Alan Moore's The Courtyard

Alan Moore's The Courtyard is a two-issue comic book mini-series published in 2003 by Avatar Press. The comic was adapted by Antony Johnston with artwork by Jacen Burrows from a 1994 prose story by Alan Moore (credited as "consulting editor").

Alan Moore's The Courtyard
Alan Moore's The Courtyard TPB (2004), art by Jacen Burrows
Publication information
PublisherAvatar Press
FormatLimited series
Publication dateJanuary – February 2003
No. of issues2
Creative team
Created byAlan Moore
Jacen Burrows
Written byAlan Moore (original story)
Antony Johnston (adaptation)
Artist(s)Jacen Burrows
Editor(s)William A. Christensen
Alan Moore
Collected editions
Deluxe Hardcover SetISBN 1-59291-017-3


Aldo Sax is an FBI agent using "anomaly theory", a method that correlates seemingly unrelated data into a cohesive whole, to investigate three seemingly unrelated ritual murders around the United States. His investigation leads him to a nightclub in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where he hears of a psychoactive drug called Aklo, peddled by a mysterious veiled man named Johnny Carcosa. Sax sets up a meet with Carcosa at the dealer's apartment building, where he is given a hallucinogenic white powder as a prelude to the Aklo. Carcosa speaks an unknown language to Sax, who experiences visions of spectral planes and hideous primordial creatures, while understanding the truth that Aklo is not a drug, but the language Carcosa spoke to him. The visions, given to him by Aklo, drive Sax to murder his neighbor using the same modus operandi as the killers he was investigating.

Publication history

The original 1994 prose story had first appeared in an anthology The Starry Wisdom: A Tribute to H. P. Lovecraft (Creation Books, 1995, ISBN 1-871592-32-1).

The comic book adaptation was planned to appear in Alan Moore's Yuggoth Cultures and Other Growths, but it was published as a limited series by Avatar in January and February 2003.

Collected editions

The series was collected in a trade paperback in 2003, a second version (the Companion) was released in 2004, which contained annotations by Lovecraft scholar N. G. Christakos and reprinted Moore's original short story. A limited edition hardcover set of the two volumes was also released in 2004. In 2009 a full color version was released separately, as well as in a collection with Moore's sequel series Neonomicon.

  • Alan Moore's The Courtyard (Avatar Press, softcover, 56 pages, 2004, ISBN 1-59291-015-7)
  • Alan Moore's The Courtyard Companion (Avatar Press, softcover, 72 pages, 2004, ISBN 1-59291-016-5)
  • Alan Moore's The Courtyard Deluxe Hardcover Set (Avatar Press, hardcover, 128 pages, 2004, ISBN 1-59291-017-3)
  • Alan Moore's The Courtyard (Color Edition) (Avatar Press, 56 pages, 11 March 2009, ISBN 1-59291-060-2)

H. P. Lovecraft and Cthulhu Mythos connections

  • The action takes place in Red Hook.
  • The blatant racism of the protagonist mimics the inherent racism of Lovecraft's original "Red Hook" tale.[1]
  • The plot revolves around Aklo.
  • The drug dealer is named after Carcosa.
  • A band is named "The Cats of Ulthar" and sings "The Music of Erich Zann", the same title as a story by Lovecraft.
  • A nightclub is named Zothique.
  • Paintings by an artist named Pickman make an appearance.
  • The protagonist receives censored FBI reports of an incident years ago; the events described therein match those related in "The Shadow over Innsmouth" (Johnny Carcosa also offers to sell him "a cock ring from Innsmouth").
  • The mystical visions feature portrayals of many recognizable Mythos entities, including Cthulhu, Y'Golonac, Tsathoggua, a Mi-go, and probably others.
  • More Mythos names can be found in the drug-induced "gibberish", including Nyarlathotep, Glaaki and, Lloigor.


Alan Moore has written a 4-part sequel to The Courtyard called Neonomicon, the final issue of which was released by Avatar on 23 March 2011. Moore's 2015–17 comic Providence is a further continuation in the series.


  1. Lin Carter, Lovecraft: A Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos, p. 46.
    H. P. Lovecraft, Selected Letters vol. 2, p. 27; quoted in Peter Cannon, "Introduction", More Annotated Lovecraft, p. 5.


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