Rereading The Courtyard In The Light Of Neonomicon

The new Alan Moore series Neonomicon has thrown light on the prequel, The Courtyard. Both the original prose story printed in the HP Lovecraft anthology Starry Wisdom, but the adaptation by Antony Johnston and Jacen Burrows from Avatar, both the original black-and-white and recent colour combination.

So what’s with the perceived metatextuality of the new series? Well it all goes back to a paragraph in the original short story.

This is interpreted in the comic book adaption by Johnston and Jacen thusly, panels being duplicated in panel spaces in subsequent panels.

And the colour collected version adds new repeating panels.

So the interesting thing is that Alan Moore, in writing a comic book sequel to his original prose story, has chosen to use aspects that Antony Johnston and Jacen Burrows created as a storytelling deviceĀ  for the adaptation – and then take them much further.

Rather than having characters realise they are in a comic book, it’s using the metatextual aspects to portray the dimensional differences between our reality and the reality of the Old Ones – and how it impinges upon our own.

It’s less literal and less obvious than Grant Morrison’s similar techniques in Animal Man and The Filth which are bound in the comic book form, as were Moore’s multidimensional creatures in 1963, reaching around the panel borders.

Either way, I expect a lot of people will be paying a considerable deal of attention to issue 2. And maybe picking up The Courtyard now to get a primer on the characters, history and locations seen in Neonomicon.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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