Way back in the glorious summer of 2014, A Place to Hang Your Cape were treated to reading an endearingly odd love story narrated by none-other Orson Welles himself. That story, The Cigar that Fell in Love with a Pipe, began a fruitful collaboration between us and the book’s publisher, SelfMadeHero. Since Orson Welles’ smoky love story, SelfMadeHero have let us open up a treasure chest full of weird and wonderful stories. They’ve not always been perfect, but they’ve always been interesting, clever, funny and sometimes quite beautiful.
Here then are ten of the best moments SelfMadeHero have come out with in the year’s worth of stories they’ve treated us to. And if these ten are anything to by, there’ll be plenty more wonderful moments in graphic literature to come from them.
10. “I can wake up!” – The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
The fact that SelfMadeHero decided to tackle a graphic novel adaptation of an unpublished work of H.P. Lovecraft, the godfather of horror fiction, means that I shouldn’t have to wax lyrical about how darn odd The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is. I did indeed have some difficulty dissecting just what exactly was going on in the novel, but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment of it.
The climactic moments from this novel saw Randolph Carter’s attempts to rediscover a glorious city from his dreams shattered by the omnipotent Kadath, who keeps its watchful eye on Carter’s adventures into the unknown. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is also I.N.J. Culbard‘s fourth graphic novel adaptation of Lovecraft’s work for SelfMadeHero, and he clearly has a lot of fun turning Lovecraft’s words into caricatured illustrations that radiate with depth and impact. You can read our review of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath here, and buy your copy here.
9. Orson Welles Reunites Conchita and Wooden John – The Cigar that Fell in Love with a Pipe
Hard to believe it was a year ago that SelfMadeHero tugged at our hearts and tickled our ribs with The Cigar that Fell in Love with a Pipe. That novel is one of the sweetest stories we;ve encountered from SelfMadeHero, as well as the funniest. Orson Welles essentially tells us the story of infamous cigar maker Conchita, who falls in love with a sailor, Wooden John. They’re smoky spirits become entwined with cigars and pipes, and it’s up to the tobacco-chomping Welles to reunite the lovers. You can read our review of The Cigar that Fell in Love with a Pipe here, check out our interview with the book’s artist Nick Abadzis here, and buy your copy here.
8. “A bag? Where do you think you are?” – Behind the Curtain
Those words perfectly encapsulate the bleak world Behind the Curtain takes place in. An autobiographical account of two artists living and working in the politically uneasy period in Warsaw in the 1970’s, Behind the Curtain may well be inescapable in its bleakness, but its also got a lot of humour and some touches of warmth to it. This, and the following moments of husband comforting wife after being ridiculed for thinking bags were a luxury, blend those three elements into an intoxicating read. You can read our review of Behind the Curtain here, check out our interview with the book’s co-creator Andrzej Klimowski here, and buy your copy here.
7. A Celebration – Aama Volume 2: The Invisible Throng
Aama is proving to be one hell of a curious beast. An epic sci-fi saga spread across four instalments, the finale to Volume 2, The Invisible Throng, really does open up the terrifying world Aama takes place in. The story itself centres on a rogue bio-experiment, Aama, thought to have gone wrong, and depressed layabout Verloc has unwittingly accompained his brother to investigate Aama. What they find proves to be deathly petrifying, as you can see.
The Aama series, written and illustrated by Frederik Peeters, has some gorgeously thick and vibrant art to it, and that artwork releases its full impact with the last few pages of The Invisible Throng. A pivotal moment in the story itself, this is where Aama shifts from being a tale of mystery to a tale of dangerous adventure. You can read our review of Aama Vol. 2: The Invisible Throng here, and buy your copy here.
6. Harper’s Fall – The Motherless Oven
In our adventures with SelfMadeHero, there’s only been a few images as chilling as the one near the climax of Rob Davis‘ The Motherless Oven. Certainly the most bizarre story the publishers have treated us to, The Motherless Oven is set in a world where children manufacture their own parents out of brass objects, and tells the story of Harper, Violet and Castro chasing after Harper’s escaped dad.
Without wanting to spoil the novel for you, you’ll have to buy your copy here to understand why I love this rather brutal image so much. You can read our review of The Motherless Oven here, check out our interview with Davis here, and buy your copy here.