By Ryan C. Bradley
EDGAR ALLAN POE mangles classic tales and brand new stories in this cross between Drunk History and Tales from the Crypt! A comedic collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s sickest stories, adapted by comics’ snarkiest talents, and original stories–all introduced by Poe at his drunkest. Collecting all of the comics from the 6-issue AHOY Comics series, plus prose, a puzzle, and poetry.
Published by AHOY Comics, Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror Volume 1 is an anthalogy featuring the works of Tom Peyer & Mark Russell and illustrations by Fred Harper, Peter Snejbjerg, Hunt Emerson, Cienna Madrid, Carly Wright & Shannon Wheeler
Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror Volume 1 collects the first six issues of the Ahoy comic series of the same name. Calling it a graphic novel is misleading because there are more non-visual pieces — poems and flash fictions — than comics in this anthology. Most of the comics are short parodies of Poe — the man in some, his stories in others — with no words breaking up the other pieces followed by more prose.
There are some excellent stories in this anthology. Matt Buchele’s “Welcome to Adult Birthday Dinner Experience” mocks the awkward experience of large birthday dinners at restaurants in the voice of a theme-park ride attendant to great comic effect. “Height, weight, and age restraints are important to follow. If you are too tall, ride-goers will ask if you played volleyball in high school.” For every good entry, though, one will have to wade through four or five that are not on the same level — those stories, like Tolstoy’s “unhappy families,” each lack in their own unique way.
The authors in the collection frequently try to satirize our current political landscape, which is a tall order. For satire to work, it needs to push something so far that it becomes ridiculous. While a rhyme like, “Once upon a midnight dryly / while I pandered Bill O’Reilly” from Hart Seely’s “The Putin” is clever, it does not push reality further than the well-circulated rumor that Donald Trump gets his information from Fox News. It ends up being a depressing reminder rather than a scathing indictment.
For a series named Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror, there is not a lot of Poe in here either. He is the focus of the frame stories, but mostly to joke about his alcoholism, sometimes to fantastic effect, but more often, the anthology is beating a dead horse. The “terror” feels absent, as well.
Bogged down with bad stories and a misleading title, Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror, volume 1 disappointed. (★★☆☆☆)