Indie Comics Review: Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Publisher: Ahoy Comics
Writers: Mark Russel and Stuart Moore
Art: Peter Snejbjerg and Frank Cammuso
Colors: Peter Snejbjerg and Madeline Seely
Letters: Rob Steen
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Return with us to those thrilling days of yesteryear in the old west…er um, how about the dirty and dangerous streets of Baltimore for a quaff from Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death #1! You’ll laugh you’ll cry, you’ll…you’ll definitely laugh with this remarkable satire as the horrifying becomes hilarious! It’s a dose of humor in an alcoholic vein!
If you’ve tasted the contents of the snifter before, be it blood or death, you know things are exactly on a direct line as the fetid becomes funny. Sometimes, pre-requisite knowledge of a particular Poe story is necessary to really get the humor. That’s not the case with Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death #1. The inmates at Ahoy Comics come out fangs dripping (is that blood or chocolate?)- the return of The Monster Serials is enough to make a corpse jump for joy. There are so many little details that enhance the tale, a tavern with the moniker “Ye Crisp’d Rice” is but one. And as much as I like oatmeal, that Quaker fella’ isn’t too bright, is he? There is a larger bowl that Moore and Snejbjerg are working in as the Count de Cocoa searches for his love, hopefully he reaches fruition at some point and we don’t have to wait till the next Snifter series for a new box of the serial. To top it off, Snejbjerg’s rendering of the Quaker couldn’t be more perfect.
Stuart Moore takes the reigns of the biographical Poe tale in this issue as he imagines the origins of Poe’s life as a poet and intertwines it with the text of Poe’s most famous work, “The Raven.” Moore sets us up with enough information to get the tale even if we don’t know the poem, although I can’t imagine anyone reading this isn’t familiar with “The Raven.” Told by Poe himself from beyond the grave (he died in Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #6), you’ll be amused al we see Lil’ Poe’s first fateful meeting with Lenore and the empathy he receives from the boys in the pub ic house. It’s a truly inventive way of presenting the basis for the poem and it furthers the ridiculous continuity of Poe’s life that we’ve seen in the volumes of the Snifter.
Richard William’s cover is brilliant as well as it imagines a kid from the ’70’s/’80’s in a Ben Cooper style Poe Halloween costume. That mask style is unmistakable and his is appropriately labeled as well. Parents back then probably had questions- I mean the Ben Cooper Batman costume has “Batman” in the middle of the Bat-symbol. I’m not kidding. We won’t even mention the inappropriate treats the kids are receiving- airplane bottles of liquor! Ooops, I mentioned it.
The text pieces in this issue by Kirk Vanderbeek are just as funny and should not be skipped just because they don’t have pretty pictures to help you follow along the story. “Every Last Crumb” is a brilliant twist on the Hansel and Gretel Fairy Tale and “Scaptegoat” not only gives an imagined origin for the term, it will make you think about how we handle personal responsibility and the affect it can have on others- top-notch satire. As four the final text peace by John Ficarra, ewe won’t believe you’re I’s!
There’s a very serious negative in this issue of great historical inaccuracy- Baltimore is not the home of the world’s shittiest ball club. The Orioles have three World Series Championships- 1983, 1970 and 1966. Yes, you might need Poe to resurrect the careers of Brooks Robinson or Eddie Murray to win another one, but there are numerous teams without ANY rings. It’s true, these Orioles did have a rough start as the St. Louis Browns (Milwaukee Brewers 1901!), but they’ve fared much better in Baltimore. I suppose it’s possible this comment could be referencing the old Orioles for whom Babe Ruth played before joining the Boston Red Sox, but does that even count? Nevertheless, “there’s no crying in baseball!”
Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death #1 is a fantastic, funny and insightful start to the third volume in the Snifter series. Despite a baseball gaff, absolutely everything in it is delightful. The Halloween themed cover is a harbinger of what’s inside- irreverence, humor and intelligence. For the discerning comic book reader, you won’t be disappointed to take a drink from this issue!