Friday, August 16, 2013

Review and Commentary on The Miskatonic Project Graphic Novel By Mark Ellis For Your Old School Horror Campaign

You can Download And Purchase this right over HERE
 According to the blurb on Amazon: 
Before the X-Files, before Torchwood, there was the Miskatonic Project! Dedicated to breaking the aeons-old power of ancient, alien entities, the Miskatonic Project battles the loathsome threat of Cthulhu and his unspeakable spawn! In H.P. Lovecraft's The Whisperer in Darkness, the Miskatonic Project faces an enemy of inhuman cunning whose power has never been directly challenged! Deep in the catacombs beneath legend-haunted New England hills, the final confrontation between Cthulhu's legions and the defenders of humanity begins! Featuring art by Don (Iron Man) Heck, Darryl (Green Lantern) Banks and Daryl (Crypt of Cthulhu) Hutchinson.
The Miskatonic Project came out in 1993 as a three issue limited comic book series from the pen of Mark Ellis and the imagination of Don Heck. The series flew into my comic box over at Smokey Joes  in Torrington,Ct. after I got back from a pretty awful turn of events in Boston. 

What Is The Miskatonic Project?
The Miskatonic Project was a small group of paranormal investigators from the special documents wing of the Miskatonic University library in Arkham. Well they're each investigators whose lives were touched by the Mythos. These brushes with the Great Old Ones in the past have had some very nasty effects on these folks. That's not say that they are victims. 
Long before Delta Green was even thought of. This comic series provided a blue print for running my Call of Cthulhu games with a slightly more heroic bent. The mini series was interesting because it ran right along side of the various HP Lovecraft events. 
These were folks who were trying to make a difference in a world where the Mythos wasn't simply on the rise it was ascending and causing some very nasty turns. The insanity was always lurking one step around the corner and the madness was bubbling below the surface of the series. 
Here's how the series stacked up according to Wiki: 
" Lord Justin Sabbath, Professor Augustus Grant, and psychic Fleur Avignon used the Miskatonic University as a base of operations. They worked closely with noted folklorist Professor Albert N. Wilmarth, who brought the Mi-Go to their attention."
 The mini series basically threaded its way in and out of the Lovecraft mythos stories. Familiar locations, objects of power, Old Ones, races all made their appearances. Again according to Wiki : 
The Mi-Go and their human collaborators were portrayed as paving the way for the return of the Old Ones, including Cthulhu. Inspector John Raymond Legrasse, the New Orleans police officer who first appeared in Lovecraft's inaugural Cthulhu story, "The Call of Cthulhu", appears in the second chapter.
So it was a fun read to connect the dots with the Chaosium game. 

Using  The Miskatonic Project For Your Old School Horror Game 
The Miskatonic Project ran from December 1991 - April 1992 and it was very solidly written. The series definitely has a pulp flavor and treaded some pretty dark ground even back then. The books were put into the adult section right next to some of the White Wolf Games. This was cutting edge stuff for 1991. 
Much of the time I had the players dealing with some of the fall out from the Project. There would often be loose ends that the graphic novel didn't really go into. This was a limited series and therefore left out some of the events that were happening in the Lovecraft stories. The trick was to pick up where the story ended and bring in the investigators to deal with the Lovecraftian menace. The Kingsport Archives became a thorn in the side of Miskatonic and there was a confrontation with Lord Justin Sabbath. The Archives dealt with things a bit more harshly and certain men in high places paid the right people to look the other way when 'special jobs' needed to be done.
Very important top men who had dealt with the Innsmouth affair. The 'Archives' often seemed to take up the slack in New England when the Project was off in some other part of the world.  My advice would be to use the project sparingly if at all. 

Looking At The Miskatonic Project Graphic Novel By Mark Ellis 

The graphic novel clocks in at 128 pages black and white. I've only reread the series. It's a pretty timeless comic mini series. The book does hit the high points and its a very interesting read after all these years. There's definitely a blue print for the world of Ellis's take on the Mythos. The book is tight, fast, and good reliable read. That being said with Delta Green out today and the amount of Mythos related stuff from Pagan Press. The Project might be a cool addition to those who want a bit of a different take on Lovecraft. Its worth a look at.
 You can get the graphic novel on paper right over HERE


  1. This looks great. I really enjoyed the copy of Nosferatu that you reviewed, so picking up a copy of this is definitely going on my to-do list.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it Tom. There are others in the series which I'll be picking up as soon as they see the light of day! Thanks for the comment and more to come!