In Review: Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror, Season Two #1

A must-buy book for fans of Edgar Allan Poe or a good laugh.

The cover: I’m a tremendous fan of Poe’s work and would have picked up this book based just on the title, but this cover by Richard Williams had me grab it quickly. Poe, while holding his snifter, punches Hitler as a Nazi takes a shot at him. I love seeing Nazis put in their place and having it be Poe punching out this infamous historical character is fantastic. I love this cover. There’s nothing on this cover that’s inside this book, but who cares? This is killer! Overall grade: A+

The stories: “The Tell-Tale Black Cask of Usher” by Dean Motter is the twenty-one page showpiece of this issue. Poe retells a tale from his past that focuses on his attempts to purloin a cask of wine from a man with a disturbing looking eye. If you catch these references you’ll enjoy this tale. It incorporates several of Poe’s classic tales into one as the author tries to obtain the unobtainable while avoiding several familiar obstacles. It’s funny and incredibly pleasing to read. I wasn’t thrilled with the two pages devoted to Four Poems by Walt Shepperd. They didn’t focus on Poe, weren’t frightening, or funny. They just weren’t for me. Better was “Voodoo Burger” by Brendan Mallory. This is one-paged tale of a young woman who has payback for an employee that should know better. “Poe and the Black Cat” by Hunt Emerson is a two page silent tale of high jinks between Poe and the Black Cat, with each trying to off the other. It reminded me of the silent strips that populated Mad Magazine. I enjoyed this. Overall grades: “The Tell-Tale Black Cask of Usher” A+, Four Poems D, “Voodoo Burger” A-, and “Poe and the Black Cat” A-

The art: The visuals on the opening tale look fantastic. Poe looks exactly like himself and the characters and settings from his classic tales are perfect. Motter is the artist of his opening tale with Alex Ogle providing inks. The design of the gentleman that greets Poe in a bar is perfect. The home that this man lives in also is picture perfect. I am especially fond of the two paintings of the man’s ancestors on the walls that made my heart soar. I laugh every time I look upon the fifth panel on Page 14 which is unlike any action in any Poe story, let alone one I would assume the writer capable of making. I love the sweat coming off the author on 18 which matches the state of a nameless narrator from one of his stories and the bug-eyed look he gives at the top of 19 is wonderful. Greg Scott provides spot illustrations for Shepperd’s poems. I like the second and last illustration the best, with each creating a strong tone which is better than the text they accompany. Elliott Mattice is the artist for the illustration that accompanies Mallory’s tale. I appreciate that it’s a tease of an event from the tale. It doesn’t spoil any aspect of the story if viewed before reading it. Emerson is the artist of his tale and it’s very much in a Mad Magazine or Cracked style. Poe and the Cat are manic and absolutely hilarious. Overall grades: “The Tell-Tale Black Cask of Usher” A+, Four Poems A-, “Voodoo Burger” B, and “Poe and the Black Cat” A+

The colors: Julie Barclay colors the opening tale and is able to keep the tone grim and ominous, yet allow every element of Motter’s illustrations to be clearly seen. I like that the opening beverage is colored a ghastly green to create a dangerous tone. The exteriors of the city and the home of the man are delightfully dark. Poe stands apart from his new friend by having a red jacket on, though it’s muted to fit into this environment. When something attacks Poe the backgrounds go orange and yellow to make the actions more intense. Emerson colors his Cat versus Poe tale. The colors are the brightest of the book, increasing the frantic fight. Overall grades: “The Tell-Tale Black Cask of Usher” A+ and “Poe and the Black Cat” A

The letters: Motter, because he isn’t doing enough, is the letterer of his tale. He creates dialogue and narration (the same font), the story’s title, signage, and some sounds. I prefer when the dialogue and the narration are in different fonts, as they are two different forms of communication. They are easy enough to differentiate here due to their balloons, boxes, and colors. The story’s title is wonderfully over the top in an E.C. Comics’ vein. The sounds are bold, with the one in the fifth panel on 14 adding to the mirth of the action. Overall grade: A-

The final line: This is a must-buy book for fans of Edgar Allan Poe or a good laugh. Motter’s tale is clever, funny, and an absolute joy to read. I didn’t enjoy the poems, but the short story by Mallory is fun, and Emerson’s two pages are a delight. If you want fun and horror, you want Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror, Season Two. Recommended. Overall grade: A-

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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