Written by: James Keen
“We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom.” – T.P. Louise.
Broadly speaking this is a fascinating premise from the husband/wife creative team of Wood and Louise. Louise has taken a central and fairly simplistic narrative conceit and stretched it out over 280-plus pages in this handsomely presented graphic novel; coupled with Wood’s considerable illustrating skills this is an intriguing reading experience, though it is at times oddly uneven in its overall implementation.
‘Lore’ is the tale of Jennifer Bradley’s increasingly bizarre journey to discern the reasons for her father’s mysterious death. While Jennifer discovers the odd activities her father participated in, Louise casts the narrative net wider to include an over-arching threat to modern society. Through colorful vignettes spread across the globe it appears that the planet is experiencing something of a wake-up call. Mythological beings are reported appearing from disparate locations, creating sanguinary havoc, decimating villages and towns. As the regularity of these destructive forces increase, Jennifer comes to realize that the strange nature of her father’s demise is inextricably linked to the escalating supernatural events unfolding around the world.
Award winning artist Wood implements a variety of artistic materials and creative methodologies to set the tone for the book’s run and, by and large, it’s an impressive effort. Using oil paints, digital photography and El Greco-style expressionism the reader should be dazzled by the dark imagery that accompanies the text but where the art flounders is arguably where Woods has allowed himself a little too much artistic lassitude; some images are lazily rendered impressionistic primary colored scrawls, adding very little to the compelling flow of Louise’s narrative. Though essentially presented as a graphic novel, there are great swatches of text to absorb here, with Wood’s fine arts skills almost entirely absent for pages on end. Indeed, there’s a sense here, in places, that the epic scope of the narrative may have overwhelmed both creative parties in places; in particular Wood’s suggestive scribbles midway in the tale hint at something akin to a kind of creative weariness.
Getting on for ten years old now since its inception, this project is a markedly original approach to tackling standard horror tropes and using them to explore collective societal apathy on a global scale and the presumptuous arrogance seemingly built into the human race that promises only to inculcate more misery.
As something of an editorial postscript to this quick analysis, the reviewer would like to draw the readers attention to the rather dismal fact that this property is currently under development as a big budget movie franchise for the remarkably quotidian talents of a certain Dwayne Johnson (apologies for the oxymoron), pitched as it is at the moment as a project not dissimilar to the ‘Men In Black’ films. Given the apparent ‘talent’ attached to this project, you’ll perhaps forgive this reviewer’s distinct lack of enthusiasm though I would like to suggest a possible alternative title for this prospective celluloid adaptation; The Bonfire Of The Mythologies.