And Then I Read: EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR Season 2 #5

Image © Ahoy Comics

First, let me say how much I like seeing my logo for this book used on an EC Comics pastiche, parodying perhaps the company’s most infamous cover.

This issue has two excellent stories. The first is “The Man That Was Used Up” freely adapted from the Poe story by cartoonist Rick Geary. Rick’s work is always a delight, his combination of creepy and cute is a rare mix that is hard to beat. Here we have Poe himself meeting a famous war hero and being very impressed with the man in every way, from his intelligence to his manly figure. Poe is determined to find out more, and perhaps is sorry he did.

The second story is “Berenice” written by Alisa Kwitney, art by Mauricet. This one is more realistic in approach, and leans more toward horror than humor. Doctor Egaeus is very fond of his cousin Berenice, and to protect her, decides he must perform some dental surgery. Later, after they marry, he comes to regret that decision.

Always fun is the two-pager pitting Poe against The Black Cat by Hunt Emerson.

Perhaps my favorite issue of the second season! Recommended.

And Then I Read: POGO: UNDER THE BAMBOOZLE BUSH (Vol. 4)

I haven’t posted here in a while for several reasons. First, the corona virus situation has put me out of the mood. Second, I had nothing to review because I’ve been reading this wonderful strip collection for the last month. I love Pogo, and I love these strip collections, but Pogo is a dense strip that takes time to read and appreciate, even when it’s just going for slapstick humor, and I can only read about 15 pages at a sitting. At over 300 pages of strips, that takes a while. Worth every minute, though.

There’s plenty of goofy humor, but also a share of political satire, as in the strip above where a pig takes the place of Soviet Union leader Nikita Krushchev. This collection covers 1955 and 1956, which was an election year, so there’s a fair amount of “Pogo for President” business and other election hoohah, with P.T. Bridgeport and other bombastic characters. The Olympics in Australia gets some funny coverage, as do a reporter and photographer from “Newslife,” who are quite sure Pogo is not a possum. The majority of these strips draw humor simply from the familiar characters of the Okeefenokee Swamp, their frequent misunderstandings and confusions, with Pogo about the only level head in the bunch. It’s great fun, and Walt Kelly is in fine form here.

Highly recommended.

And Then I Read: THE SINISTER MYSTERY OF THE MESMERIZING GIRL by Theodora Goss

This is the third book about The Athena Club, a group of female characters from fantastic literature who work together to solve crimes and mysteries, along the lines of “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” but not derivative except for a few crossover characters. The Athena Club are sisters Mary Jekyll and Diana Hyde of Stevenson’s book, Beatrice Rappaccini from “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Catherine Moreau, the lone surviving beast-woman from Well’s “Island of Dr. Moreau,” and Justine Frankenstein, the intended bride of Frankenstein’s creation. Other characters from literature abound, including Ayesha from H. Rider Haggard’s “She,” Dorian Gray, and Sherlock Holmes, Watson and the Baker Street Irregulars.

While I loved the first book, which introduced the characters and explored their origins and history, the second took them on a case in Europe that I found somewhat flawed but still enjoyed. This third book takes place mostly in London and Cornwall, and is as satisfying as the first one. One narrative technique that’s distracting is that Catherine is the “author” of the book, and her writing is often interrupted by comments to her from the others about what she’s writing. This tends to pull me out of the story, but at times is entertaining too. There’s plenty of excitement in the plot as Moriarty is gathering a gang of shady characters himself with a plan to kidnap Queen Victoria and take over England, while on a personal level the Athena Club is searching for their maid and friend Alice, who has gone missing along with Holmes and Watson. Thrilling scenes take place in the British Museum as well as on the coast of Cornwall, and despite their abilities, the Athena Club has formidable odds to overcome.

A good and enjoyable read, as are the first two, and recommended for those who want to get away from today’s harsh realities.

And Then I Read: EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR Season 2 #4

Image © Ahoy Comics.

First, I love the Steranko Hulk homage on the cover!

In “The Black Cat,” Michael Kerr is a Washington lobbyist funneling auto-maker money to congressmen in return for legislation in their favor. As a reward, he’s given a prototype smart car, one that seems to anticipate his every destination and is ready to take him there in a flash. Before long, friction develops between man and car that does not end well. As Kerr is quite unlikeable, that was okay with me.

“The Gold Bug II” takes place in space, where an astronaut is depending on his robot servant to some important work. I liked the art on this one, but found the plot a bit hard to follow.

Hunt Emerson’s “Poe and the Black Cat” two-pager is easy to follow, and as funny as usual.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: THE DREAMING #19

Image © DC Comics. Written by Simon Spurrier, art by Bilquis Evely, colors by Mat Lopes, letters by Simon Bowland, cover by Yanick Paquette & Nathan Fairbairn

The climax of the previous 18 issues seems to be gathered here and in the next issue, which I am guessing is the last of this particular storyline. I like the way it’s drawn on so many elements from Neil Gaiman’s original run without anything feeling like a retread. The servants of Dream — the original Dream — are gathering once more to confront the current Dream Lord, Wan and his other, darker version, who Wan doesn’t even seem to know about. Lucien has recovered his mind and his story, and with him are Matthew, Cain and Abel and many others including Dora, the recent addition to the Dreaming cast. The ancient symbols and segments of Dream’s power have been gathered as well, and the confrontation and climax are impressive and enlightening so far, with more to come next time. Good work by all involved!

Recommended.