‘Wart:’ Web Comic Review

Wart is a collection of short web comics inspired (somewhat) by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. That alone wouldn’t really distinguish it in any important sense. It seems everything is inspired by Lovecraft these days. Cthulhu, his most famous creation, has gone from ancient, unspeakable evil to a meme and a punchline. In so many cases, this “inspiration” that horror creators claim to get from Lovecraft turns out to be little more than an attempt to cash in on a familiar name. But, Wart is different. Wart gets the things right that so many others continue to get wrong.

The comic isn’t an attempt to cash in on familiar monsters. Rather, it’s true to the spirit of Lovecraft, and what makes his works worth reading in the first place. That includes, among other things, a distinct unfamiliarity. Like in Lovecraft, the ancient evils that the comic depicts are both unspeakable and unnamable. We’re shown only glimpses of them, never fully explained. The true horror isn’t the evils themselves, but the reactions it evokes in those who come into contact with it: terror, insanity, and obsession laid bare.

That said . . . Wart is also at least somewhat a comedy. The confusion and uncertainty not only makes for good horror, it makes for some clever dialogue, and a bit of tongue-in-cheek silliness that makes things fun and keeps them from getting too heavy.

Wart Bellamy is an underachiever, perhaps a bit foppish, who’s suddenly pulled into another dimension, where he’s thrown into an asylum, tortured by doctors, and plagued by dreams of strange, unspeakable creatures. At least . . . his doctor, a weaselly man in a Howie lab coat (the Dr. Horrible kind) tells him that they’re dreams; however, the doctor is still keen to know all about these dreams, every detail, including a few that Wart himself is unclear on. In fact, everyone around him, from the doctors to the creatures, seems to have a much clearer picture of what’s going on than Wart himself does. He’s some sort of savior or chosen one. But, how and for what is anybody’s guess.

From the clever, witty writing by Chris Welsh to the vivid and colorful art by Ammar Al Chalabi, Wart tells a unique and engaging story that captures the strange and macabre essence of Lovecraft without being clichéd or derivative. If you’re a fan of horror, with just a bit of silliness and fun thrown in, you’ll definitely want to check out Wart.

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