Last week I posted a Hemingway quote where he lamented on the longevity of writers: “Greatness is the longest marathon ever run; many enter; few survive.” Well, I think it’s safe to say after 150 years, Edgar Allan Poe is one writer who has gone the distance. His poems and short stories are still read by people from all walks of life. I own the complete works of Poe myself and find it’s one of the books that I regularly reference.
Nevermore is a graphic novel that gives a fresh lease on life for nine Poe classics, like The Raven, The Pit and the Pendulum and The Masque of the Red Death. This collection separates itself from numerous comic books in the past that have attempted to delve into the author's psyche. Nevermore succeeds.
A highlight is The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar by screenwriter Jeremy Slater and artist John McCrea. Valdemar wishes to avoid the pain of a slow death, so he hires a hypnotist who ends up placing Valdemar in limbo. He appears dead but his body doesn’t deteriorate and Mr. Valdemar can be heard saying eerie things like: "Everything is dark and cold! And there are things in here with me! I can hear them moving!" Mr. McCrea’s strong panels with Mr. Slater’s re-imagining made this fresh for someone that knows what the shocking final scene holds.
The Oval Portrait is also updated by writer David Berner who adds a nice twist in making the original painter into a photographer and the doomed model a movie star. Liliana Kuschke poses for Jed. Months later, he finally captures her “life” on film. Natalie Sandell (Carson City) does the fine artwork for this lesser known Poe piece. (Oscar Wilde was a fan of this story and used the "deadly painting" idea for The Picture of Dorian Gray).
For the final pages, Laura Howell pens a nifty biography with some interesting Poe facts. He was buried in an unmarked grave for twenty six years when funds were finally raised for a more appropriate memorial. The body exhumed from the grave was not Poe and later found to be a soldier named Philip Mosher. Poe’s body has never been located.
The cover of a slumped-over, blood-spattered raven draws attention to this well done adaptation. And with Roger Corman’s inspired forward, I’m hoping for a follow-up. This graphic novel proves Poe’s 19th century macabre tales are timeless.
Death of Edgar Allan Poe from Wikipedia contradicts Nevermore's take on Poe's remains.
Women Of Mystery's Terrie posted a great My Town Monday on Poe's NY cottage with a link to a NY Times article about the possession of Poe's bones.