Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 19: Happy birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

Happy birthday today to the Master of Macabre (sit down, Stephen King): Edgar Allan Poe! (Always remember than his middle name has an "A" in it. Sometimes comics don't and I've corrected that error in the artwork!) Born on this day in the spooky, spooky year of 1809 (scary, huh, kids?), Poe's oeuvre includes moody works you have to read in high school like "The Black Cat," "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Purloined Letter, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" "The Masque of the Red Death,,""Annabel Lee," "The Bells,", and the novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, which to my vast disappointment, has nothing at all to do with shrinking down to the size of an ant.

Wikipedia (the encyclopedia where you can scribble on the pages!) tells us that Poe
is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States, and of American literature. Poe was one of the country's earliest practitioners of the short story, and considered to be the inventor of the detective fiction genre, as well as a significant contributor to the emerging genre of science fiction.
Well, all this and more, yes, Wikipedia, but citation needed, what you didn't mention is how much vast influence Poe has had on the everyday common-or-garden comic book! (A: A lot.) And since I can't cover every appearance of Poe or story he's had adapted into comic books, I figger I'm gonna just sit back, plop on my LP of The Alan Parsons Project's Tales of Mystery and Imagination (Amazon ad) and spread out a few of my favorite Poe-influenced comic books for you, if we can just get rid of that BLOODY RAVEN TAPPING ON MY CHAMBER DOOR!

Poe: he's been dead for a long long time, but that doesn't stop him from helping a detective squad crack a puzzling case. Edgar Allan Poe: Ghost Detective!

from "The Mystery That Edgar Allan Poe Solved" in Gang Busters #49 (DC, December 1955), pencils and inks by John Prentice; this version reprinted in Detective Comics #417 (DC, November 1971), colors by Steve Englehart

Here, Edgar himself is roped into a tale of mystery and intrigue out of which he himself could not write...himself...out.

from "Dark Destiny" in Ghosts #26 (DC, May 1974), script by Carl Wessler, pencils and inks by E. R. Cruz

When Roy Thomas adapts classic literature to bring it into the DC Universe, he only steals borrows from the finest! This is from a story that mashes up The Young All-Stars, Philip Wylie's Gladiator, The Book of Dyzan, and Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Roy was doing The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen before Alan Moore was even a hairy gleam in the comics industry's eye!

from Young All-Stars #16 (DC, September 1988), script by Roy Thomas and Dann Thomas, pencils by Michael Bair, inks by Malcolm Jones III, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Jean Simek

Can we poke fun at Edgar Allan Poe? Sure, he's in the public domain! Nobody's stopping us! NFT the heck outta that sucker, nobody'll sue.

from "Dark Moon Rise, Heck Hound Hurt" in Not Brand Echh #11 (Marvel, December 1968), script by Arnold Drake, pencils by Frank Springer, inks by Tom Sutton, colors by Marie Severin (?), letters by Herb Cooper

What If....?™ Edgar Allan Poe wrote Dennis the Menace?

from "If Famous Authors Wrote the Comics" in MAD #46 (April 1959), script by Frank Jacobs, pencils and inks by Wally Wood

Even today, Edgar's pastiched from here to Syracuse and back monthly in the pages of Ahoy's brilliant Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter of Blood (and/or Terror and Death) series, which draws its inspiration for original comic stories from the life, legend, and library of the famous Mr. P — with his truly as host!

Top: from "Some Words with a Mummy," script by Bryce Ingman, pencils and inks by Greg Scott, colors by Felipe Sobreiro, letters by Rob Steen
Bottom: from "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," script by Mark Rahner, pencils and inks by Alan Robinson, colors by Michael Garland, letters by Rob Steen
both from Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter of Terror #4 (Ahoy, January 2019)

And don't forget to mention (well, I didn't) the brilliant and hilarious parody covers of the AHoy Poe series!


Well, if the attack of the fifty-foot Poe in his underpants doesn't convince you to celebrate his birthday, I don't know what will. So sit back, put your feet up, break open your cask of amontillado, and raise a toast to Mr. Edgar Allen (DARN IT) Allan Poe! Happy birthday, Eddie baby!

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