Writer - Alan Moore
Artist - Jacen Burrows
Colour - Juanmar
Publisher - Avatar Press
I first heard about Neonomican when there was a controversy over it being withdrawn from an American library due to complaints about it's content from the mother of a teenage girl who borrowed it. Whilst I disagree with the religious standpoint from which she argued, having now read it I can see why she disliked her daughter being able to read it. Having read it earlier this evening, I am still trying to digest what I have read and seen.
The story is based around the Cthuhlu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft, and brings a number of other authors and texts in to give it a decidedly literary feel, but the creeping, unseen horror so prevalent within the original stories pervades throughout, even when the terror is given a face. Whilst we do not see or encounter the Great Old One himself, we are given glimpses of creatures from the tales of Lovecraft, initially through a decidedly clever plot twist involving the perils of short-sightedness. These give enough of the style of the original tales for it to work wonderfully.
The story revolves around a number of unsolved murders and the FBI agents who are entrusted with finding the killer or killers. Whilst the book may start off in a fairly standard crime solving fashion, it soon takes a darker turn, which to remain spoiler free I will refrain from going in to. The book as a whole serves as a great example of how implied horror can be wholly more terrifying than the simply showing gore or torture. I am a great fan of this style, and would much rather be given the scope to fill in the blanks myself - which often enables me to scare myself more than any words or images could.
I am not sure that I could suggest other readers pick up this book, unless they want to be genuinely disturbed, as some of the darker twists that Moore takes you through are honestly disturbing, and the artwork - when it does show you some of the more twisted images - is pretty damn freaky. The book not only shows you the darker side of comic books, but it also explores some grander ideas about the nature of time and space, and our place within it. If you want a book that will disturb you and make you think, then by all means pick up Neonomicon. Just don't read it before bed time...