Monday, January 19, 2009

The Murders in the Rue Morgue / Morella

Happy 200th Birthday to Edgar Allan Poe!

And we’ll be celebrating for most of this week with some of Poe’s most memorable horror hits. Today we begin the festivities with The Murders in the Rue Morgue, from the July 1944 issue of Classics Illustrated #21… followed by a bonus story!


Thanks again to Todd Hunter, who sent me these scans waaay back in May of 2008… I was saving them for this most special occasion!

TOMORROW: More Poe! Lots more…
Can’t wait until tomorrow for more Poe? Then check out David Tackett’s new Quasar Dragon II blog for The Curse of Metzengerstein, a THOIA submitted tale of terror from the June 1953 issue of Chilling Tales #16.



And from the February 1963 issue of Dell Movie Classic #793 (aka Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Terror) and based on the motion picture Tales of Terror directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone, Peter Lorre, and Debra Paget.

More from this issue tomorrow too!


Anonymous said...

Actually, Poe was not a heavily drinker; he had a remarkably low tolerance for alcohol, it took as little as one drink to get him drunk.

For a long time, biographies of Pow relied upon the work of a fellow who, for whatever reason, made-up a variety of sordid claims about Poe with little or no basis in fact. It's going to be a whole before that rubbish is flushed from the system.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Might I suggest Angelo Torres as the artist of the second story (unless someone else has more information)?

Anonymous said...

I would say Torres is a good call, Ger. Various elements of the art look a lot like his CREEPY work. However, it COULD have been traced from stills and retouched by a whole staff, the only reason this is unlikely is that most Dell artists(Carl Barks)said they worked by mail, but i'm not sure. For a Dell adaption this has a damn good likeness of the actors, and is faithful to the film, a LOT of Dell stuff just went off on a tangent totally unlike the film(I remember being pissed as a kid reading their Universal "adaptions"). Torres did do a HORROR OF DRACULA adaption in FM that looks like this, with his drawings looking increasingly unlike the actors as he ran out of stills, this isn't a slam against him, but somenthing done often in the days before video.

joe ackerman said...

great post. I'm looking forward to the rest of the celebrations.

Unknown said...

Fine visual interpretations of these classic tales.
And I thought I had misbehaved pets and a dysfunctional family.

AndyDecker said...

Great idea, Karswell!

Some nice adaptions. Rue Morgue never made any sense as a story for me, but the invention of a nomer like Rue Morgue is of course as immortal als the character of Dupin.

It is interesting how they did transform it into comic format. Rue Morgue was really old. 1944? Wow! How far this differs from, say, the great Warren adaptions by Richard Corben.

Unknown said...

Morella may be the bleakest thing I've ever read here. It makes A Rose for Emily seem downright romantic by contrast.

Anonymous said...

That little bio is rife with misinformation -- but then, anybody who goes to comic books for lessons in history is a sorry sap indeed.

We have one Rufus Griswold to thank for the first collection of Poe's work, which he compiled with two colleagues after Edgar's death. Unfortunately, Griswold was also one of Poe's chief literary rivals in life (at Graham's and other magazines) and it is he who was responsible for the original and long-lived slanders against Poe which persist to this day, in spite of many biographies published since that refute them. One of the earliest (and best) of these was written by Arthur Hobson Quinn published (I think) in the late 1940's.

By the way, thank you for this tribute. In spite of this significant date, there seems to be very little notice given to it elsewhere on the net (or anywhere else, for that matter).

bzak said...


Beautiful splash page for "The Murders in the Rue Morgue". Alot of the classics illustrated were so poorly drawn, but not this one.


Brian James Riedel

Anonymous said...


Keith said...

Happy Birthday, EAP! Good job, Karswell. I'm looking forward to the rest of the material through the week.

Man, that Dell adaptation was pretty friggin' good! Must.. seek it.. out...

The Vicar of VHS said...

"There is but one logical solution--a monster ape! A KILLER APE!" Somehow I remember Dupin's ratiocination being a little more compelling in the Poe story. But then it's been years since I read it.

Still, like all good people, I love me some Poe. The Rue Morgue adaptation is a little disappointing to me, though--I think it's the lettering. Whenever I see a story that's not hand-lettered, it just looks all wrong for some reason, and takes me right out of it.

Also, this story falls into an old standby that kind of irks me: WHY do people ALWAYS want to put Poe in his own stories? Like they can't just be fictions? He can't he just be a WRITER? I guess with the intervening years Poe has become a symbol of a certain attitude and bearing, so that he's almost a literary character of his own creation, or at least gets conflated with such. But having "Poe" in the Rue Morge really doesn't do much for me.

And boy, that sailor is not a sentimental type, is he? "Mon dieu! We must find him and kill him quickly!" I feel the same way about my dogs.

The second adaptation is where it's AT, however! Great stuff--so much decay and gloom in those panels. Plus great lines like: "Yes, I'm your father. Shocked? Disgusted?" This is exactly how my dad used to tell *me* goodnight.

But a very bleak story indeed, and I remember the original being much the same. The whole "dying young woman blames her unborn daughter for her own death" idea has a certain resonance, it has to be said.

And of course: Barbara Steele as the dead mom--bottom pg. 6.

Great stuff--can't wait for more!

Mr. Karswell said...

>Might I suggest Angelo Torres as the artist of the second story

GCD says "George Evans?; Jack Lehti?" as possible candidates, but you may be right too Ger.

Thanks to everyone for attending Poe's 200th B-Day Party today, there's plenty more EAP on the way until Friday, just don't forget your horror passport as you'll be directed to some other great blogs who are in league with me on this week's theme as well.

Sooooo, judging by the comments it appears that Morella beat the Rue Morgue's monkey ass today. And I have to agree, but it's also my favorite segment from the Corman film too... watching it as a kid on late night TV with those quick cuts to Morella lying on her bed all decayed and talking, *gack!* that stuff used to scare the brownies out of me (as well as her weird ghost walking the halls.) Vincent Price is brilliant in that segment too, as always.

Speaking of this excellent Dell issue, Vincent Price, and the original movie, tomorrow Killer Kittens will be spotlighting (what else?) ---THE BLACK CAT, so don't miss it!

Pure Costumes said...

blah blah blah? I understand that completely. Didn't know you can comment in chinese.

Anonymous said...

Very cool stuf, Karswell!

Would it be possible for you to post, or email, the inside & outside back cover of the Dell Poe comic?