Cover to 'Only the End of the World Again' HC. Art by Troy Nixey, Matthew Hollingsworth, and Ethan Kimberling/Dark Horse Comics

Cover to ‘Only the End of the World Again’ HC. Art by Troy Nixey, Matthew Hollingsworth, and Ethan Kimberling/Dark Horse Comics

By Kaitlin Beer. What happens when a lycanthrope turns human again with a belly full of wolf chow? You’re about to find such information, along with some other minor details that make being a werewolf a hassle, in this new deluxe hardcover edition of Only the End of the World Again.

It’s a version of an original short story by Neil Gaiman, adapted by P. Craig Russell. It’s a story that, as Dark Horse Comics has said, blends the worlds crafted by H.P. Lovecraft and Roger Zelazny into a unique tale. The story does little to stand out from the genre, which is not necessarily a negative considering Gaiman initially wrote it as a tribute to the fantasy and science-fiction writing career of Zelazny. That makes the adherence more poignant than derivative.

Much like many other stories involving the Deep Ones, it all begins in New England — Innsmouth, Massachusetts to be exact. (Yes, it is the very same Innsmouth featured in Lovecraft’s The Shadow in Innsmouth.) The reader is guided through the story from the perspective of Lawrence Talbot, a claims adjuster who happens to stumble into being a key player in the end of the world whilst dealing with more personal issues — like his inconvenient lycanthropy.

Interior page from 'Only the End of the World Again' HC. Art  by P. Craig Russell, Troy Nixey, Matthew Hollingsworth, and Sean Konot/Dark Horse Comics

Interior page from ‘Only the End of the World Again’ HC. Art by P. Craig Russell, Troy Nixey, Matthew Hollingsworth, and Sean Konot/Dark Horse Comics

What makes this edition worthwhile is over 100 extra pages of content in the form of a sketchbook that highlights the collaborative work between Russell and artists Matthew Hollingsworth and Troy Nixey. The sketchbook pages are high-quality scans that spare no details, while providing a backstage glimpse into the creative process behind adapting the title from Gaiman’s original story to comic format.

The combination of Hollingsworth and Nixey is a great pairing for a horror comic. Hollingsworth’s work clearly stands out: the coloring is essential for this title, as the depths of the blues and even the different shades of blood help to accentuate the narrative elements. Troy Nixey’s style also perfectly complements this book; all his characters look as though their skin isn’t sitting quite right on their bodies. Everyone appears disheveled in a way that makes them seem alien and suspect, adding a subtle, but eerie detail to the proceedings.

Only the End of the World Again rears its head once more in a handsome collected edition, wrought by a hard-working editorial team working from a macabre tale told lovingly. This new hardcover brings something old and something new to readers who still get a thrill from the appearance of each new full moon.

Dark Horse Comics/$19.99

Story and words by Neil Gaiman.

Adaptation and layouts by P. Craig Russell.

Art by Troy Nixey.

Color by Matthew Hollingsworth.

Letters by Sean Konot.

Design by Ethan Kimberling.

Edited by Daniel Chabon, Rachel Roberts, and Bob Schreck.

6 out of 10

Check out this five-page preview of ‘Only the End of the World Again’ HC, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics!