Writer: Dean Motter / Holly Interlandi
Illustrator: Dean Motter / Greg Scott
Publisher: AHOY Comics
WHAT IS IT?
In a world where one comic publisher satirizes the grandiose works and life of Edgar Allan Poe into sequential art format, comes the newest Poe-story retelling collection. It's alive!: Chess machines and a story "angle" come to life in this issue.
Remember MAD Magzine? "Treehouse of Horror?" Svengoolie? Mashup all your favorite dark comedy media and you'll get the Frankenstein-comic anthology, EAPSoD #2.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Edgar Allan Poe learns about an automaton supposedly rigged with the ability to defeat human grandmasters in chess. In "Chess Player," the wary Poe sets out to expose the obviously fraudulent machine as a hoax.
The second story, "Angle of the Odd" takes Edgar Allan Poe's satirical short story "Angel of the Odd" and modernizes it! Partially inebriated writer Holly Interlandi gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the lengths they went to trying to craft a suitable angle when writing this comic. Readers watch them struggle on the page until an angle manifests in front of Holly's eyes and steals their wine!
Will Poe stop the automaton from inspiring the next "Queen's Gambit" story? Will Holly's anthropomorphic angle give them back their wine?
Dean Motter's "Chess Player" opens the issue with a comedic reworking of Poe's source text. By inserting the Snifter version of Poe into the story, Motter funnels the events through Poe's perspective which hilariously depicts Poe's idiosyncracies.
Motter also illustrates "Chess Player." Motter's straightforward panel layout and cozy art style mirror the narrative's gentle pacing.
In the same vein, Motter throws in panels adorned with out-of-place linework or detail, cleverly acting as an artifice to mask the secrets loitering behind the purportedly simplistic storyline.
Andy Troy's colors engender a gothic appearance counterbalanced by neutralized earth tones. Along with the brilliant shadow usage, Troy's tepid colors like yellow and moldy green produce a sense of fermenting unease matching Poe's distrust of the automaton chess player.
Lettering, again by Dean Motter, inhabits a rounded, readable look. Some speech bubbles have large groups of text within them. Motter uses appropriate line breaks to avoid overcrowding within the bubble.
"Angle of the Odd," written by Holly Interlandi, may work as one of the best Snifter stories thus far. Interlandi invokes multitudinous levels of parody in their script to produce a hilarious parody on the creative process itself.
Greg Scott is at his best here, artistically. Pitch perfect art styles depict different storytelling vehicles, genres, and international styles that all look cinematically rendered. It's hard not to spoil why this is my favorite Greg Scott art in a comic without spoiling the stories' plot.
Lee Loughridge's colors light up the page. A distinguishing color palette specifies the differing story genres involved. Particularly, the kaiju pages explode with color gradients which seem transplanted directly from a Japanese movie onto paper.
There's only praise whenever Rob Steen takes on lettering duties in comics. His SFX work especially dazzles, capturing sound with intriguing artistic techniques to parallel the varying art styles employed.
”Angle of the Odd” takes a few unexpected directions, and Steen‘s lettering acts a guiding compass through narrative genre shifts.
This is a lighthearted issue compared to most Snifter stories. You will be entertained by shrewd, gratifying tales and relatable characters unafraid to act on their impulses.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Content Warning: It is my duty to inform you that you will see a naked (well, censored) depiction of Edgar Allan Poe in this issue.
A few panels in Motter's "Chess Player" lack detail or feature a character with slightly amorphous features. This gives the story a simplistic illustrative look. However, other panels depicting the inner mechanisms of the automaton or Poe writing by the flickering candlelight do appear vibrant and intricate.
Spoilers: Interlandi's script for "Angle of the Odd" includes references to anime, musicals, and kaiju films. If readers are unfamiliar with these topics, they might feel confused about the satire during the second story.
In both stories, there are times when lines of dialogue come across unnaturally or long-winded, but never noticeable enough to pull readers out of the story.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Somehow, the Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter comic series manages to capture both the 1800s and the 21st Century American zeitgeist. Particularly, this second Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter of Death issue deals with two stories set in each respective era. "Chess Player" and "Angle of the Odd" play off one another well. Each tale offers commentaries on the evolution and cultural impact of storytelling. Even "Chess Player" feels contemporary with its explication on technology.
Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter of Death #2 is another delightful issue in the anthology series. This issue is also decidedly less dark than previous tales, with the potential to reach a broader audience.
You can't help but notice the heart and distinctive voices ringing from the Snifter comics. The creators seem to pour their love for humor onto the page. EAPSoD #2 is no different, entertaining its audience with wit, joy, and essential fun.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Terminal City by Dean Motter & Michael Lark
Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter of Terror by Various Creators
The Goon by Eric Powell
If you like the art:
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Dean Motter
High Heaven by Tom Peyer & Greg Scott
Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter of Blood by Various Artists
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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