Get ready for an adventure.

Ancient beings live in the spaces between time and dimensions, and our ignorance is what keeps us safe from trying to understand and grasp the scope of what is there. But one man defies the threats to comprehension, exploring these places to learn the truth of the cosmos, both the good and bad.

He is Doctor Cthulittle “noted scholar and friend to the eldritch and the arcane.” He travels through the cosmos with the brave pilot Zenobia Bishop and his gluttonous, ghoul-manservant Farnsworth.

After a brief summary, the story of “The Azathoth Expedition” begins when Doctor Cthulittle awakens after a horrible dream/premonition that the cosmic god Azathoth is slumbering restlessly and if awakened could destroy all of reality. With a new mission to ensure that Azathoth does not awaken, the Doctor, the pilot, and the ghoul, board Zenobia’s Bathysphere and head out to the far reaches of space where they’ll encounter plenty of challenges on their journey.

This collaborative work by G.D. Falksen and Mark Wheatley is a love letter to H.P. Lovecraft that brings dreams to life. It’s steampunk, fantasy, and science fiction with some of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and a smidge of Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story.

Breaking from the typical comic book style, it is free of dialogue balloons and thought bubbles, rather appearing in storybook style with traditional paragraph structure. The writing is articulate, which will appeal to readers who crave the stretching of their vocabulary, and the story is very entertaining. Plenty of writers attempt this level of imaginative storytelling but get bogged down in their own rhetoric and exhaustive creation. Doctor Cthulittle certainly throws plenty of unknown beings, worlds, and terminology at readers but avoids unnecessary exposition in pursuit of the main narrative.

It took me, probably, twice as long as it should to read this book because each page is also eye candy. Page after page depicts painting after painting of beautiful skies and frightening creatures. The color palate is extensive, clearly establishing each setting while maintaining the dreamlike quality of the story. Comic panel structure is also largely disregarded, replaced with many full page renderings and a selection of panel styles that are defined and free-flowing.

The book will be printed to a limited edition of 1,000 numbered copies, which will be signed by Falksen and Wheatley on an illustrated signature plate. The hardcover graphic novel retails for $50 and will be in stores on August 15, 2018.

-Amanda Sheriff