This week, we are doing an Edgar Allan Poe special as we celebrate our bimonthly theme: Monsters, Beasts, and Chimera: Spooks and Spectre.
Today, I have two graphic novel adaptations of Poe’s short stories. I was very pleased to find both books at the library.
Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher
Retold By: Matthew K. Manning
Illustrated by: Jim Jimenz
Publisher: Stone Arch Books, 2013. Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.
While I have read this story countless of times before, in different voices and adaptations, this is the first time that it has been fully illustrated in a graphic novel format.
The illustrations were masterful – not for weak, lily-livered individuals certainly. The greenish pallor is constant throughout the pages – indicative of a festering ailment that seems to wrap itself around the minds of both Roderick and his friend who came to visit for the sole purpose of providing him with amusement.
The house is every bit as gothic, as dark, as sinister as it had always been in my mind. I believe that this would be a perfect gateway to Poe’s narrative which may not appeal to a lot of reluctant readers who might be a tad turned off by his archaic language, yet are drawn towards the strange, the dark, and the morbid.
As a reader and a fan of Poe’s writing, though, I worry that the images might get in the way of moribund imaginings that are vividly painted through Poe’s words. There are instances when the words, unpainted by actual visual imageries, might prove to be more disturbing as it assaults the senses and all its hidden nooks and crannies in its subtlety.
Teachers might be happy to note that there are Visual Questions found at the end of the book which could be used for classroom discussion.
Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum
Retold By: Sean Tulien
Illustrated by: J. C. Fabul
Published by: Stone Arch Books, 2013. Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.
Among all of Poe’s stories, this is the one I have not read before. It brings to life the trite adage of being caught between a rock and a hard place. And if the book cover is any indication, the pages found within would be appreciated best by horror-loving fiends who have an affinity for orange-hued darknesses that come alive as one feels through the walls, trapped within the gallows of one’s unending pain, and unremitting suffering.
There also seems to be a ghoulish-delight with how the episodes of torture for this imprisoned man become even more harrowing and agonizing as the days continue amidst total darkness, the occasional meal provided not for nourishment but to sustain the body that is expected to endure more pain, misery, and persecution.
It actually made me wonder what kind of evil this man might have committed to make him deserve such a state that provides him with absolutely no redemption. Similar to the graphic novel above, this one also comes with a list of Visual Questions at the end of the book. Interestingly, the illustrator J.C. Fabul is a Filipino who grew up in Palawan Philippines. I hope to know more of his works in the future.
Read-a-Latte Challenge Update: 213, 214 (150)