Edgar Allan Poe - Nevermore

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Nevermore: A Graphic Adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's Short Stories

Sep 2, 2011
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:"The Raven" is nearly intact, plus there's some great art.

Cons:A few stories edited for space.

The Bottom Line: Nevermore showcases some very interesting takes on the master of the macabre's classic works.


Edgar Allan Poe’s work is nothing new in the annals of graphic noveldom. His work has been adapted more times than I can count, and I always, when I run across such an adaptation, have a look-see. The latest one I’ve run across is NEVERMORE, published in 2008 by Sterling Publishing Co and edited by Dan Whitehead. What makes this particular adaptation different from most of the others I’ve read is those in charge of the adaptations (Jamie Delano, Jeremy Slater, Laura Howell among them) have cast the Poe stories in a new light, sometimes updated, sometimes post-dated, always set it some new and interesting location, but still trying to retain the heart of what made Poe’s work what it was.

Sometimes the adaptations succeed, sometimes not. But always the work holds true to the mood and tone of the master.

One of the more interesting versions was Ian Edginton’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue”, which is set in Paris, 2859, with detective C. Auguste Dupin being called to the scene of a double murder, with his court appointed personal optronic encoder epsilon-alpha-pi. Dupin deduces the murders have been perpetrated by an orangutan with the brain patterns of Mssr. L’espanaye “via memory en-gram overlays”.

Another interesting adaptation was “The Tell-Tale Heart” which casts the lead as a blind woman working in a clinic that assists the newly-blind in learning to deal with their new darker world. The woman meets a man she thinks can see her and when she goes to check on him one night, she ends up stabbing him. Then, in a panic, stuffs his body into her locker before trying to clean up after herself. Soon the victim’s heartbeat begins to ring in her ears, keeping her awake all night and driving her mad.

Overall the prose adaptations were interesting and I looked forward with every new title to seeing what would be the new take. But the real star of this book is the art. Stuart Tipples (“The Raven”), Steve Pugh (“The Pit and the Pendulum”), John McCrea (“The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar”), Shane Ivan Oakley (“The Fall of the House of Usher”) and James Fletcher (“The Black Cat”) among others turn in some beautifully dark and original interpretations of Poe’s tales. Fletcher in particular, in his depictions of circus ringleader Harold’s growing madness and obsession with the murdered black panther Galenthias, seeing outlines of the giant cat everywhere he looks, impressed me greatly.

I think I may have been able to better appreciate this collection were I more familiar with some of the works. I know “The Raven” and “Pit” and “Tell-Tale Heart” pretty well, but I’ve only read “M. Valdemar” once and don’t recall ever having read “The Oval Portrait”, so for me I can’t say those particular stories worked as well.

Several of the adaptations also felt edited for time, as if they would have benefited from another 2 or 3 pages but there just wasn’t space. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” definitely felt lacking. That particular story is widely-held to be THE first detective story, but in this case, there’s almost no mystery and the detective basically solves the thing in two panels.

I got NEVERMORE from the library, and I think that’s the way to go. This was an interesting collection, a novel idea, but I don’t know if the execution here would be worth the $14.95 cover price. I liked seeing what new twists could be placed on these classic works, but I think in the future I’ll probably stick with more faithful Poe adaptations, preferably if they give those adaptations the space they need to properly tell the stories. Poe’s stories were full of mood and atmosphere, but the other thing they had was PLOT. Poe let his stories unfold naturally to give his readers a front-row seat for the main characters’ descents into madness, and that’s something that just can’t be glossed over. Unfortunately the space limitations in NEVERMORE didn’t make those natural progressions possible and what we get instead ends up feeling, in too many cases, like just another TALES FROM THE CRYPT knock-off.


Recommend this product? Yes


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