Cover Image: The Monstrous Dreams of Mr. Providence

The Monstrous Dreams of Mr. Providence

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Member Reviews

A trippy adventure into the madness of human mind, I suppose? I honestly don't really know what the story is about. I really loved the art in this book - dark, and so weird, and so detailed, with splashes of dreamy colors on some pages. I even loved the story itself for the first half of the book - I was thinking this will actually be a 5 star read for me, I liked the eerie atmosphere and all the weirdness of everything that much! But then... I just completely lost the sense of what was going on and what direction the story wanted to take us and what it wanted to tell, it was so convoluted. Needless to say, that made me lose all of the interest in the story I previously had.

I know it's heavily inspired by H. P. Lovecraft's story "The Strange High House in the Mist", maybe it's even a retelling or spin-off or something, can't say for sure because I am not familiar with Lovecraft and his works all that much. It bothers me that that wasn't properly explained at the beginning in foreword or something, because near the end of the book there's just an entire Lovecraft's story included! That felt really jarring. Maybe I'd appreciate this graphic novel more if I were a big fan of Lovecraft beforehand and knew more about him and his stories, but again, can't say for sure.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book for the story, but if you want to look at some really good illustrations then go for it.
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I unfortunately couldn’t read it before the archive date, which is too bad, but life got in the way. I’m pretty bummed as this sounded amazing.
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The art work is imaginative and gorgeous - it conjures up an entire universe. Unfortunately the plot is too convoluted and meandering to make for a captivating read.
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Every once in a while I come across a book that completely subverts expectation in just about every way possible, and that's exactly what happened today when reading The Monstrous Dreams of Mr. Providence by Daria Schmitt, a new graphic novel published by Europe Comics. At first I thought this was just a gothic fantasy story, somewhat akin to Sandman or Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but I had a HUGE realization later on that this was in fact a back-door biographical story based on a VERY prominent author. My interest in the book grew exponentially as I started to try to make sense of the symbolism and mystery involved in the story.  

The artwork in this graphic novel is absolutely stunning. Some pages are in color, while the majority is in black and white, and rendered in a complex pen and ink art style. The art is highly detailed and hardly any space on any given page is left untouched. These are broad comparisons, but I was somewhat reminded of the manga artist Junji Ito, who wields a similar style in terms of backgrounds and splash pages mixed with the sensibilities of Neil Gaiman's writing and character designs, notably with something like The Sandman. Add a huge bucket of H.P Lovecraft (which I will soon elaborate on), and that's generally the tone of this book. I have no real idea as to whom Daria Schmitt is actually inspired by, but those names kept coming to me.

 Speaking of H.P. Lovecraft, people familiar with his works will get a far better appreciation for this story than others, and honestly without knowing a bit about him, the finer points of this may fly right over their heads. One of the main storyline points in this book revolves around Mr. Providence trying to protect a mysterious book with blank pages hiding a great evil from the "Mental Health Services". Considering that Providence looks exactly like H.P. Lovecraft, and Providence, Rhode Island is where Lovecraft lived, one can easily see that this was not a story about a fantasy character named Mr. Providence, but H.P. Lovecraft himself. At one point we even see the mysterious book he has been guarding is an actual Lovecraft story called The Strange High House in The Mist, printed in full within the pages of this graphic novel. One can surmise that the actual plot if this book was something akin to a magical world Lovecraft escapes to in his own mind. 

In regards to his battles with psychologists, I'm sure the book was making a point with this in regards to mental health treatment being adverse to creativity or something, but this portion was kind of weird. I know Lovecraft largely died because he HATED doctors and basically withered away from cancer, so perhaps this is what they were going for? It would take a far more knowledgeable person to see any symbolism I may have missed. 

One's enjoyment of this book is directly proportional to how much somebody likes or knows about H.P. Lovecraft. While I personally am not the biggest fan of Lovecraftian literature, I know about him and appreciate what the author was doing here as these sorts of meta storylines based on a famous person's life can be somewhat weird at times. The artwork in this is absolutely amazing, and easily stands out as some of the best comic artwork I've seen all year so far. If you enjoy off-the-wall fantasy stories or are a huge Lovecraft fan I'd recommend this in a heartbeat as you really can't go wrong with some a well-done book that takes chances like this.
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Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Beautiful, eye-catching artwork that dramatically increases the already interesting storyline. This was fun to read and I can't wait to recommend it to others.
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Many thanks to Netgalley, Europe Comics and the author, for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Mr. Providence is the caretaker of a park that house monstrous creatures at night. When the new manager of the park does not believe in any of the monsters and want to make the park more 'people friendly'inspite of all of his warnings, Mr. Providence sets out to make sure all the mostrocities within the park stays exactly where they are.

The art style of this book was hauntingly beautiful. The way the almost all of the comic was in black and white and then slowly turquoise seeps into the art was just brilliant and beautiful. It took me some time to actually get the hang of the story and its definitely not everyone's cup of tea.
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Mr. Providence is the caretaker of a city park.  The park is home to mysterious entities that awaken when night falls.  Mr. Providence has vowed that he will protect all visitors.  The new manager has a different outlook on how the park’s staff should operate than the way they do.  Mr. Providence finds a blank book which seems to be quite difficult to keep.  Why?  In the middle of this graphic book, a story appears which is “The Strange High House in the Mist” by Howard Phillips Lovecraft.  The story s print with a few colored illustrations. It then returns to the graphic novel style.  

The illustrations in this book are fantastic and colorful and the “cells” that started out in color turn black and white.  The graphic story made me think of Lovecraft so I was pleasantly surprised to find a “short story” by Lovecraft included in this book.  I enjoyed the novel as I am a Lovecraft fan.  I was new to the short story as I had not come across it before.  The graphic novel is also tied into Lovecraft’s story.  I believe that if you know Lovecraft’ fiction that you will enjoy it as I did, you will enjoy this new “style” of story telling.
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Free copy received in exchange for an honest review.

In this story we meet Mr. Providence who is caretaker of seemingly normal park. Well, it might look so to a normal person, but Mr. Providence is certainly not normal. He is able to see into this dream world full of weird monsters and as such he is trying to protect the visitors from them.

I am not certain what to say to the story. It was certainly interesting, but I am not sure I understood everything. It is tied to H.P. Lovecraft, his short story is actually incorporated into this one. So maybe if I knew more about his Dream Cycle stories I would appreciate this more too. Still, it was a pleasant short story.

What I could appreciate was the art. We have this black and white art for the real world that is not that appealing but fitting and then we have this beautiful colourful art for the dream world. Just that art alone made it worthwhile to read.
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I enjoyed this story and the beautiful artwork enhanced my enjoyment of the narrative. The characters were interesting and I found the ambiguity intriguing.
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While the incorporation of color with the black and white art was visually stunning, overall I found this storyline was very confusing and hard to engage with. Maybe if I had an appreciation of H.P. Lovecraft, I might like it more? It also felt weird that the “bad” guys were from mental health services… unsure what the commentary here was.

I regretted asking to review this book, but thanks to Netgalley and Europe Comics for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Mr Providence has always seemed weird. He's taking care of the park and keeps items he finds in hopes to return them back to their rightful owners one day. One of these items is a book that seems to have blank pages but what hides inside this book is some dark and mysterious power. And this sinister power is slowly transforming the park. Interestingly enough, only those who have "touched" the book seem to see these monsters and changes. And since Mr Providence doesn't want anyone to take his book, basically everyone thinks Mr Providence is not right in the head.

An interesting aspect is a strange house he sees within the park pond. Because that's a story on its own. It's actually the story The Strange High House in The Mist by H.P. Lovecraft. So it seems that The Monstrous Dreams of Mr Providence might be some kind of a prequel to The Stange High House in The Mist??...

This book was very confusing, and I didn't really like it that much. But I'm sure there is a deeper meaning. And the reason for this thought is the hidden story of The Strange High House in The Mist by H.P. Lovecraft. I just couldn't find that deeper meaning. I'm not a fan of Lovecraft, but I'm sure fans will enjoy this book.

On the other hand, one thing I absolutely love about this book is the art. It is exquisite, especially in the black and white combination. And when the creatures appear, colours are added to the art! So these creatures are instantly more vivid. The attention to detail is stunning.

Thank you Netgalley and Europe Comics for granting me access to this book in exchange for an honest review!
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<i>Thank you to NetGalley and Europe Comics for a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.</i>

Like many before me, I was initially drawn to this graphic novel by the absolutely gorgeous art. In many ways, it reminds me of the late Kentaro Muira and the way his work on Berserk featured gorgeously detailed black and white spreads. The majority of this novel is the same. However, vibrant splashes, reminiscent of watercolour, often suffuse the pages as the main character, Mr. Providence, draws ever closer to the magic and fantastical world he has discovered. I found myself often pausing in order to just admire the art for a long while before continuing on.

I wish I was as drawn in by the story itself as I was by the art. I often found the plot too fast-paced and difficult to follow, made all the more difficult by the shifting mental state of Mr. Providence. I was often uncertain of characters' motivations or desires, and was left reeling before moving on to the next event all too quickly. I struggled to finish this novel, frustrated as I was with the difficulty I felt trying to engage with it.

There was also the troubling way the topic of mental health was handled in general. Mental health workers are the villains of the story, so to speak. While it may suit the time period the story it set in, with the horror stories coming out of Bedlam Asylum coming to mind, it feels out of place as a commentary when contrasted with modern attitudes and efforts to overcome stigma.

Others have also addressed the anti-semitism inherent in using the name "Zadok" (Hebrew for justified or righteous) for the mental health worker who is vilified within the narrative. I want to believe that it was an honest oversight rather than a deliberate connection, but I couldn't say for sure.

Overall, this graphic novel is a gorgeous and captivating dive into a fantastical world inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft (and even featuring one of his stories within the text). If you have the patience to engage with an admittedly confusing story, you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful illustrations I've encountered in recent memory.
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As is evident from the cover, the artwork is absolutely stunning. It's so richly detailed and deliciously dark. The deep colors are a feast for the senses. However, the story didn't really grab me and there were some problematic parts. I loved pouring over the pictures on each page and seeing the intricate details. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this ARC. All thoughts are my own.
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I definitely enjoyed it for both the story and art. Additional kudos for creating and portraying imaginative entities, and creating surreal, dreamlike atmosphere. Enjoyable read.
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The illustrations are what really make this graphic novel special. The main illustrations are black and white, but pops of color are used to really bring forth the ideas of dreaming and mystery. The ideas of Lovecraft are expanded on in a new way that respects the old masterpiece. 

The characters have distinct personalities and drives. Sometimes it was like a fever dream to read, but this actually worked as it was truly what the story was about.
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The artwork is beautiful, especially the colourful dreaming monstrous parts “pouring into” the black-and-white sane, normal parts of reality. But the storyline is confusing. There also seems to be some vague references to Lovecraft and some of his more problematic ideas, so I am very unsure about this book.
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Thank you to Europe Comics and NetGalley for providing me with a digital arc of this graphic novel to review.

The illustrations in this we really stunning at times - especially with the use of limited colour and the surreal aquatic creatures. The best thing about this graphic novel was the artwork.

This really wasn’t my cup of tea. Quite frankly, it didn’t make much sense to me and seemed lacking in plot. The pacing felt uneven and I found the H.P Lovecraft short story really jarred with the storytelling style of the graphic novel and felt out of place.

I was really uncomfortable with the problematic ableist language and storyline that was a major plot point in this graphic novel. I would have dnf’d this, had it not been a review copy.

I would not recommend reading this.
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"Mr. Providence is the caretaker at what seems by day to be an ordinary city park. But the park is home to mysterious entities that awaken when night falls, and Providence has sworn to protect its visitors despite the doubts of his corporate-minded new manager. A delicate balance is tipped into chaos with the discovery of a mysterious blank book—and the dark energies it threatens to unleash. All Providence wants is to escape: to somewhere quiet, isolated, and peaceful, like the strange high house he keeps seeing reflected in the park's pond..."

First of all, the art is beautiful! It reminded me of Neil Gaiman's comics (eg. Sandman). If I get a hold of the physical copy, I think I may turn some of the pages into a poster. The copy I received is a digital copy, so I did find the all-caps font and very-detailed art style made it hard to read on my tablet--goodness, the number of times I had to zoom in and out haha. If you are planning to buy this graphic novel, I highly recommend buying a physical copy, so you can admire the black-and-white art with tiny pops of colour!!

As for the storyline, I was a bit lost and I was not sure what in the world happened (like waking up from a "monstrous dream", I guess). The story was fast-paced, so I found that the plot lacked depth and the characters were not loveable.

Overall, I highly recommend checking out Daria Schmitt's art! Schmitt has absolutely wonderful, artistic talent. I feel like her art style would suit Alice in Wonderland! Hopefully, she makes a graphic novel adaptation of that. :)

Thank you to NetGalley and Europe Comics for providing me with a free copy of The Monstrous Dreams of Mr. Providence in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book. 

While the book was very pretty, I felt like it was all over the place and that it was hard to make sense of the story. I loved the three old women and the new caretaker.

My issue is that the art was pretty but this hurt my eyes and wasn't worth the pain.

"Remember, the occult always punishes skeptics and wreaks vengeance on those who deny it's power."
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Thank you Netgalley and Europe Comics for granting me access to an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Overall rating(My original rating was 4 stars but after reading the review from Emily Sarah I changed it):
Art: 5/5 stars
Story: 3/5 stars
Characters: 3/5 stars

TLDR; Acceptable/decent story with amazing art and a short story from H.P Lovecraft at the end, I'd say it's worth a read.

The first thing that captured my interest in this graphic novel was the art, and it did not disappoint. Starting off with the art, the linework is beautifully done and you can tell the amount of effort the artist put in each panel. The graphic novel is mostly illustrated in black & white, but colored panels appear and I love how they use it to distinguish the dream world from the real world. The art style chosen for this graphic novel was perfect. I often found myself looking at the panels for a while just to admire the detail work that I'd forget to read the dialogue.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the story, I found myself reading more for the art than the story. The storyline and ending was slightly confusing to me, and I started skimming through the book at one point. The characters weren't that loveable nor interesting. I definitely did not expect a short story at the end. Nevertheless, I think it's worth it to give this graphic novel a shot.
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