Edgar Allen Poe’s The Conqueror Worm

A horrifying adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic by comics legend, Richard Corben. A betrayed man hunts down his wife and her lover only to stumble upon a gruesome puppet show based on his life.

Richard Corben
Richard Corben
Nate Piekos
Dark Horse

Though many of his ideas have become part of cultural iconography and I’ve read a lot of H.P. Lovecraft’s work, Poe has eluded me. So, it’s nice to read this interpretation of one of his short poems, which itself appears at the end of the comic. A man in the American Wild West pursues his wife and lover, his brother, before coming across a bizarre menagerie of indigenous people, who promise to perform him and his family a play.

First, the good. The art matches the tone of the piece perfectly, managing to invoke a sense of dread throughout the entire comic. Particularly well done I felt were the indigenous people which, thanks to a smart design process, seemed otherworldly and were something unique. The story itself doesn’t quite hold up though. Adapting any piece from something in another medium is hard, especially when turning verse into a straight comic, so I certainly can’t criticise it too much. It’s just that for a period comic, the occasional use of modern turn of phrase (or at least ones I associate with modern times) threw me out of the piece. Whilst at times a bit flabby round the edges, it was otherwise very good.

In the end, there’s not much to say about this comic as it’s a one shot and very self contained. However, if you like your horror shots, this offers a refreshing change to most of the fare that is out there at the moment. The artwork by far makes up for any slight letdowns in the narrative.

The Conqueror Worm is available now from Dark Horse. In the off chance you haven’t heard of Richard Corben, you owe it to yourself to visit his site.

Reece writes for quite a few places on the net, mostly on the subject of comics. Yes, he does think it’s weird writing about himself in the third person. Regardless, you can talk to him on Twitter @reecemjones.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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