Richard Corben and Edgar Allen Poe collaborate from beyond the grave in order to offer a new look on two classic poems, in time for Halloween!
I know what you are thinking, how can Edgar Allen Poe be releasing a comic when he has been dead for more than 150 years? Well, it is Halloween and anything is possible… thanks to Darkhorse. This comic was a promising read from the get go, not only because of The Raven film adaptation being released not too far back, but also because Edgar Allen Poe is one of the all-time great writers. The Raven is considered to be one of the best poems written in the rich history of English literature. It made Poe known worldwide and even overshadowed the fact that he had married his 13 year old cousin! So, to see this poem presented with Corben’s mature, experienced imagery and pencils is a great treat!
The Raven is presented in a new light by Corben as he puts a new spin on to this timeless classic. Lenore seems to be less of a saint. She seems to be far more in control of her sexuality as she takes control over Arnold. Or are we seeing an Arnold that is blinded by passion and lost in his own lust? Arnold longs for Lenore but when we see the Raven it is made known that he is far from being mentally stable. The bird takes the form of an evil entity and its actions are intent on causing grievous harm to Arnold. Or could it be Arnold’s mind harming him? Is he losing his sanity and his will to live because of his longing for Lenore? Corben’s pens really create images that can be attributed to mental instability. The reader is left wondering whether the things Arnold sees are actually real and this leads you to thinking that he is in fact mad. The subject of this poem is not “longing for someone” but “delving down the path to insanity”.
Red Death focuses on a subject that can be easily related to as it is one that is a chronic concern. It deals with the subject of the rich getting richer and living lives without fear or care for the poor and suffering. The rich have forgotten what it feels like to suffer, their arrogance and ignorance has become their form of madness. Corben once again offers us a new spin on this poem as we witness a people living without remorse for their actions. We witness a party in which sin can be found out in the open and to the rich living a life without sin has become a sin in its own right! Each room of sin has a different colour but no guest is allowed to wear red as it is the colour that will ruin the mood of this party. But there is a guest in red. A guest that is no longer mortal, a guest only known as Red Death.
Corben’s pencilling and the colours used really bring both stories to life. The violence creates a strong contrast in the imagery, as your eye moves from bright purple, green and yellow to darker frames filled with red, shadow and facial expressions that show torment.
This comic is a great read that shows us the best that both of Corben and Poe have to offer. It is the perfect blend of two artists offering their best works in order to create a timeless comic. One that is good enough to be used as prescribed literature in an student’s journey towards obtaining a degree in English.