What I thought of Providence #1

providence

 

The long awaited new comic by Alan Moore is here, and here’s Avatar’s blurb for it.

The most important work of 2015 begins here with the long-awaited arrival of Alan Moore’s breathtaking epic PROVIDENCE with his artistic partner Jacen Burrows. In his most carefully considered work in decades, Moore deconstructs all of Lovecraft’s concepts, reinventing the entirety of his work inside a painstakingly researched framework of American history. Both sequel and prequel to NEONOMICON, PROVIDENCE begins in 1919 and blends the mythical visions of HPL flawlessly into the cauldron of racial and sexual intolerance that defined that era on the East Coast of America. Every line from artist Jacen Burrows is perfectly honed to complete this immersive experience. The result is a breathtaking masterpiece of sequential art that will define modern horror for this generation. Invoking a comparison it to a prior literary masterpiece is not something to be handled lightly, but in scope, importance and execution: Providence is the Watchmen of horror.

I’ll be blunt here. I thought Neonomicon was a comic that crossed a few major lines in terms of depictions of rape, and although it was a perfectly well constructed comic, I felt Moore made some blunders regarding his portrayals of women in this series. Frankly, it offended me (which was part of the point) but as a comic it sent out some very dangerous messages. I felt Moore was a bit of clunking iron fist in his characterisation. So Providence could be something that for me redeems that series as Providence is as the pitch says, a prequel and a sequel to that work.

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The first thing is that Moore has the artist Jacen Burrows (possibly best known for his work on the first Crossed series with Garth Ennis) stick to a four panel page, so time isn’t slowed down as much as say in Watchmen’s famous nine panel grid, but the effect it has here is to pace things very methodically, and making the lead character, Robert Black, a journalist is a smart move as it allows Moore to have a character that can move around meeting people naturally.

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Much of this issue is just character and scene building. Moore reveals enough of black for us to understand his life and his aspirations but as the issue goes on something starts to be hinted at. As this is a comic drawn from the life and work of HP Lovecraft, it’s easy to say it’s Lovecraftian horror, but it feel more like something from David Lynch in it’s almost contemporary nature.

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Providence #1 is very much Moore placing characters where he wants them, though as someone not too familiar with Lovecraft I get the impression there’s an awful lot going on here that is astonishingly meaningful to Lovecraft fans, but even if there is I enjoyed this issue immensely. Yes, nothing really happens and it really does need a second read to pick a couple of plot points up but it’s worth putting the graft into this as it’s promising to say the very least so I look forward to seeing where this all goes next issue.

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14 thoughts on “What I thought of Providence #1

  1. Pingback: What I thought of Providence #2 | My Little Underground

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  4. Thanks for your interesting thoughts on Providence! I came to the story with much the same mindset you did–I absolutely loathed Neonomicon, but Moore and Lovecraft seem like such a great combination I wanted to give him another chance. I’m still not sure how I feel about the series: you’re right about the slow building of dread, but at the same time #4, in which something bad ALMOST happened, has been the most interesting so far, which is not a good sign. Still, it will be interesting to see where Moore and Burrows take “the Herald-man” next!

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