Another month passes and with it comes a new issue of Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death. As always, the book is filled to the brim with comics and prose, delivering far more than just about anything else on store shelves. This time around sees three graphic stories and two prose pieces; Kirk Vanderbeek pens two of the scripts while Jon Proctor and Shane Oakley deliver the artwork. The prose comes by way of Blake Nail and Vickie Smalls. Last but by no means least is the next entry in the True Tales from the Life of Poe series, by Norm Fields and Joel Ojeda. Not bad for a single issue.
Usually these reviews tend to run from front cover to back, praising just about everything in between. While that will remain largely unchanged here, it’s worth shifting around the order the stories come in. “Postal” by Vanderbeek and Oakley is nothing short of fantastic. A comic everyone should read, let alone a fine addition to an anthology.
Meet Augie Doobin, an LA private eye who doesn’t mind a dose of LSD on the job. Plot wise, that’s all you need — it’s the art the steals the show. Shane Oakley’s work here is somewhere between expressionism and Genndy Tartakovsky. Artwork always adds to the experience in reading sequential art, but stories like “Postal” highlight just how much can be done with art alone. It’s the sort of story that breaks the mold and reminds readers comics can do more than five to seven widescreen panels.
Additionally, Vanderbeek’s other story, “A Pound of Flesh,” is a more classic horror comic. Perhaps a little predictable in this day and age, the chapter nails the spooky atmosphere that few books can nowadays.
As always, the prose stories are great. It can be hard not to have these reviews rocket off onto a tangent about short stories and prose in general, but Ahoy is one of the very few publishers committed to publishing short fiction. One of the letters this month sums it up well by pointing out how Ahoy is offering what no one else really is. The mix of prose and art is the kind of thing comics need to really stay fresh.
It’s always difficult to find a critique after praising the book so much. The artwork for the story “A Pound of Flesh” is the only thing some people could disagree with. The harsh inking is hard to describe other than saying it’s a bit ugly. As a stylistic choice it blends well with the dirtiness of the story, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant to look at. Some pages are so wrought with jet black shadows it’s hard to make out what you’re looking at. Other than that, the issue gets two thumbs up.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death #5 is another stellar chapter in the Snifter series. As far as anthology comics go these days, you can’t get much better.
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