Early Review: Poe: Stories and Poems – A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds

I’m a sucker for Graphic Novels, and this adaptation of Poe’s classic works was absolutely spot on. Hinds’ experience and expertise in adapting the classic really shone through and the result was a text that will hopefully inspire a new generation of horror readers.

poeTitle: Poe: Stories and Poems – A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Author: Edgar Allen Poe

Illustrator: Gareth Hinds

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Graphic Novel, YA Fiction, Poetry, Horror, Classics

Themes: Darkness, Death, Disease

Features: Annotations and Supplementary Information, Biographical Information

My Rating: 4/ 5


From Goodreads…

In a thrilling adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe s best-known works, acclaimed artist-adapter Gareth Hinds translates Poe’s dark genius into graphic-novel format.

It is true that I am nervous. But why will you say that I am mad?

In “The Cask of Amontillado,” a man exacts revenge on a disloyal friend at carnival, luring him into catacombs below the city. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” a prince shielding himself from plague hosts a doomed party inside his abbey stronghold. A prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, faced with a swinging blade and swarming rats, can t see his tormentors in “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a milky eye and a deafening heartbeat reveal the effects of conscience and creeping madness. Alongside these tales are visual interpretations of three poems “The Raven,” “The Bells,” and Poe s poignant elegy to lost love, “Annabel Lee.”

The seven concise graphic narratives, keyed to thematic icons, amplify and honor the timeless legacy of a master of gothic horror.

My Review

I loved this book, so much. Which says something because Poe always gave me nightmares growing up! Hinds adaptation is the perfect blend of classical horror with a modern medium. And, seeing as Poe’s works are still on most Canadian school curriculum, I seriously want to find a way to get class sets into every school library – especially since it includes annotations and supplementary materials!

The only complaint that I have about this text is that I would have preferred for more of the dialogue to be incorporated into graphics as it would have really enhanced the graphic novel experience. Regardless, the artwork is beautifully rendered with vibrant colours, exceptional expression, and really serves to heighten the narrative. I enjoyed the variety of styles and colour palettes between the stories from the pencil sketches to the watercolours, and from those in varied palettes to monochrome. The distinct style of each story really served to establish the mood making each story or poem distinct from one another.

The structure itself is very word specific, with Poe’s original texts accompanying the illustrations. It reads a little like an exceptionally mature picture book, but the art is so wonderful and expressive that I could have followed Poe’s stories and understood the horror even without his words. The panels are arranged with a logical flow, and enough action happens in the gutter that the eye is drawn from one panel to the next while the imagination in constantly firing. Further, Hinds does a fantastic job of capturing the invisible realm of sense and emotions through the variation in letting styles for the sounds represented, the encapsulation of movements, and the externalization of fears.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Not only is it a perfect read for those who enjoy Poe and graphic novels, but it is also the kind of book that could easily find a home in a school library. Poe’s language is so far removed from our current vernacular that the  skillful illustrations create a beautiful and seamless reading experience that brings these classic stories to life.

Many thanks to Gareth Hinds and Candlewick Press for providing an advanced copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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