Traditionally, H.P. Lovecraft’s terrible cosmic entity Cthulhu is a fearsome creature that instils dread into followers and cultists alike. Dwelling in dark subterranean realms, Cthulhu is a beast of unimaginable horror, with the wings of a dragon, an octopus for a head and vicious claws.
It is said that simply looking upon the Old One would turn the viewer insane.
In the years since those mythic stories were first published, Cthulhu has evolved in almost every possible direction. As new creative minds take on the character and the stories, some incarnations of Cthulhu have lost a little of the horrific edge and taken on a cuddlier, more approachable demeanour.
In some retellings, Cthulhu has become one of the sweetest, cutest little legend you could ever hope to meet.
Munchkin reinvented the role playing card game, with its focus on humour and cartoony art style. The aim of the game was simply to create the most powerful possible character, to get to the highest level first, assisting and sabotaging other players along the way. Its immense popularity has resulted in the release of a number of expansions and sequels, including multiple Munchkin Cthulhu sets.
While these games do at least reference the might of the ancient monster, the fun drawings don’t always match the brutal reputation.
With big eyes and stubby tentacles that are more adorable than awful, these renditions of the Old One are positively heartwarming. The illustrations of John Kovalic even inspired a range of Chibithulhu plush toys that give you a bonus in the game.
Flappy Monsters of Lovecraft
Not the most gripping incarnation of Cthulhu nor the most complex, but Flappy Monsters of Lovecraft is an addictive mobile game that can be downloaded for free from the Play Store. It’s basically a remake of Flappy Bird, but instead of a bird flying through the sky, you play as Cthulhu navigating your way through the depths of the ocean and the monsters of the Lovecraft’s Mythos.
It’s weird and simple, but there’s no denying that the design for what is famously one of the most spine-chilling monsters ever to have lived is actually pretty adorable.
Unspeakable Vault (of Doom)
Connecting with the more human side of the Old One, Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) is a webcomic by François Launet shows Cthulhu in its day to day life. It depicts the aspects of Cthulhu’s life that are more relatable than your traditional Mythos tales. It doesn’t cut out the more brutal elements of Cthulhu’s routines – things like human sacrifices and inter-dimensional monsters – but it presents them from a new perspective
It’s impossible to read this webcomic without empathising just a little bit with the trials and tribulations Cthulhu faces on a daily basis. Between offering a glimpse of the monsters’ life through its own eyes and depicting it is a genuinely cute way, Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) sucks you into its stories and shines a whole new light on the Mythos.
It is the kind of addictive comic that people have followed religiously for over 550 vaults, proving that devotion to the chronicles of the immortals is no less passionate now than in Lovecraft’s day.
C is for Cthulhu
Reinventing the Cthulhu Mythos for all ages, C is for Cthulhu began life as an alphabet book that made the Old Ones accessible to children. It has since expanded into more books, T-shirts, posters and all kinds of other merchandise including plushies and even baby blankets. Founded on the belief that children, as much as anyone, are inspired and fascinated by monsters and mythology, C is for Cthulhu brings the world of Lovecraft to young and old alike.
It started out on Kickstarter and now has a vast global following. Lovecraft enthusiasts of all ages adore the clothes, accessories, books and toys. The original alphabet board book has the incredible titles of being the highest-rated Lovecraftian book for kids on Amazon.
In their dedication to bringing cosmic horror to everyone, there are even places you can download colouring pages for free and print off Cthulhu Halloween masks from the website.