Robert W. Chambers classic The King in Yellow is considered essential reading by connoisseurs of supernatural and psychological horror. It’s a collection of stories that introduce an interesting concept: there is a play, called the The King in Yellow, which should never be read. Those who become drawn in by it tend to become insane, typically in the most violent and disturbing way. Chambers’ stories explore a world in which such a play exists, and it’s regarded as an excellent example of a ‘harmful meme’ horror story and has influenced everyone from The Blue Oyster Cult to the producers of the TV show True Detectives, and is one of core elements behind the Cthulhu mythos.
I.N.J. Culbard has adapted four of Chamber’s stories into a graphic novel format; The Repairer of Reputations, The Mask, The Yellow Sign and In the Court of The Dragon. The other stories in Chambers’ collection aren’t really connected to each other, so we can understand why they’ve been ignored.
Culbard’s artwork cleverly blends the tone of Chambers’ prose throughout. It’s bright when it needs to be, darker during key story points, and downright creepy in all the right places. We get a feel for both 1920s Paris and New York, and as the story builds up we get further and further drawn in. Culbard perfectly preserves the wonder of Chambers’ original style, only adding his own spark and genius when required.
By treating each story as its own separate thing, and yet allowing the art style to remain consistent from beginning to end, Culbard stitches together these stories into a singular and outstanding work. The result is gloriously disturbing. From the prose-heavy optimism at the beginning, to the near wordless descent into madness at the end, I.N.J. Culbard takes the reader on a nightmare rollercoaster ride.
If you’re a fan of all things ‘Creepy Pasta’ and yet haven’t checked out the classics in the field, then you need this book. Any fan of horror should have at least one copy of The King in Yellow in their collection. Get it, read it, and come join us in Lost Carcosa.COMIC BOOK REVIEW: THE KING IN YELLOW / AUTHOR: W.S. CHAMBERS, I.N.J. CULBARD / ARTIST: I.N.J. CULBARD / PUBLISHER: SELFMADEHERO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW