Poe, Volume 1
Written and Illustrated by Jason Asala
Dogstar Press, 1998
Alcohol, angels, witches, crazy people, secret societies, magic, demons, death â€“ all in one story.
Poe was the first independent comic I ever read, back in 1997. I saw the first issue on the comic rack, and having just read â€œThe Cask of Amontilladoâ€ in my Language Arts the year before and being totally hooked on the literary great. In 2000, when I went to university, I learned that I had picked up the first issue of the ongoing series, and that there was a 6-issue mini-series that preceded it. I ordered it, and was enthralled. I was happy to find more Poe from Jason Asala, as the ongoing ceased with issue #25. Poe is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Heâ€™s half in the bottle and the angel Israfel appears to him and offers him the chance to have Lenore back in his life. Poe embarks on a quest to defeat twelve earthly demons. He picks up a black cat named Pluto along the way, a doctor, and a monk. Together, they set out to conquer the twelve demons in a most haphazard way.
Asala clearly has a great grasp on all things Poe. He weaves trivia about the author himself to allusions and characters from his stories into a larger narrative that, hopefully, is not to end us Poeâ€™s real life did â€“ lying delirious in a gutter in Baltimore. Asalaâ€™s art contributes incredibly to the book â€“ and his term for it, Gray-o-vision is apparent and unique among artists in the medium. The shadowing and use of artistic allusions is masterful â€“ such as Edgar peering through a hole in a brick wall at one point in the mini-series.
I never did read past issue 3 of the ongoing, but Iâ€™m going to track the 25 issues of the ongoing down and spend a day catching up. It ranks in my top 10 series of all time, and is probably my favorite independent ongoing ever. Copies of the mini-series trade are still around, such as at Amazon.com (but ask your LCS first!).
Posted originally: 2007-04-06 11:24:47