« With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. » — Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque of the Red Death
And now, a piece from — gasp — 2022! It’s at once most timely and a link to the dim past, with WOT? favourite Rick Geary drawing nimble parallels* to Mr. Poe’s famous tale of arrogant (and happy and dauntless and sagacious) Prince Prospero’s well-earned comeuppance. This other great plague, however, isn’t greeted with hubris by our everyman protagonists. While Poe provides the spirit and the starting point, Geary wends his own way, bless his soul.
Ahoy Comics‘ series of Poe-themed anthologies are of course uneven — such is their nature — but their peaks are joltingly, exceptionally good, and they make the whole enterprise quite worthwhile.
A Tale of The Great Plague appeared in Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death no. 4 (Jan. 2022, Ahoy Comics).
*and also, you might say, to The Fall of the House of Usher and perhaps even The Tell-tale Heart. Clever chap, this Geary.
« Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. » — The Black Cat (1845)
What can I tell you about the legendary English cartoonist and bon vivantHunt Emerson — born in 1952 in Newcastle and still devilishly active these days — that he can’t tell you in his own words?
« Be silent in that solitude which is not loneliness — for then the spirits of the dead who stood in life before thee are again in death around thee — and their will shall then overshadow thee: be still. »
— Edgar Allan Poe (1829)
It was on this day, two hundred and ten years ago, that the great writer, poet and posthumous master of all media Edgar Poe (Jan. 19, 1809 – Oct. 7, 1849) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. I’ll spare you the usual biographical details, widely available elsewhere, and we’ll concentrate on his unflagging ubiquity in the medium of comics.
Classics Illustrated publisher Gilberton was first out of the gate with Poe adaptations, at first tentatively with a pair of poems (Annabel Lee, then The Bells)**, then more substantially with The Murders in the Rue Morgue, in Classic Comicsno. 21 – 3 Famous Mysteries (July, 1944), sharing the stage with Arthur Conan Doyle and Guy de Maupassant. Read it here. Pictured below is Classics Illustratedno. 84 (June 1951, Gilberton), cover by Alex A. Blum. Read the issue here.