The intro to Cthulhu is Hard to Spell: Battle Royale notes that this may not be the Cthulhu anthology you expect, but it may be the one you need. This proves to be quite insightful, as the volume is filled with a wide variety of stories, varying in tone and art style.
Battle Royale has plenty of stories you’d expect out of a book about everyone’s favorite Lovecraftian subject. But sprinkled among those dark stories are a surprising amount of lighthearted fare. The namesake story involves Cthulhu and Zeus in an over the top wrestling match. My favorite story was a wry look at lawyers. Other standouts include a card game with the fate of the world at stake and a silly look at Cthulhu through the lens of a classic black and white cartoon.
Each chapter is short, so if a story doesn’t strike your fancy, you don’t have long until you get to try another (the wrestling match is split across three parts throughout the book). Many of the stories involve Greek gods as well as Gods from other cultures. In the last volume, the Lovecraftian gods invaded our universe and this would seem to be the result of that, but everything you need to know is provided in the introduction. As is often the case with anthologies, there is a wide array of art styles, from dark to bright and cartoony. Battle Royale is a nice sampling of different techniques, but readers may be frustrated if they expect a cohesive style or story.
If you like Cthulhu, odds are there’s something in Battle Royale you will enjoy. For non-Lovecraft fans, there are enough clever twists and takes on the genre to enjoy. Some of the stories have some gross imagery and Cthulhu can be kind of scary, so a little bit of parental discretion is advised, though less than you might expect.
The Kickstarter for Cthulhu Is Hard to Spell: Battle Royale is now live and runs until Thu, April 7 2022.
Are you going to help fund the campaign? Have you already? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.