It was my great fortune to be recommended a graphic novel by a customer of Alternative Armies who is a big fan of Flintloque and especially the Escape the Dark Czar setting. Black Fire by Hernan Rodriguez which was not easy to get but I did find a hard back copy of it second hand and when it arrived from the states I had intended just to flick through it…an hour later I had stood and finished it…wow.
Two soldiers in Napoleon’s army retreating from his disastrous campaigns in Russia are separated from their unit by a Cossack attack and stumble across an isolated Slavic town where strange and bizarre doings are afoot! Linking up with another unit of lost French soldiers, they try to figure out where they are, only to discover that the ancient, abandoned town is deep, forbidden territory the prison of a dark monster-god out of Slavic legend and nightmare, which seeks to use the newcomers to escape!
Black Fire is an original graphic novel by Hernan Rodriguez and published by Archaia. It is full of Lovecraftian horror. This is a story set during the French retreat from Russia during the Napoleonic War. It is about starvation and frostbite. It is about an abandoned snowbound village. It is about evil. It is about a Russian god of death, fire and darkness. It is about creating a mood of dread, fear, and paranoia (if paranoia is, in fact, a mood). It is about the nightmare that occurs with the juxtaposition of human failures and the malevolent forces of the universe. It is a great story.
Hernan Rodriguez has cobbled together an epic dark fantasy of large proportions. His expressionist style artwork marries muted colours with blasts of reds and oranges tightly contained in thick black ink, all of which propels the mood deeper and deeper into the horror that the plot unravels. His line work is perfect for the tone of this story.
This is a book well worth seeking out if you like Flintloque or indeed the work of Lovecraft too. No Orcs or Elves or Zombies really in this one but the same feel as the Death in the Snow setting. How differently things could be done. I got mine at Alibris but copies can be found on Amazon and Ebay too but watch out for the prices…I paid 12GBP and it was worth that, but some people want three times that.
There is no creeping horror in Flintloque like this but if you change the Humans to Elves the tone is spot on. Above Undead Toadmen seek out mortal Elves!