Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror #1 releases this Halloween, and is another book from fledgling publishers AHOY Comics that works on the assumption that the discerning reader is in on the joke. Unlike other publishers who try valiantly to look for that illusive new market and new readership, AHOY Comics is aware that its readership knows a little something about comic book conventions, and so we are introduced to the eponymous mad author, Poe, our very own EC Comics’ Crypt Keeper for this selection of seasonal stories.
First up is ‘The Facts In The Case of M. Valdemar‘ by writer Tom Peyer, artist Fred Harper, colourist Michael Garland and letterer Rob Steen, introduced by the hyperbolic, syphilitic Poe. Black humoured throughout, Harper’s art reminded me of Richard Corben, which adds to the air of terror as we witness a famed patisserie chef, M. Valdemar get an offer he can’t refuse in this period piece black comedy. Baking for the President himself, which he hopes will not only boost his business but leave a legacy for his hapless son. But, this is a black humoured horror title, so don’t expect things to go too well for the dear fellow. The titular baker is rather under the weather to say the least. Think Mr Creosote from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, and you’re on the right path as to how this first story resolves itself. But, even then, there’s a truly disgusting twist. Talk about having your cake and eating it!
Peyer is showing, throughout the whole slate of comics he’s writing for the company that he’s also the EiC of, that he can deliver time and again, and across a number of varied genres. First he plays about with the well trodden tropes of parallel earths in The Wrong Earth and now this. It’s great freaky fun that’s only improved with the addition of Mark Russell’s outstanding short, ‘Dark Chocolate’.
Even here in Brexit Britain, we’ve heard of the wonderfully sugar laden cereals of the Colonies. Count Chocula, Frankenberry and other puntastic characters from your childhoods have been hijacked by a man who is fast making well-written, satirical stories his forte, Mark Russell, who delivers a fun strip from the vampire’s point of view. Count Chocula is replaced by The Marquis de Cocoa, who insists on throwing a breakfast party each and every day, in part to disguise his true nature. The setting of said breakfast feast allows Russell to fill the Marquis’s castle with every cereal mascot imaginable, and thereby creates a community and world ripe for further adventures. I’d certainly make a deal with the Devil to read more stories from Choclavania. Peter Snejbjerg’s artwork is always a delight to see, and it has a hint of the smoothness of Alan Davis about it that I, for one, ain’t complaining about. Another creative team adding to the quality of this book.
And, the quality continues to come with a two page strip form humorist supreme, Hunt Emerson, who recently received the Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Hunt gives us his take on Poe’s classic ‘The Black Cat‘ story, but with a very different outcome. Spy Vs Spy through the lens of Emerson!
Add to this an Edgar Allan Poe-esque poem by Cienna Madrid and an interview with Mark Rusell, and I don’t think you’ll find a better Halloween themed comic out there this year. And the good thing? This is a monthly comic, so you can come back for more month after month.
A horrifyingly funny comic with a pedigree that would make the American Kennel Club blush. If you can still find a copy, go get it! If not, then do pick up the second issue as these are all done-in-one strips so every issue can be a new ‘jump on’ point.
You can read our interview with Mark Russell, in which he discusses Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror #1 here.
You can also read our interview with Ahoy Comics’ EiC, Tom Peyer here.
Still want more? Well, we previewed the comic here.