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CAS in the Comics
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 15 August, 2014 12:41PM
A little while back I was collecting some materials for an article on CAS in the Comics, but research sort of stalled out (I bought an obscenely expensive book from France which has consumed most of my disposable income), so I figured I'd post what I have here and maybe some other people can chime in on it. Some of these are already mentioned in the bibliography on this site, some are not. Most of you will probably be aware that of the "Big Three" from Weird Tales, Robert E. Howard stands out the most in the area of comics adaptations and usage of his creations- the success of Conan the Barbarian having launched a nigh-perpetual demand for REH's stuff in comics form. H. P. Lovecraft has a smaller presence, though perhaps the highest number of "pure" adaptations of his stories and poetry. For both men, aspects of their shared Mythos - the Necronomicon, Unaussprichlechen Kulten, Cthulhu, etc. - are also very pervasive, so that even if a comic doesn't adapt one of their stories or characters directly, bits and pieces of the Mythos may feature. Clark Ashton Smith has had the least number of comics adaptations of the three - although that still puts him far ahead of, say, Seabury Quinn - and as with the others, his creations like Tsathoggua and the Book of Eibon tend to crop up, making Smith more influential than just the number of adaptions would indicate.

Third Rail (1981) (The Ninth Skeleton)
A six-page adaptation of "The Ninth Skeleton" by Tom Yeates. B/W.

Asylum (New Comics Group, 1989) #1 (The Ninth Skeleton)
A bit of an oddity; this is John B. Brite's 6-page adaptation of Yeates' adaptation of "The Ninth Skeleton." Which actually makes it the only CAS story to be adapted to comics twice. B/W.

DenSaga #1 (1992) (The Seed from the Sepulcher)
DenSaga #2 (1992) (The Vaults of Yoh Vombis)
DenSaga #3 (1992) (Return of the Sorcerer)
From the inestimable Richard Corben, these comic magazines each include a ten-page, full-color adaptation of a Clark Ashton Smith short story - mostly faithful, although with Corben's particular artistic style adding their own bit of color.

Clark Ashton Smith’s Hyperborea (The Tale of Satampra Zeiros)
From Jason Thompson, who is probably best known for his comic adaptation of Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, this is a 20-page stand-alone comic in the same art style, very faithful to the original, with some odds and ends filling up the rest of the issue, including a map of Hyperborea.

Conan the Adventurer #8 (1995) (The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan)
Conan the Adventurer #12 (1995) (The Abominations of Yondo)
Conan the Savage #10 (1995) (Necromancers of Na’at)

At some point in writing Conan the Barbarian, the writers decided that to stretch out the material they could simply adapt other of Howard's non-Conan yarns as Conan tales - and of course, they could adapt some of the Conan stories of writers like Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp, or adapt those of Conan-expy barbarian characters created by Gardner Fox, and eventually they even borrowed material from three Clark Ashton Smith yarns to twist into Conan tales. These aren't straight adaptations by any means, probably something closer to remixes. Conan the Adventurer was a color comics magazine, Conan the Savage was a black-and-white comics magazine.

Graphic Classics #10 (Horror Classics) (The Beast of Averoigne)
20-pages, adapted by Rod Lott and illustrated by Richard Jenkins. B/W.

Graphic Classics #15 (Fantasy Classics) (The Dream-Bridge)
1-page illustrated poem, art by Evert Geradts.

Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft (2004) (Mother of Toads)
Actually just an illustrated short story, but the illustrations are by Gary Gianni! B/W.

Tales of Voodoo #6 (1971) (A Rendezvous in Averoigne)
One of the innumerable efforts by Eerie to do horror comics under the Comics Code Authority, this took the form of a comics/fiction digest. "The Vampires" by Clark Ashton Smith is a text story, probably better remembered here under its original title "A Rendezvous in Averoigne."

There were at least a few "unofficial" and uncredited adaptations of Smith's stories in horror comics - Web of Evil #2 (1952) for example had the six-page "The Corpse That Wouldn't Die!" based on "The Return of the Sorcerer," which was often-reprinted by Eerie in the '60s. Vault of Horror #17 had "Terror on the Moors" (adapted from "The Nameless Offspring") and Vault of Horror #28 "We Ain't Got No Body" (adapted from "The Return of the Sorcerer"). Someone once posted some scans from an issue of Haunted which had an uncredited adaptation of "Ubbo Sathla" as well, and there might have been more...but I haven't found those yet.

...and, that's it for now, aside from some scattered notes. For example, there's a mention of the Book of Eibon in Doctor Strange III #8, and a quote from CAS in Skull Comix #4 (The H. P. Lovecraft issue!), and a couple of Robert E. Howard's letters to Smith are quoted in the Keegan's "Adventures of Two-Gun Bob," but those are all fairly minor.

Re: CAS in the Comics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 15 August, 2014 03:13PM
Very interesting! I have not seen a single one of these.

Re: CAS in the Comics
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 4 September, 2014 04:09PM
Found a new one today...

Aero into the Aether (1979) ["Nightmare of the Lilliputian" (poem)]
A surrealist independent comic by Hal Rammel, from Black Swan Press. Includes a two-page adaptation of CAS' poem "Nightmare of the Lilliputian" (by permission of Arkham House). B/W

Re: CAS in the Comics
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 7 January, 2015 05:33AM
Found one I've been looking for. Through A Glass Darkly by Tom Sutton is largely an unofficial adaptation of Smith's "Ubbo-Sathla," and originally appeared in Charlton's Ghostly Tales 113 (1975), and has been just recently been reprinted in the hardback collection Tom Sutton's Creepy Things (2014).

Sutton is also known for doing various comic horror stories in the 70s, several with Mythos references thrown in, a portfolio of Lovecraft's Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, and a series of pornographic comics under the pen-name "Dementia."

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 7 Jan 15 | 05:37AM by Ancient History.

Re: CAS in the Comics
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2015 05:22AM
Got another one:

La Derniere Incantation (1989) ["The Last Incantation"]
Small, French-language black-and-white comic adaptation by Guillaume Sorel, published in the somewhat obscure French 'zine Karpath. 3 pages.

Re: CAS in the Comics
Posted by: Chipougne (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2015 05:38AM
Ancient History Wrote:
> the somewhat obscure French 'zine Karpath.

What do you mean "obscure"? Certainly not in France.
Just kidding, only hardcore Lovecraftians remember it, here. That is, those who were already born back then. It was beautiful, though. Since then Guillaume Sorel became a renowned graphic artist.
PS: links above may not appear if you chose to receive posts as "plain text".

Re: CAS in the Comics
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 8 December, 2016 11:07AM
Clark Ashton Smith makes an appearance in Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows' Providence #11 - I don't think this is exactly CAS' first appearance as himself in comics, but I'm not entirely sure.

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