities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Medial Afterlives of H. P. Lovecraft: Comic, Film, Podcast, TV, Games
EditorsTim Lanzendörfer, Max José Dreysse Passos de Carvalho
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783031137648
ISBN (Print)9783031137655
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2023

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Adaptation and Visual Culture
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

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