Back in early 2013 I was supporting a Kickstarter project by Nat Iwata for a set of Steampunk Cthulhu themed playing cards. (It was a very Cthulhu-cards time, as this was hot on the heels of Albino Dragon’s awesome Call of Cthulhu cards.) In one of his updates, Nat mentioned a project “translating the story of The Call of Cthulhu into an approachable children's book for all ages!”
This was the first “Littlest Lovecraft” book, by Tro Rex and Eyona Bella. I loved the concept and art style so I backed the project to receive a copy of the book. Such is the way that things join up, it turned out that a while later the book’s author Tro was a member of the same Facebook group as me (the exclusive and elusive “Wayward Backers”) and she drew our attention to a festive competition that she was running, with prizes every day of the event's “Twelve Days of Cthulhumas” plus a grand prize on the thirteenth day for which only those who’d taken part for all twelve days were eligible. I took part every day, performing a variety of different Lovecraft themed tasks and was fortunate enough to win the grand prize, which was a collection of all the daily prizes together. Quite the stash of Littlest Lovecraft treats! It included all the fun accessories I’d not ordered from the original Kickstarter, such as a drinks tumbler, coins and dice.
When the time came around for the second project, I was a confirmed fan and was delighted to be able to supply some photos to help promote the Kickstarter. (Using provisional artwork that Tro sent me, I was even able to create a mock-up of the book to photograph.) In fact it was this project that led to my nickname of “Professor” Candy, due to the title of one of the Kickstarter pledge levels and the enthusiastic manner with which I adopted it!
I am proud to have supplied promotional photos for all the Littlest Lovecraft projects since then. For the third book I was able to put together a special photoshoot, which remains one of my favourites ever! Makeup artist Emma Procter transformed actor Iain Leighton into one of the Innsmouth “fish guys” that feature in The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and we took a set of promo photos for the book. It was lots of fun, especially seeing the reactions of the public as they walked past us while we shot at a public location for the watery backdrop – not to mention when we all went up the pub for dinner afterwards with Iain still in full costume and makeup!
Each new book has come with the same base set of awesome accessories and I love how much thought and effort has gone into each one. Now that the full set of five books has been published – the last one arrived this week – they even have their own gorgeous slipcase to live in. There’s a set of five different tumblers, five different coin designs and five different dice too. In addition to that there’s been more postcards, bookmarks, stickers, T-shirts, hoodies and other great items like badges than I can fit on a single table!
The attention to detail and creativity has been consistently impressive, down to the lemon juice “secret” Esoteric Order of Dagon logo hidden on the Innsmouth scroll that came with The Shadow Over Innsmouth. (Art on the scroll having been provided by the lovely Galen Ihlenfeldt, another artist whose work I am delighted to have encountered thanks to the way projects all seem to join up!)
Three of the books also came with a booklet of extra material – stories and poems by writers and supporters of the project.
There was even a great stoneware drinks coaster with “The Horror Collection” and an amazing metal replica of the key, exactly matching the artwork, with “The Dreamlands Collection.”
I remain impressed that Tro and Eyona put in the extra effort to send out a separate – and handwritten – thank you postcard with each project, and often also a special Christmas/Ctulhumas/Innsmas/you-get-the-idea card as well!
I love being able to add something unique to my collection and for Littlest Lovecraft this includes a hand drawn tentacle sketch and a hand drawn page layout from the Dreamlands Collection by Eyona. It also includes a rather stunning replica of the bas-relief from “The Call of Cthulhu” created in resin by artist Wibble Nut (yes, really.) He made one specially fro Tro and Eyona and, thanks to Tro putting us in touch, I was able to get one for myself too! It perfectly matches the art from the book and is a great display piece.
It was also through the appearance of one of the tiki mugs in the Shadow Over Innsmouth promotional video that I first encountered Horror in Clay, whose brilliant work I am very happy to have become a collector of. (Speaking of Innsmouth, if you ever read this book you may spot a similarity between the bus driver and myself! It’s a definite privilege to have made a cameo appearance in the artwork.)
I count myself lucky to have met Tro through the magic of the internet and she remains the only one of my various American friends that I’ve met in person – she’s been to the UK a few times and has visited (and hand delivered Lovecraftian treats) whilst over here!
Now that the fifth and final book has been published I will admit to being sad that the journey is over. There’s always been such a sense of fun in seeing these projects come together and in sharing the excitement at all the different items arriving from the various manufacturers. I’m very glad, though, that Tro and Eyona managed to achieve such a fantastic feat in getting all five books published and out into the world – and onto my shelves!