Graphic Classics recently released a revised edition of their Graphic Classics: Edgar Allen Poe, which contains a number of comic adaptations of Poe stories, and they were kind enough to send me a copy. The way that this collection is like shooting ducks in a barrel is that Poe, seen as the creator of the detective story as well as the gothic horror story, translates so well into comic books that it is, well, like shooting ducks in a barrel. So this is certainly an interesting, fun read.
As usual, I’m not going to critique the stories, as, well, we all know they’re great! They’re the pick of the Edgar Allen Poe litter!!
The book opens with a very nice adaptation of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Rick Geary. He created a mood nicely, and the way he adapted it was, I thought, very economical. He got across his points well, and his art is very nice.
I wasn’t as impressed with Antonella Caputo and Anton Emdin’s adaptation of “King Pest.” Caputo does a fine job, but I don’t think that Emdin’s artwork matched the story well. It was way too cartoonish for the story, which really would have done better to have a slightly less silly approach to it, I think.
I was also surprised to see Tom Pomplun, the editor of the collection, and a fabulous adapter, due a surprisingly disappointing adaptation of “Premature Burial.” Joe Ollmann does a fine job with the artwork, but I think the twist of the story was hurt a bit by how Pomplun adapted the story. The transitioning was a bit awkward, I thought.
The great Roger Langridge follows with a great adaptaion of the short poem, “Eldorado.” Langridge is such a great artist.
Pomplun redeems himself with his adaptation of “The Imp of the Perverse,” with suitably creepy artwork by Lance Tooks. Pomplun here presents the story quite clearly, and Tooks creates a very fitting atmosphere for the story. A very nice adaptation – adding perhaps a touch or two that Poe wouldn’t even think about!
Next is (in a great idea by Pompun…or at least I presume it was Pomplun’s idea) “The Raven,” and the idea of allowing a different artist going all out drawing one page to go with each passage? Brilliant. Mary Fleener, Every Geradts, Skot Olsen, Steven Cerio, J.B. Bonivert, Michael Manning, Toni Pawlowsky, Ryan Inzana and M.K. Brown each put their all into their pieces, and the effect is remarkably effective.
Stanley Shaw follows with a surprisingly subdued adaptation of “The Masque of the Red Death.” Quite restrained and effective.
Milton Knight follows with a wacky turn with a suitably wacky tale, “Never Bet the Devil Your Head.” I never knew Poe was that funny!!
I wasn’t a big fan of “Hop Frog,” as it was essentially an illustrated story, rather than sequential art. But Lisa K. Weber’s art was good.
The last two tales, I believe, are a fantastic one-two punch.
First, Pedro Lopez does a great adaptation of “The Cask or Amontillado” and then Matt Howarth follows with a delicious “Fall of the House of Usher.” Both men are dealing with absolute classic tales, and therefore, high expectations. Both men deliver the goods.
Skot Olsen and Annie Owens contribute nice pin-ups, as well.
Marcel de Jong and Ramon Contini do a marvelous turn on the cover (depicting the Raven, of course). Lisa K. Weber has a good back cover drawing.
All in all, another great collection of adaptations of classic stories. Definitely recommended.
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