Saturday, September 24, 2022

SCARY FUN from Will Murray: THE WILD ADVENTURES OF CTHULHU


Will Murry’s new story collection
The Wild Adventures of Cthulhu is both FUN and SCARY. But since it’s more fun than scary, we’ll start there—with the FUN part.

Until now, my familiarity with the Cthulhu Mythos was limited to the 1930s. Having read all the important works of H.P. Lovecraft and his friends Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, I saw all this Cthulhu business as a thing of the past.

I was wrong. Apparently, this Mythos has been gathering steam ever since, and an ever-growing legion of writers have chronicled the presence of Cthulhu and the Old Ones in the modern world. That long list of writers includes such names as Harlan Ellison, Stephen King, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, Brian Stableford, Philip Jose Farmer and . . . Will Murray.

The stories in this volume bring those ancient beings out of Lovecraft’s fevered dreams and into our own reality, where they are still very much to be feared. Several tales involve a government organization called the National Reconnaissance Office (Murray’s own creation), tasked with dealing with those bad boys…or trying to. When NRO agents go out on assignment, they’re given one-way tickets because so few return.

These stories take us all over the globe: A science station in Antarctica. A musty museum in Rhode Island. International waters off the coasts of Japan and Korea. Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts. The Rock of Gibraltar, Washington D.C., the Arctic Circle, and all the way to the Dark Upper Reaches accessible only through remote viewing.

There are no happy endings here. Mankind and/or the earth is obliterated no fewer than four times over the course of these ten stories. But it’s a lot of fun seeing how it happens, how we puny earthlings struggle to deal with it, and how the author ties it all in with Lovecraft’s creations.

The SCARY part of all this is the author himself. To the world at large, Will Murray is known as a multi-talented author, able to relate the adventures of Doc Savage, Tarzan, The Spider, the Destroyer, Sherlock Holmes and other heroes with equal dexterity. Until now, I considered him merely an extremely talented human being. Now I’m not so sure.

By his own admission, Murray moonlights as a professional medium, is a trained remote viewer, a cartomancer, and claims “other arcane accomplishments.” Along with such subjects as astronomy, archaeology, art, sound waves, global warming and viruses (both computer and biological), the stories in this book display a fearful knowledge of such esoteric matters as astral projection, the zodiac, tarot, cartomancy, psychic abilities, post-mortem contact, and, of course, the Necronomicon.  

So I have to wonder. If truly human, might Mr. Murray be a descendant of that dreaded tome’s author, Abdul Alharzed, with a moldy copy hidden under his bed? Or is he something more—an earthly agent of Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlahotep, or even one of the mysterious spawn of Cthulhu? This would explain his uncanny abilities as a writer, but the ramifications are almost to terrifying to contemplate.

Just to be on the safe side (and for 217 pages of creepy fun), I suggest to purchase a copy of this book immediately. Because if you don't Murray's All-Seeing Eye will know

Friday, September 23, 2022

JOHNNY CRAIG and "The Idol's Revenge" (1949)

Here's another swell silverprint. The story appeared in War Against Crime #10, from Dec. 1949-Jan. 1950. History tells us the colorist (maybe even Marie Severin) marked up these pages for the printer, but the real story is that she (or he) did it just to bedevil Cap'n Bob Napier, knowing he'd be straining his peepers to read the story here 72 years later.