Cthulhu is always hard to spell, and Russell Nohelty does a wonderful job creating worlds that are engaging and interesting. His latest Cthulhu anthology has the theme of Battle Royale, which pits the elder gods against all the other pantheons. Pretty simple concept and there are a litany of awesome creators here. So let’s get to it, shall we?
Cthulhu is Hard to Spell: Battle Royale
By Russell Nohelty and Various
Publisher: Wannabe Press
This is an anthology of tales, I wouldn’t be able to do the whole anthology justice, so I’m picking a few of the stories in here. The overall tone of the book as expected with anthologies vary. Some are cute, some are hilarious, some make you cry and some are epic. There is something in this anthology for everyone here, and as such, this review will only cover a sampling of some of the stories here.
Russell Nohelty kicks things off with Erik Lervold in a three-part story Battle Royale, in which the fate of the universe is decided by professional wrestling. Zeus and Cthulhu start the proceedings beating the heck out of each other. Each part of this is a bit of a cliffhanger, as, at the end of part one, Zeus finds himself on the ropes. In Part 2, Zeus and his tag team partner, Anubis, take on Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep in a tag team tornado match. In Part 3, it is a full-scale battle royal. In my opinion, the truly dastardly villain of all? The referee. He’s as dependable as the used car salesman. Who wins this epic clash? You’ll have to read and find out.
Of the cute stories and funny stories, two of them grabbed my fancy. The Reckoning by Mary Bellamy cracked me up. Who knew that Cthulhu could be such an internet troll? Using Facebook, the elder god turns all the other pantheons against each other. He kind of gets what he deserves, if not what he bargained for.
Orientation Day by LK Ingino and Abby Butler is the last school you’d ever want to go to. Imagine Hogwarts, and substitute wizards with elder gods and monsters. I’d do the same thing the protagonist does at the end.
My favorite interpretation of the battle between the gods is A Matter of Significance by Nathen Leuth. The battle here isn’t between gods, but between stories themselves, as Tolkien and Lovecraft take the field for a battle the likes of which you haven’t seen. As a writer, I dig the idea of this conflict.
Hell is Empty by Claire Leslie is a retelling of Faust. It’s a clever take on the battle of the gods in a way that made me want to read more. It’s a neat story and style that stands out in the book.
I think the biggest surprises for me in this anthology were Ygs Kids by Kelsi Jo Silva and The Little Things by Angela Oddling. Ygs kids is a story of a monster family. The mother, medusa, frustrated with being a parent wants to quit, and the battle here is about the responsibilities one makes for one’s self. It’s a very personable read and I like the art here very much. The Little Things by Oddling is a nice reminder that little things can damage the darkness in ways you can’t imagine. It might be the story with the most heart in this collection.
But you can’t do a Cthulhu anthology without staring into the abyss and seeing what gazes back. The Master of Kung Rfthulu by David Pepose and Maan House explores this concept well. A master of Kung Fu enters the realm of monsters and proves to be more monstrous than anyone expects, maybe even himself. House’s style really pops. It reminded me a bit of Kabuki by David Mack. Just awesome stuff.
Like I said, this collection has something for everyone. It’s right now on Kickstarter. If you want to support this, go make a donation. I highly recommend it.
I’ve started a new newsletter. Most of the time, it’s just going to be motivational stuff. Every once in a while I’ll be posting stuff like this exclusively at the newsletter first, before putting it on my blog. If you want to subscribe and see some drawings by yours truly, inspirations, and whatever else I’m passionate about, subscribe here.
Hopefully, it won’t be quite so long for reviews. I have a few good ones I really want to do. I have an Alice story I desperately want to review. Until then, stay inspired out there.