Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
By Gareth Hinds
(103 pages, graphic novel, 2017)
If this book had been around when I was in middle school, I most certainly would have had a copy of it on my nightstand. In this graphic novel adaptation, artist Gareth Hinds illustrates some of the most beloved Edgard Allan Poe stories (The Masque of the Red Death, The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart) and poems (“Annabel Lee,” “The Bells,” “The Raven”) alongside Poe’s original text, rendered in comic book-style lettering.
This format really brings Poe’s work to life for a younger or more visually-oriented audience. Readers are treated to gorgeous illustrations in ink, watercolor, pencil, and charcoal, amongst other artistic media. Due to subject matter, this title would be most appropriate for a teen or mature pre-teen audience. However, while there is some blood pictured, Hines takes pains to imply, rather than illustrate overtly, some of the Poe’s more frightening plot points.
One thing I really love is that Hines includes educational details throughout this work, making it an excellent introduction to Edgar Allan Poe for young readers. For instance, he puts together a “Poe Checklist” of recurring themes (such as confinement, creepy animals, premature burial) and points out which of these themes show up in every story and poem featured. The author’s note at the end of the book puts each poem and story, and Poe’s body of work as a whole, into historical context, and explains some of Hinds’ artistic decisions. For those who enjoy this style, CPL also has Hinds’ graphic novel adaptations of Beowulf, The Iliad, and Romeo & Juliet available for checkout.
As Hines describes in his author’s note, “Poe is beloved in a way few authors can ever hope to be. His work buries itself in the psyche and, though it horrifies, it also thrills and delights.” Quite so! I won’t deny that this work is a bit dark — but as a lifetime lover of the macabre, I believe it will hit all the right notes for those fellow readers that enjoy a good shiver up the spine and never shy away from things that go “bump” in the night.
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Faithe Miller Lakowicz