Two years next month, in fact.
That’s when the first issue of Providence, the first of twelve bi-monthly issues, dropped into the pulpy hands of eagerly anticipating readers who love horror-themed graphic fiction. May of 2015.
But Providence is much more than just horror. It’s a fascinating take on American outsider culture during the early part of the twentieth century, on the eve of the war to end all wars, written and illustrated by two of the comic book industry’s greatest.
Finally, the series comes to a head: Providence #12.
And it is both the end of days and the beginning of a new, stranger, world!
Written By: Alan Moore
Illustrated By: Jacen Burrows
Published By: Avatar Press
A disclaimer: I think Providence #12 is out today. The release date has been pushed back a bit – and all signs point to today, Wednesday April 5, 2017, as being the fictional and literal “end of days” for the series. We won’t know for sure until we all make the run to our respective comic book shops at their hour of opening. That said, I’m 99.9% sure that you will find Providence #12 on store shelves when you make your Wednesday run!
Back on May 27, 2015, this very column spoke about Providence, upon its first issue release, and how excited this writer was for the story based upon the works of cosmic horror author, H.P. Lovecraft. You can catch up on that particular column here.
Over the last two years, the Providence series has told the story of Robert Black, a closeted homosexual writer investigating a strange undercurrent in American culture throughout the town of Providence, Rode Island and surrounding area as preparation for a novel. Here, he comes into contact with many of the underpinning themes and characters that make up Lovecraft’s oeuvre of real-life fictional tales, as well as coming into contact with a fictionalized version of Lovecraft himself.
The research that writer Alan Moore (Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell) has put into Providence is absolutely astounding. Throughout the series, fans of Lovecraft’s fiction will love the overt and oh-so-subtle nods to Lovecraft’s short stories: “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”, “The Doom That Came To Sarnath”, “The Color Out of Space” and so many others.
Appropriating and infusing other works of fiction into his own tales isn’t exactly a novel feature for Alan Moore. He’s been doing it his entire career. But Providence might very well be his most accomplished and, perhaps, important, work since the comic book industry’s high water mark graphic novel, Watchmen. It’s that good.
The art by Jacen Burrows, is must be said, is wonderfully realized and highly detailed – certainly that artists’ finest hour.
And everything concludes today – with humanity on the precipice of a cosmic and horrific end that also marks a new beginning of sorts.
How does the world end? With 32 pages of intrigue and horror and reading joy. Make the run to your local comic book shop today and pick up Providence #12!
Keep a watchful look out as Biff Bam Pop! will have more on the Providence series in the coming days…soon after this last issue is read and re-read!