The master of the mysterious and macabre is back in comic form to tell spooky horror stories while having a few drinks. Edgar Allan Poe plays host to several short stories that deal with frightful horrors and some grime consequences. In the first story, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, Poe introduces a pastry chef named M. Valdemar. He was a talented and famous chef that was recognized throughout Eupore, but a hideous constant cough forced him to start anew in Amerca. When given an opportunity to prove his skills in the kitchen, Valdemar comes down with a sickness that would ruin all that he had been working towards. Desperate to quickly remedy his illness, Valdemar turns to Dr. Shockenstein for a way to become hypnotized to fix his problems. Dr. Shockenstein warns that there will be a great cost, but for the chance to become famous again, Valdemar is willing to pay it.
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar is a twist on Poe’s original story about a man named Ernest Valdemar that tried to use mesmerism to prevent death. While Ernest does freeze his body before the last moments of his life, the consequences are unsettling. Tom Peyer expands the original story by having Valdemar activity avoiding the inevitable fate, leading to some grubby visuals that put into question on what really happens in bakeries. Fred Harper, Michael Garland and Rob Steen manage to keep the story to be funny and slightly shocking with every gross drool bubble and boil. The story is direct and uses the source material pretty well, the team’s work definitely pays homage to classic horror comics.
Included in this issue; a comic about a certain chocolate cereal vampire by Mark Russell, Peter Snejbjerg, and Rob Steen, an oceanic poem by Cienna Madrid, a Q&A with Mark Russell by Hart Seely, and a short comic about Edgar Allan Poe fighting a black cat by Hunt Emerson.
Mark Russell, Peter Snejbjerg, and Rob Steen present Dark Chocolate, a story about a Lord in Choclavania that hides his vampire curse from the public. While hosting a large breakfast fest, the Lord’s rival, Duke Duc L’Organge, suspects the Lord to be a vampire and threats to reveal it to town. In order to quickly silence L’Organge, the Lord’s wife offers to have a dinner with him. To keep his secret safe and to continue the breakfast tradition, the Lord must endure L’Organge cruelty.
Dark Chocolate is a great spoof on a gothic vampiric story, featuring parodied versions of famous cereal mascots. There are not many comics on the market feature that. Although this comic could easily have become an amazing cereal ad, the story is hilarious and very entertaining. It captures bits of comedy, horror, and a gives a small craving for cereal.
Hunt Emerson presents Poe and the Black Cat, a short comic that parodies Poe’s work The Black Cat. In this comic, the Black Cat does not represent guilt, but an actual cat that Poe himself wants to kill. The two have a quick cat and mouse game, that unhinges Poe’s fragile mind even further. Hunter Emerson offers a fun, Spy vs.Spy inspired comic that shows how even a great writer can be driven crazy by a clever feline.