What do you get when you mix Edgar Allan Poe, syphilis, breakfast cereal, and a barnacle?
Sounds like a joke with a terrible punchline, but in this case, the result is splendid. Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror #1 provides the world with all of that and so much more. Containing two comics, a cartoon, a poem, and some extras, this anthology is as much humor as it is terror, never taking itself too seriously while delivering some spooky-good tales.
The two comics in the anthology are preceded by the master of horror himself, and in rare form. The introduction to the first comic depicts a syphilis-ridden Poe in a drunken state with lots of woes and whining. It is quite memorable and one of my favorite parts of the anthology. In the first comic, writer Tom Peyer adapted “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar “(a Poe short story of the same name), but added his own twists. A pastry chef who knows the hour of his death and needs to extend his time on Earth to become famous. The ending is humorous and grotesque, wrapping up the perfect start for the anthology.
The second comic, “Dark Chocolate,” kept me chuckling long after I finished reading. The Marquis de Cocoa is a closet vampire famous for his breakfast parties and, of course, Count Chocula-like cereal. He uses the parties to hide his true nature, sometimes suffering the consequences of the rising sun in an attempt to fool his peers. Writer Mark Russell and artist Peter Snejbjerg include lots of opportunity for small laughs in both the witty dialogue and the little details in the panels – my favorite being spotting a Captain Crunch imposter at the party. I must also mention that the lettering for both comics (by Rob Steen) for the narrative really caught my attention with their ripped edges, lending to setting the mood for the comics – that sense of antique combined with Mr. Poe.
“Poe and the Black Cat” by Hunt Emerson (writer and artist) is a television cartoon come to life on the page, as Poe battles it out with an obnoxious and unwanted cat. It is a story in the style of Tom and Jerry or Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. A delightful addition, it tips the humor scale for the anthology while providing some mindless fun, just as a good cartoon should. The poem “The Scallop and the Barnacle” by Cienna Madrid wraps up the anthology. The stanzas have that Poe feel to them, but also border on comical in some areas.
Overall, Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror #1 is unexpectedly fun, but fully delivers in the creepy factor where needed. The creative minds involved in the tales each add their own flair, giving the reader a roller coaster of different styles. My only complaint? I wanted more.
Comics Creative Team: Writers – Tom Peyer, Mark Russell; Artists – Fred Harper, Peter Snejbjerg; Colorist – Michael Garland (for The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar); Letterer – Rob Steen for The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar and Dark Chocolate).
“Extras” Creative Team: Carly Wright, Cienna Madrid, Hunt Emerson
Cover: Richard Williams
Publisher: Ahoy Comics
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