And Then I Read: ALAN MOORE’S THE COURTYARD

Images © Alan Moore and Avatar Press.

I missed this when it came out a few years ago, probably passing on it since it’s not Moore’s script, but an adaptation of a short story by him scripted by Antony Johnson. Too bad, as it would have informed my reading of Alan’s NEONOMICON four-issue series, which is sort of a sequel.

The protagonist, Aldo Sax is an FBI agent with a talent for matching up obscure facts to make a new lead, and he’s been handed three murder cases which have some similarities but no obvious motive. He’s investigating under cover in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn where a drug dealer named Johnny Carcosa is selling something that seems fairly harmless on the surface, but is connected to the similar killings. As the story develops we find out there’s another level to this “Aklo” that no one has recognized yet, and it involves a very strange and guttural language with words like “r’lyeh” and “cthulhu.” Anyone familiar with the work of writer H.P. Lovecraft will already realize this is all about that man’s writings, and there are plenty of other references and clues throughout. But, as usual, Alan manages to present new aspects and ideas of his own that make the story even more interesting than the usual Lovecraftian horror pastiche.

Aldo Sax also appears in NEONOMICON, so reading this story first would have been better, but I don’t think it spoils anything to read this one after, except that we know Sax will fall under the dark spell of what he’s investigating. That’s not terribly surprising, though.

The art by Jacen Burrows, the same man who illustrated NEONOMICON, is good, though I found the figure work a little stiffer and less accomplished. I think he’s improved since doing this book. The visual horror and gore is more subtle in this one, too, which I actually prefer personally.

Recommended, but not for children or anyone easily offended by strong language.

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