Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Necronomicon: Sauber Edition

One of the holy grail props of Mythos fans is the Necronomicon, the infamous tome of forbidden knowledge. It's Lovecraft's most well known creation, outstripping even Cthulhu himself in terms of awareness thanks to it's widespread appearances in popular culture. To date, I don't think anyone has created a fully realized copy. There have been numerous prop versions featuring some incredible bookcrafting and a limited number of pages, but the immense amount of original artwork the project would require is a stumbling block that isn't likely to be overcome anytime soon.

In the meantime we can still enjoy the prop versions that are floating around, like this one created by Pete Sauber for a production of the "Evil Dead: Live!" stage show.

Update: The discussion in the comments has reminded me that I've somehow failed to link to what I think is the single best depiction of the Necronomicon ever created. I'll correct that oversight tomorrow.


Christopher B said...

"To date, I don't think anyone has created a fully realized copy."

Well, unless you take into account the Simon Necronomicon. Yech! (I see Sauber lifted at least one symbol from that blasphemy for the pages of his prop.)

The HPLHS are, allegedly, working on a "complete" Necronimicon - they put out a call for content several years ago. Apparently, the project's still alive, as it's mentioned on one of their product pages: "Publishing the whole book is on our to-do list..."

Given the quality of their stuff, it should be something to behold - whenever it's completed. We can only wait. And wait. And wait.

Anonymous said...

I love evil dead :)
it's cool ;)

Propnomicon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Propnomicon said...

If anyone can do it the HPLHS can, but it's a project that requires the services of a full-time artist and editor for at least a few months to be successful. Otherwise you end up with a mishmash of artistic styles without a single, unifying vision.

People have already produced some nice props using using art clips from public domain occult sources. There's nothing wrong with that approach, and they certainly look passable, but I've never found them very convincing. I'm equally unimpressed with the efforts that look like something from the back cover of a high-school heavy metal fan's notebook. That kind of goofy, gory, silly artwork is just too cheesy for my tastes.

The one artist that I think has done a great job of recreating the Necronomicon, at least on a small scale, is Francois Launet. His work avoids the blandness and familiarity of conventional occult grimoires while capturing the essentially alien nature of the art and text.