Edgar Allan Poe's Haunt of Horror (2006)
By: J.R. McNamara on August 13, 2006  |  Comments ()  |  Share 
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Credits
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: Richard Corben, Rich Margopoulos
Art: Richard Corben
What do you get when you combine the talents of two American literary giants from different fortes? These sorts of collaborations usually go either of two ways. In some cases, the result can be a mess of conflicting egos and a horrific clash of styles, but at other times, you can end up with a truly classic piece of work that defines both involved.

This is where the comic Edgar Allan Poe's Haunt of Horror lies, a three issue limited series from Marvel's adult oriented line, MAX comics, which is kind of like DC's Vertigo, but deliberately different so that the comparison will never be made. Edgar Allan Poe, horror's grandmaster of the macabre is the inspiration for these tales, which are adapted, drawn and written by Den creator Richard Corben (with help from Rich Maropoulos). Corben has taken the tales of Poe, and has adapted them so that they are easily portrayed in comic form, which Poe's work may not directly translate to.

Published in black and white, though the covers have splashes of crimson, the three issues contain these tales: issue one has The Raven, The Sleeper and The Conqueror Worm, issue two has The Tell-Tale Heart, Spirits of the Dead, Eulalie and The Lake, and issue 3 has Izrafel, The Happiest Day and Berenice. Poe's work is represented by a wonderful mix of classics known by many, and a few not so well known.

Corben has taken some liberties with his translations, for example Issue 3's adaptation of Poe's Israfel becomes the tale of a gangsta rapper, and his eventual downfall due to a war with a rival musician. But these modernizations are never seen as insults to the source, but instead they pay homage to Poe's work. The original poems are also printed in text form at the end of each story so the newcomer to Poe's work can admire his writing. Corben's artistic style lends itself wonderfully to Poe's work as well. Starting in 1969 in the underground comix scene, his art has been published by Warren, DC Comics, Heavy Metal, and Marvel comics, and although can be identified by the abundance of busty women and (especially in the case of Den) well hung men, is best described as moody and cinematic. Corben's creation of mood through the use of lighting is unsurpassed!

This atmospheric art produced by Corben compliments Poe's morbid poetry to create a wonderful combination of classic American Literature and underground art that is a must have for fans of either genres. Not every adaptation is a 5 star winner, but most hit the mark brilliantly. If I could fault this series at all, it is that it was of only 3 issues. More please!!!
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