“The Poe Twisted Anthology” is a series of tales inspired by Edgar Allen Poe and brought to life in the form of digital media. Presented by Red Stylo Media, the graphic novel is a collection of not-quite-adaptations of Poe stories. The anthology features 13 artists, including names like Jason Ciaramella, Enrique Savory, Jr., Phillip Jacobson, Sherezada Windham-Kent, and Alex Cormack.
The first story is Ciaramella and Savory, Jr.’s tale titled “Absolution”. This story takes a Christmas twist on Poe’s “The Raven”. The artwork is straight Marvel Comics Jim Lee-style, and the story rises and crashes very quickly, but never feels rushed.
That is followed by Jacobsen’s “Dead Man’s Hand”; a polished take on Poe’s “Never Bet the Devil Your Head.” Slick artwork reminded me immediately of the band, Gorillaz, as college buddies Mark and Toby sit in on a high-stakes game of poker. Toby’s winning streak runs up against a real poker Ace when the freaky goth girl from across campus joins in on the game.
Poe’s “Eldorado” is celebrated next by Windham-Kent & Cormack. The gritty story follows the tortured protagonist and his horse, as he seeks the titular place where he will finally find peace. Instead, there’s a who lot of violence, brought to un-life by Cormack’s fantastic art and Windham-Kent’s well-paced storytelling.
Up next is “Zombie Cruise” by Marta Tanrikulu, and Mark Mullaney. This take on Poe’s “The Oblong Box” looks like an Archie & Jughead comic. That makes it a very twisted fit for a story that’s basically a George Romero flick on the high seas.
Next is “The After Party” by Kyle Richey, Ben Frazier, and Mullaney (who is a great colorist). This take on “The Masque of the Red Death” is really heavy, with lots of cool colors punctuated by blood red highlights. In this story, spoiled, rich Wesley Prince wipes out all of his friends, and then lures the police and others into his web. No, it doesn’t end well.
“The Tell Tale Cat” by Cormack follows two investigating officers as they check in on frumpy old Vincent Allen. Mrs. Allen disappeared days earlier, and there aren’t any suspects other than Allen himself. The sloppy drunk (drawn with the perfect amount of embellishment by Cormack) welcomes the officers into his home, only to be betrayed by the titular house pet. The Cat then proceeds to lead the officers through a series of tongue-in-cheek instances of other Poe stories.
Next is “The System of Doctor Canne and Professor Bulle.” Fans of Poe’s “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” will know where this very animated story goes. A young psychology student goes to visit a famous mental hospital in the countryside. He is provided a brief tour, where he finds no patients. After that, it’s time for dinner, where the doctors’ system is the main course.
“The Poe Twisted Anthology” is a fun read. Readers don’t have to be familiar with the source material to enjoy the stories. Those who are will appreciate the creative direction taken with the short stories and the images presented in the graphic novel. Check out more on the Anthology and RedStylo Media at http://redstylo.com/poe-twisted-anthology.