Robert Chambers’ The The King in Yellow contains two of my absolute favorite short stories of all time, certainly two of my favorite pieces of weird fiction of all time, and the book in it’s entirety is a beautiful piece of fin-de-siecle weirdness that has few real contemporaries.
I have greatly enjoyed INJ Culbard’s Lovecraft adaptations so far. His art is excellently matched to the subject matter and his choices when transforming the stories have clearly been made carefully and I think, for the most part, made correctly.
He has decided, one would imagine for reasons of length, not to adapt the entire book. Instead, he adapts just four stories from Chambers’ book – “The Repairer of Reputations”, “The Yellow Sign”, “The Mask”, and “In the Court of the Dragon”. These stories are the “weirdest” in the book, and Culbard has chosen to link them via a (very loose) framing story. The main characters of each story mention each other.
I find this conceit to be unnecessary. I also found that the adaptation was not as lyrical as the Lovecraft adaptations. Perhaps it speaks to the difference in prose and dialog, but there seemed to be much more missing than in his version of Mountains of Madness, for example. (Now that can’t possibly be true, given how Mountains of Madness reads.)
However, I greatly enjoyed the actual representation the characters were given in the this book. The squamous unnamed carriage driver in The Yellow Sign looked appropriately gross, and the deco landscape of 1890’s Paris and New York is lovingly rendered.
If you’ve read the other Culbard Lovecraft adaptations and enjoyed them, there is no reason not to get this book, you’ll probably enjoy it. Also, King in Yellow completists will no doubt find this interesting. If you haven’t read the Chambers’s book, I would recommend at least seeking out The Repairer of Reputations and The Yellow Sign in advance of picking up this volume.