Cromwell Stone is published by Titan Comics under their Statix Press imprint. It comes from the creative mind of writer and artist Andreas.
Cromwell Stone opens with a man walking on a stone path next to the ocean during a storm. The perspective then shifts to an interior. An old man named Houston Crown sits at a table musing about how for the last ten years his friends have begun to disappear. His thoughts are disturbed by the door opening to reveal the man from the path, Cromwell Stone. Stone tells Crown that he has been pursued for days by an enigmatic group. When Crown presses him on this, Stone begins to recount the past week’s worth of events. Stone had arranged to meet with another acquaintance at a house he had rented. Stone arrives at a train station and witnesses the conductor chase a young boy off.
Setting off on foot toward the house, Stone soon feels as though he is being followed. In a panic he rushes into the first house he finds and loses consciousness at the front door. He is awakened to discover he has reached the rental house, but his acquaintance had not. Stone wastes no time making himself at home and arranging for his things to be sent to the house. He notices several strange things about the property. A bizarre structure in the back yard, an unopenable door, and a persistent cold that seems to emanate from it. The longer Stone stays at this property the more his unease grows, and the deeper into a bizarre plot he finds himself. Soon enough Stone is fighting for his life while embroiled in the dealings of otherworldly beings.
Andreas pulls double duty on this story as both the writer and artist. This serves as both a positive and a negative for the book. As a writer, Andreas has nailed down the confusing, mind-bending, and dread-inducing aspects of Lovecraftian horror. There is a persistent eerie-ness to the story that helps it to find success as horror. Additionally, the philosophical and transcendental aspects are present and in full effect. If this was revealed to be an adaptation of an actual H.P. Lovecraft story I would never have been able to tell the difference. As a result, this is an engaging and enjoyable horror story even if it does show it’s age a little bit.
Where it hits a snag, however, is with the art. The entire collection is done in black and white, which is not in and of itself a negative. However, Andreas’ artwork is heavily stylized and with the lack of color, at times, making it extremely difficult to follow. Entire sequences of action come and go and require multiple rereads to make sense of. This is not to disparage Andreas’ talent as an artist. The full-page art and spreads are often beautiful and frequently very detailed, but the action is so difficult to follow that it can be dizzying. Being that this is a trade paperback, there are multiple “issues” of this story. However, they were written with almost entire decades in between. This is, oddly enough, a positive as Andreas’ artwork improved over time and later stories are much easier to follow.
I enjoyed the story of the Cromwell Stone TP quite a bit. It has all of the twists and turns you would expect. While I didn’t find it particularly horrific, I did enjoy its creepiness. What I did not enjoy was the art. I can appreciate a lot of Andreas’ skill, but it all felt too difficult to follow along with. As a result, I find this one fairly difficult to recommend. If you like Lovecraftian horror then this could be worth a grab. But for a casual reader, this one may be best left on the shelf.
Cromwell Stone is available anywhere comics are sold
If you like Lovecraftian horror then this could be worth a grab. But for a casual reader, this one may be best left on the shelf.