Posted in History

Friday Free-for-All (08/10/12)

This week has a theme: Graphic Poe

A couple of weeks ago, I came across Steampunk: Poe at the digital library and put a hold on it. I didn’t pay too much attention to the book’s description and figured that it was an anthology of writers steampunking-up Poe tales. Which I thought had the potential of being good, or at least interesting. Instead, Steampunk: Poe is Poe’s original tales illustrated in steampunk style by Zdenko Basic and Manuel Sumberac. This didn’t work for me. The art is beautiful (though Kindle Cloud Reader doesn’t do it justice), but it just doesn’t go with the stories. That’s probably because Poe has a very visual style and I have very specific images in my head when I read. I don’t have room for other people’s new re-imaginings. (But, I’m interested in the duo’s illustration of steampunk Frankenstein. I don’t recall Shelley quite as vividly.)

I’ve been a Poe fan since I could read, more or less. I distinctly remember in 3rd-grade, or thereabouts, repeatedly checking out illustrated children’s versions of The Masque of the Red Death and The Pit and the Pendulum (as well asย The Monkey’s Paw and a particularly creepy haunted boat cabin story that I don’t remember the name of). While it seemed pretty reasonable as a kid to have these in our teeny-tiny Lutheran school library, as an adult I started to doubt their existence. But I’d search the internet every-so-often looking for the illustrated Poe I know. On Wednesday, I found Red Death, complete with the startling cover I remember:

“Edgar Allan Poe’s The masque of the red death.” adapted by David E. Cutts & illustrated by John Lawn. Published 1982 by Troll Associates. Mahwah, N.J .

The best illustration in the book is page 24:
The blood splatters that don’t quite go with the picture creeped-out 8-year-old me. These books, though abridgements, were my first taste of Poe and other creepy tales and have definitely influenced how I “see” those stories.

Lastly, The Guardian brings us the Edgar Allan Poe Death Scene Infographic.

by Adam Frost, Jim Kynvin and Jamie Lenman

Click through for a better look. I’m particularly amused by the “Simian Involvement” category.