Life is a Hideous Thing was comic book story that acts as a prequel to Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare game. It was published in France by Semic comics in 2001. it was eventually translated to english by the USA in September 2002.
In 2001, anthropology professor Aline Cedrac found in a compartment of the safe that belonged to her unknown father some documents including an ancient map. Determined to shed light on the identity of the unknown relative, she travels to India with her colleague Frank Stone, following the indications on the map that would seem to lead to Aggartha. At Sikimm they look for the antiquarian Ganesha and, after having escaped some traffickers of treasures at the market, they meet him at their hotel and convince him to guide the expedition in search of the lost kingdom. Meanwhile, private investigator Edward Carnby is sent by his colleague Charles Fiske at the airship of Dr. Leng, in Nepal, for information on the Crown of Genghis, an ancient artifact used by Genghis Khan to conquer China and then handed over to Marco Polo, who delivered it to the sages of Aggartha. Carnby intends to destroy the Crown, convinced that a sect devoted to darkness known as Kun-Yin wants to take possession of it to unleash a dimensionless creature during the Hour of the Scythe (a particular alignment of the stars): the growing chaos . Meanwhile Aline, Stone and Ganesha cross the Nepalese mountains managing to find the entrance of Aggartha where they are then attacked by the Mi-Go, of the abominable Yeti who kill some of their bearers and surround them. The group is saved by Carnby's intervention, who makes the Mi-Go flee using signal flares and all together take refuge at the Aggartha temple. There the investigator explains that the Mi-Go are none other than the Yian-Ho, the wise and civilized people of Aggartha, changed over the centuries due to the dark influence of the Crown of Genghis.
The following day, thanks to the indications on the map of Aline, the group entered the temple and managed to find the crown; at that point Frank Stone precedes the others and wears it revealing one of the Kun-Yin: his plan is to reach the Heart of the World from which to evoke the Growing Chaos during the Hour of the Scythe . Then he unleashes the Rakashas, demonic guardians of the Crown, against the group and runs away; However, Aline uses her extraordinary linguistic knowledge to distract the creatures and to convince Mi-Gos who have come to the scene to help them stop Stone. Ganesha then leaves the group to save his life, while Carnby and Aline are led to the Heart of the Worldfrom a Yeti. The detective explains that Aggartha was built around a particular natural phenomenon: an upward pointing magnetic fulcrum which Fiske hypothesized could be a sort of "lighthouse" to communicate with other worlds; from that particular point, placed in the center of Aggartha, it is possible to evoke the Growing Chaos. He also speculates that the map of Aline's father can be traced back to the Last Thule, the Nazi expedition that sought that lost continent. Reached the Heart of the World, the two confront the Aggartha flora and fauna, grown abnormally due to the particular magnetism, and confront each other with Stone. He manages to hit both Carnby and the Mi-Go, finally evoking the growing chaos. It is therefore Aline who kills him, using a spell found among his father's belongings, removing the crown and then trying to close the crack from which the growing chaos is descending on the earth plane. Thanks to the intervention of Ganesha, returned to help them, the three repel the cosmic horror and return to the airship of dr. Leng. Here Carnby is summoned to have bad news about Fiske while Ganesha, jokingly, proposes to Aline to marry him.
Edward Carnby: Boston private investigator. Paranormal expert, he is sent to Nepal by colleague Charles Fiske to find and destroy the Crown of Genghis, given the approach of the Hour of the Scythe , before the Kun-Yin.
Aline Cedrac: Professor of ethnology at the University of Boston. After finding an ancient map in a secret compartment of the safe that belonged to his unknown father, he decided to undertake an expedition between India and Nepal to find Aggartha so as to discover information on the identity of his father.
Frank Stone: Aline's colleague at the Boston Museum, accompanies the girl on her journey to Aggartha. It is actually one of the Kun-Yin, its goal is to find the Crown of Genghis in order to evoke the Growing Chaos.
Ganesha: Indian antique dealer and treasure dealer. Greedy and very pragmatic, he has already met Carnby and leads Aline's expedition to Nepal to find Aggartha.
Dr. Leng: Mysterious Asian who resides in a kind of flying ship, he seems to know both Carnby and Fiske well, collaborating with them. Reference is made to the 'Void-which-consumes' a power or entity that he could free, so powerful as to confront the Growing Chaos.
Monplaisir: female assistant to Dr. Leng
Diana Armitage- character in story, named after and probably related to Dr. Henry Armitage from HP Lovecraft's story, "The Dunwich Horror."
Rakashas - statue guardians of the Crown of Genghis, turned to life with the power of the crown
- Ali- Ganesha's assistant
- Nosmo Cobis! Holo Erasma Rabis! - incantation said by Carnby
- You Fool! Frank is Dead!
To the Cthulhu Cycle: Edit
- The title of the work derives from the quote "Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous" by HP Lovecraft in the story The events concerning the late Arthur Jermyn and his family.
- The writer Robert Blake, mentioned in the comic, is a protagonist of the story The inhabitant of the dark by HP Lovecraft. It owes its name to the writer Robert Bloch to whom the story was dedicated.
- The epithet Creeping Chaos Ascending refers to that of Nyarlathotep , called the Creeping Chaos.
- Diana Armitage's character shares the surname with that of Dr. Henry Amitage, one of the main characters in the story The horror of Dunwich .
- Dr. Leng owes its name to the Leng Plateau , an imaginary place mentioned in the stories The Mastiff , To the Mountains of Madness and The dreamlike search of the unknown Kadath.
- The term Mi-Go refers to the Yeti, however Lovecraft uses it in the story He Whispered in Darkness to indicate the Yuggoth Mushrooms , an alien race.
- The Yian-Ho mentioned by Aline refer to an ancient place located under New York in the short story The Diary of Alonzo Typer , written by Lovecraft and William Lumley . Instead in Through the doors of the Silver Key always by Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price , it is a place related to the Leng Plateau. The term Yian-Ho derives from Yian, a lost city in Asia invented by Robert W. Chambers (writer who strongly influenced Lovecraft) in The maker of Moons and Slayer of Souls .
- The Dzyan cited by Aline refer to the Book of Dzyan described in The Secret Doctrine of the Theosophist Helena Blavatsky and quoted by Lovecraft and Lumbley in The Diary of Alonzo Typer.
- The name Kun-Yin derives from Kuen-Yuen, the Asian sorcerers of Robert Chambers' The Maker of Moons .
- Stone's phrase "Poor fool! Frank is dead!" pays homage to the words with which the story ends Randolph Carter's declaration .
- The Dzyan cited by Aline are an ancient breed that appeared in Origins of Neptune Perkins, also written by Jean Marc Lofficier, of Young All-Stars of DC Comics .
- The words spoken by by Carnby to try to stop Stone, "Nosmo Cobis! Holo Erasma Rabis!" , are the same as those of Formula Montesi which appeared in the Doctor Strange comics (in particular a cycle of stories inspired by the pantheon of Lovecraft, which Jean Marc Lofficier also worked on).
- Diana Armitage's appearance, characterized by a long braid, and her profession are a probable tribute to the famous tomb predator Lara Croft .
- Ganesha names the popular English auction house Sotheby's.
- In addition to Aggartha , the lost kingdoms of Ys , Mu , Camelot and Kor are named . The latter is a lost African continent invented by H. Rider Haggard for the novel The Eternal Woman .
- The monks of Montsegur , to which Frank Stone refers, are a Cathar society that existed until 1244 and described in the novel Le Chant de Montsegur by Sylvie Miller and Philippe Ward .
The comic title was named after the first part of a quote from HP Lovecraft's story, "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family".
- Writer's website: Jean Marc & Randy Lofficer: http://www.lofficier.com/alone.htm