Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror is the final new series from AHOY Comics and is released on Halloween day. Featuring all the experience that’s making AHOY one of the best new publishers in the industry, the book has stories from comics veteran and AHOY headline writer Tom Peyer as well as Eisner Award nominee Mark Russell. AiPT! was lucky enough to get a chance to interview both creators so we chatted about Edgar Allan Poe, horror and comics.
AiPT!: Hi Tom and Mark, thanks for taking the time to sit with us and answer a few questions. First things first — out of all the great dead horror writers, why Poe?
Tom Peyer: You can put his face on the cover and people will recognize him. You can’t say that about too many dead horror writers. Plus, that morbid fear of death and decay and entombment that runs through so much of his work. Nothing funnier!
Mark Russell: I guess because Poe is already baked into the cake. It’s impossible to do a parody/homage to any horror or detective writer without invoking tropes or genre conventions that Poe invented. Plus, Poe wasn’t just a great horror writer, he was a great writer, so it raises your game a little to try to sound convincingly like him.
AiPT!: Each AHOY book has its own tone and issue one of Poe is rather tongue-in-cheek. Is this how the book will be or will there be varying degrees of horror in the future?
TP: It’s all pretty funny. Or at least outrageous. I’m not very serious about horror, I’m afraid. I used to like ’80s splatter movies to the point where I’d buy magazines that would run articles about the makeup effects. It was a golden age of red dye #2 with corn syrup! But I don’t think that qualifies me to scare people.
MR: Snifter of Terror is both a humor and a horror publication. It’s “humror,” if that’s a thing. Which is liberating precisely because you can bend the tone, focusing more on either the horror or the funniness, flavoring to taste.
AiPT!: Who are your favourite horror writers?
TP: Uhhh… Poe? I guess?
MR: Right now, Junji Ito is my favorite. Nobody creeps me out more. Even his cat diary drips with creepiness.
AiPT!: What’s your favourite type of horror? Do you prefer a gore-fest or a suspenseful ghost story?
TP: I like funny horror. James Whale, the director, is said to have called his Bride of Frankenstein “a comedy about death.” It’s such a great movie, with such great images, but the characterizations are pretty over-the-top. Which only adds to it, if you ask me.
MR: I’m a big fan of social horror, which kind of exists at this nexus between horror, science fiction, and social commentary. The stuff that Charlie Brooker is doing with Black Mirror and Jordan Peele did with Get Out feels like the direct descendant of Mary Shelley and George Orwell.
AiPT: What is it that scares you?
TP: Chest pains.
MR: Global warming. And centipedes.
AiPT: What do you believe can be done in horror comics that hasn’t been done in prose?
TP: I believe very strongly that horror comics can get me paid. Horror prose has never come close to accomplishing that very simple feat.
MR: Horror movies are great because they can use visuals to create a visceral reaction in the audience, but they’re so expensive to make that you usually have a team of producers doing their best to make your film as safely predictable as possible. Horror prose is great because you can be wildly original, but it lacks that direct-to-the-cerebral-cortex visual element. Horror COMICS, however, give you the best of both worlds.