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The Case of Charles Dexter Ward: A Graphic Novel

(Culbard's Lovecraft)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  866 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Providence, Rhode Island, 1928. A dangerous inmate disappears from a private hospital for the insane, his method of escape baffling the authorities. Only the patient's final visitor, family physician Dr. Marinus Bicknell Willett—himself a pece of the puzzle—holds the key to unlocking The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. A macabre mixture of historical investigation, grave-robb ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 2013 by SelfMadeHero
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Dave Schaafsma
Written in 1927, Lovecraft’s longest work, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward occupies an important place in his canon. Featuring his signature--purple? Atmospheric? You choose—prose, it’s a horror/detective novel, adapted and illustrated here by I.N.J. Culbard, the second of four novels featured in his omnibus collection, Lovecraft. I decided to review each of them separately. This one differs from the first novel Culbard opens the book with, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, which is really just ...more
The jury is still out on whether I will one day count myself among H.P. Lovecraft's legion of fans. I'm certainly intrigued with his whole ancient secrets and monsters rising from the dawn of time to devour the earth thing. I'm less sure that I'm on board with the whole "oh my god it's a giant lizard monster! the horror!!"

I've tried Lovecraft before on audio book and it was definitely fun. There's an overdramatic feel to his stories like you can almost hear him saying "isn't this scary!! ohhhhhh
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have always enjoyed reading H P Lovecraft although I will admit at times it can be a bit dry and a bit of a challenge. So when I stumbled across this graphic novel I jumped at it - plus thanks to Page45 in Nottingham I now have a signed copy of it.
Anyway the graphics are rather stylised - but to be honest considering the style of the writing (it does try to keep as faithful to the original text as possible) the artwork lends the right air to it.
The so what can i say - well its really the sto
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, comics
Adapting a novel in comic book form is a hard task indeed. Adapting a Lovecraft novel is probably even more difficult. Especially "Dexter Ward" where talking heads would use half of the space available. Lovecraft's style is all about suggestion. Hard to show in full light what's hinted at in a terrified whisper...
Culbard's adaptation of "At the mountain of madness" was enjoyable if not as terrifying at it should have been. The vast antarctic landscapes were apparently more suited for his simple/
Corinna Bechko
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Really nice and spooky adaptation of the wonderful Lovecraft tale. Translating Lovecraft into images as well as words is no easy task, but I.N.J. Culbard does a stellar job allowing the art to carry what could become an overly wordy re-telling in less capable hands.
Overall I wasn`t impressed by the style of this graphic novel because the chilling factor of the Lovecraft stories isn`t an easy thing to transmit and you need to have a peculiar style to succeed at it.
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pretty much a straight forward telling of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward which is refreshing since everyone else seems to believe they can improve things by messing with or updating Lovecraft's stories for their graphic novels. Nice artwork to go with the story and no padding. The GN actually makes the story easier to follow than the Lovecraft original since the transition of Ward/Curwen is kind of sketchy in the story when you read it for the first time.

If you like this one I can also recomme
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, horror, comics
As I mention in my review from last autumn of I. N. J. Culbard's adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft's Shadow Out of Time , his interpretations of Lovecraft into comics are not my first ones, but I am willing to argue that his visual subtlety, which I find is exquisitely suited to the material, places him at the top of the line. This adaptation of Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (which is one of my favourite Lovecraft stories thus far) definitely serves as further proof of this.

I certai
Baal Of
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird
Atmospheric, with the usual coyness around the exact nature of events and beings, this story has some very nice touches, especially the creatures trapped in the underground cells, discovered by Willet. Has an early example of the standard horror trope of the protagonist losing his light source, in this case directly into the maw of one of the aforementioned creatures. This one is slow-moving at some points, but has a good creepiness factor. Downside is that it is marred by some noxiously racist ...more
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Fishface by: Ken Nicholas
A fun graphic-novel version of one of the HPL stories I keep not getting around to. There were more than a few jarring anachronisms in the dialogue -- "alright" instead of "all right," "till" instead of "'til," no awareness of the subjunctive -- but otherwise the story was vintage HPL. ...more
J. Griff
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is another of my favourite Lovecraft stories. A young man, Charles, with a love of history & mysteries. He was lured into the past failing in strength to put down what he called up.

Culbard’s art is adequate for the story & does help in some of the story telling.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: european-comics
The story is good old quality lovecraftian horror, i didn't expect anything else. But the design by Culbard doesn't live up to it, its poorly made for a strong and vicious supernatural script and too cartoony.

2/5 stars only becuase it involves the master of horror.
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Solid adaptation and the artwork was dark and enjoyable - this graphic novel accomplished what it set out to do. I just didn't find that there was anything that had me terrified or on the edge of my seat. The plot was very predictable, despite the little experience that I have had with HP Lovecraft. I will definitely turn to the regular book adaptions when I want a taste of HP Lovecraft again, as I just couldn't get excited over this graphic adaptation. I think the thing that surprised me the mo ...more
May 22, 2020 rated it liked it
My reading history involves a lot of things directly inspired by Lovecraft like Hellboy and some other horror comics. However, I have only read one prose novel by Lovecraft and nothing else. I think the mythos are more interesting than the actual writing, but that’s neither here nor there. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward as adapted by I.N.J. Culbard is a thrilling ride and quite the page turner.

The graphic novel does an interesting thing by including fictional newspaper clippings, recountings of
S.M.M. Lindström
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Opening at a mental hospital, we are presented an empty room full of strange blue liquid and a window ajar. The room's occupant, a young man by the name of Charles Dexter Ward, is missing. His last visitor - the family doctor - might know what happened to him, but doesn't seem to want to talk too much. As the doctor is being interrogated we, the readers, are treated to the true story of what happened to Charles Dexter Ward; a sad tale of obsession and dark magic.

Once more, I. N. J. Culbard let's
J.C. Pillard
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me by my husband who, in general, reads more graphic novels than I do. It is a beautifully done adaptation of the Lovecraft story into graphic novel form. The tale has its twists and turns, and the ending certainly took me by surprise. I loved the way the artist chose to frame much of the story as flashes of memory and characters telling stories to each other. The result is that you never have all the pieces: each character knows different things, but rarely shares t ...more
Nicholas Whyte
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf, comics, unread, b14

I got this having hugely enjoyed Culbard's graphic novel version of At the Mountains of Madness a few years ago. I'm sorry to say that this didn't work for me so well; it's not as visual a story, and the central characters (Charles Dexter Ward, the narrator Willett and the ancient necromancer Curwen) are not especially interesting characters. It's interesting that Lovecraft himself thought this was not one of his best efforts, and the original story rem
Precisely as described on the tin. Culbard, as in the rest of the Lovecraft series, does a solid job illustrating while staying true (as far as I can remember) to the original. At the same time, there's nothing really special or outstanding about this one, nor are there any chapter breaks or big set-piece layout pages: the story just chugs along to its inevitable conclusion—though perhaps it counts as a twist to those who are not as thoroughly versed in the Mythos. So, good, solid, enjoyable (if ...more
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This one was yet another unknown Lovecraft's work to me.

I have to say that story itself was highly intriguing. While starting up as a story about a young man trying to find out more about his family history it very soon becomes a very Twilight-like tale with a rather strong twist. Ending was on par with the ending of Hitchock's Psycho, sad and disturbing at the same time.

Art is excellent (as it was case with all Lovecraft books prepared by I.N.J. Cullbard), flow of story, and overall visual pre
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really clever story with art that tells the story perfectly.
Charles Dexter Ward is just a normal guy who gets too deep into a forgotten trade, one that should have been forgotten with time. His therapist and physician, with the help of his parents, sets out to find out whether he really is crazy or not, only to find much more than they prepared for.
The plot twist at the end of the story is so good and that alone makes this graphic novel worth reading. Yet the entire graphic novel is amazing,
Yolo Yearwood
Well, this was my introduction to HP Lovecraft and I do believe he is best in prose and not graphic novel form. It was, ok, but I didn't get much out of it. Too short, maybe? A lacking plot? Light characterization? There wasn't any suspense and to call this a mystery is, well, a mystery. I'm going to try HP whole hog and leave the graphic novel versions alone until then; don't want to spoil the fun! ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another brilliant Lovecraft adaptation

Culbard is a true master at these adaptations of weird fiction (including the King in Yellow). He hits all the notes in this version of the story of Charles Dexter award and hits them perfectly. For those who've longed for excellent graphic retellings of Lovecraft stories, look to Culbard's works and no further.
Andrey Kurenkov
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Let's call this a 3.5/5. A pleasant read, but quite underwhelming; the story itself is not particularly suited to graphic adaptation, and the subdued art style does little to overcome that problem. A fun little story that is not especially hurt by this adaptation, but also not really modified much either. ...more
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another of those Lovecraft comic adaptation. I always have mostly the same comment about those. They're good enough adaptation, but they could have been a bit darker in the artworks (style, color choice, etc.). Still fun to read and might be an entry point for young reader (around 12 maybe...) to get into the Lovecraft universe. I enjoy them! ...more
Lynsey Walker
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lovecraft comics will always have a place in this world as sometimes you need to see that unnamable horror, and this is a good example of such a feat.

The art work had a edgy kind of film noir look to it and it managed to cover all the important parts of the story whilst make it comic book bite size, not an easy task.

Now if someone could just explain the monsters in the pits I’ll be happy.
I've not read the original novella, so I don't know how the descriptions stand up to those by Lovecraft, but whether or not its a good adaptation, it's a helluva fun story. I'm looking forward to consuming more stories by Lovecraft, both in the original and in adaptations such as this one. ...more
Magnus Bergström
May 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
I love the style of drawing, but the story is as hard to follow as Lovecraft can sometimes be, so the chills are a bit far away.
I'm not sure how well this translated into a graphic novel. It's a lot of story crammed into info-dumps. But, A for effort. ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
One of the better Lovecraft adaptations as comic book that I've read in some time. It keeps the air of mystery but also peeks at the inherent terror of identity that makes up the book. ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphicnovels
Translating a book into a graphic novel does not always work. This is such an example
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I.N.J. Culbard is an artist and writer. In 2006, he surpassed thousands of other writers and had his work published in Dark Horse Comics’ New Recruits anthology. He has since appeared in the anthology series Dark Horse Presents, the Judge Dredd Megazine and 2000 AD.

Culbard is an acclaimed animation director with considerable experience in directing commercials, developing projects for television,

Other books in the series

Culbard's Lovecraft (5 books)
  • At the Mountains of Madness: A Graphic Novel
  • The Shadow Out of Time
  • The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
  • The Shadow Over Innsmouth

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