Frauenfelder did admit that if hoboes can't topple the pirates, a long shot for the title may be the mythos of HP Lovecraft, what we'll call Cthulhoid. In fact, his fellow Boing Boing blogger, Xeni Jardin , has recently blogged about the 70th anniversary of the death of H.P. Lovecraft. She mentioned how Cthulhu, Azathoth and Nylarhotep, to name a few, were enjoying more popularity now than ever. And everyone wants a baby shoggoth under the Christmas tree.
Horror writer and occasional independent Lovecraftian scholar Richard Dansky believes it's time for the Cthulhoids, and he cites Johnny Depp as one of the plusses in his category. "Johnny Depp has already been in one Cthulhu-inspired movie - Pirates of the Caribbean 2 - and he's already been the perfect Lovecraftian protagonist in Sleepy Hollow: a shy intellectual who faints a lot and goes investigating things he oughtn't."
Like hoboes, Lovecraftian monsters are re-entering the consciousness of the world. "Lovecraft is enjoying a wonderful renaissance in all sectors, academic, commercial, you name it," Dansky said. "[Because] tentacles are cool, and because there's so much room to maneuver within Lovecraft. He doesn't actually describe anything; he gives you bits and pieces and lets you build your own horror."
Honestly, by our litmus tests, the Cthulhoid have the strongest chance against the pirates. As Dansky said, they already have the Depp factor based on Davy Jones' imagery from the second movie. They have tabletop games tied up with the popular RPG Call of Cthulhu and the board game Arkham Horror. Call of Cthulhu has come to the Xbox as well, in the guise of a first-person action-adventure game.
So can Cthulhu and his ilk be the next big thing? People have mixed Hello Kitty with Cthulhu, the Jesus fish car magnet with Cthulhu and even Christmas carols (Very Scary Solstice tunes like "Oh Cthulhu!" and "Have Yourself a Very Scary Solstice"). We like the fear of the sanity lost, we like the prospect of not being killed in battle, but having all of mankind devoured. We're really masochists, I suppose.
When asked who would take over if it weren't the Cthulhoids, Dansky said, "Whatever the next big thing is, the Cthulhoids will eat it. But honestly: '70s cops [could replace them]. Preferably with huge, bushy, porn moustaches." Imagine Johnny Depp starring in that movie.
Pirates, take heed. Your time of reckoning is at hand. The zombies, hoboes, Cthulhoids and the (shudder) 70's cops are coming for you. Better keep you guarrrrrd up.
Mur Lafferty is a freelance writer and podcast producer. She has dabbled in as much gaming as possible while working with Red Storm Entertainment and White Wolf Publishing. Currently she writes freelance for several gaming publications and produces three podcasts. She lives in Durham, NC.