Mœbius & Jodorowsky’s Sci-Fi Masterpiece, The Incal, Brought to Life in a Tantalizing Animation

Last year we featured artwork from the Dune movie that never was, a collaboration between Alejandro Jodorowsky, the mysticism-minded Chilean director of such oft-described-as-mind-blowing pictures as El Topo and The Holy Mountain, and the artist Jean Giraud, better known as Mœbius, creator of oft-described-as-mind-blowing comics as Arzach, Blueberry, and The Airtight GarageIf ever a meeting of two creative minds made more sense, I haven’t heard about it. Alas, Jodorowsky and Mœbius’ work didn’t lead to their own Dune movie, but it didn’t mark the end of their artistic partnership, as anyone who’s read The Incal knows full well.

Telling a metaphysical, satirical, space-operatic story in the form of comic books originally published throughout the 1980s (with sequel and prequel series to come over the following 25 years), The Incal on the page became the fullest realization of Jodorowsky and Mœbius’ combined vision.

Its success made it a logical candidate for film adaptation, and so director Pascal Blais brought together artists from Heavy Metal magazine (in which Mœbius first published some of his best known work) to make it happen. It resulted in nothing more than a trailer, but what a trailer; you can watch a recently revamped edition of the one Blais and his collaborators put together in the 1980s at the top of the post.

Any Incal fan who watches this spruced-up trailer will immediately want nothing more in this life than to see a feature-film version of dissolute private investigator John DiFool, his concrete seagull Deepo, and the titular all-powerful crystal that sets the story in motion. And anyone not yet initiated into the science-fiction “Jodoverse” for which The Incal forms the basis will want to plunge into the comic books at the earliest opportunity. Perhaps Blais will one day fully revive the project; until then, we’ll have to content ourselves with Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (with its Mœbius-developed production design, similar enough to The Incal‘s to have sparked a lawsuit) and maybe, just maybe, a live-action adaptation from Drive director Nicholas Winding Refn.

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Mœbius Illustrates Paulo Coelho’s Inspirational Novel The Alchemist (1998)

Mœbius Illustrates Dante’s Paradiso

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinemaand the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future? Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Great Depression Cooking: Get Budget-Minded Meals from the Online Cooking Show Created by 93-Year-Old Clara Cannucciari

“The Depression was not fun,” the late YouTube star, Clara Cannucciari, states in the very first episode of her Great Depression Cooking web series, above. Her first recipe—Pasta with Peas—would likely give your average urbane foodie hives, as would her knife skills, but Clara, who started making these videos when she was 93, takes obvious satisfaction in the outcome.

Her filmmaker grandson Christopher Cannucciari wisely kept Clara in her own kitchen, rather than relocating her to a more sanitized kitchen set. Her plastic paper towel holder, linoleum lined cabinets, and teapot-shaped spoon rest kept things real for several years worth of step-by-step, low budget, mostly vegetarian recipes.

Her fruit-and-gingham ceramic salt and pepper shakers remained consistent throughout.

How many television chefs can you name who would allow the camera crew to film the stained tinfoil lining the bottom of their ovens?

Nonagenarian Clara apparently had nothing to hide. Each episode includes a couple of anecdotes about life during the Great Depression, the period in which she learned to cook from her thrifty Italian mother.

She initially disliked being filmed, agreeing to the first episode only because that was grandson Christopher’s price for shooting a pre-need funeral portrait she desired. She turned out to be a natural. Her celebrity eventually led to a cookbook (Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression), as well as a video wherein she answered viewer questions with characteristic frankness.

To what did she attribute her youthful appearance?

Clean living and large quantities of olive oil (poured from a vessel the size and shape of a coffee pot).

How to avoid another Great Depression?

“At my age, I don’t really care,” Clara admitted, “But for the younger generation it’s bad.” In the worst case scenario, she counsels sticking together, and not wishing for too much. The Depression, as we’ve mentioned, was not fun, but she got through it, and so, she implies, would you.

The series can be enjoyed on the strength of Clara’s personality alone, but Great Depression Cooking has a lot to offer college students, undiscovered artists, and other fledgling chefs.

Her recipes may not be professionally styled, but they’re simple, nutritious, and undeniably cheap (especially Dandelion Salad).

Homemade Pizza—Clara’s favorite—is the antithesis of a 99¢ slice.

The tight belts of the Great Depression did not preclude the occasional treat like holiday biscotti or Italian Ice.

Those on a lean Thanksgiving budget might consider making Clara’s Poor Man’s Feast: lentils and rice, thinly sliced fried steak, plain salad and bread.

Right up until her final, touching appearance below at the age of 96, her hands were nimble enough to shell almonds, purchased that way to save money, though cracking also put her in a holiday mood. Foodies who shudder at Pasta with Peas should find no fault with her wholesome recipe for her mother’s homemade tomato sauce (and by extension, paste).

You can watch all of Clara’s video’s on the Great Depression Cooking channel. Or find Seasons 1 and 2 below.

Season 1:

Season 2:

via Kottke

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. She recently co-authored a comic about epilepsy with her 18-year-old daughter. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Beautiful, Color Photographs of Paris Taken 100 Years Ago—at the Beginning of World War I & the End of La Belle Époque


It may well be that the major pivot points of history are only visible to those around the bend. For those of us immersed in the present—for all of its deafening sirens of violent upheaval—the exact years future generations will use to mark our epoch remain unclear. But when we look back, certain years stand out above all others, those that historians use as arrestingly singular book titles: 1066: The Year of Conquest1492: The Year the World Began, 1776. The first such year in the 20th century gets a particularly grim subtitle in historian Paul Ham’s 1914: The Year the World Ended.

It sounds like hyperbolic marketing, but that apocalyptic description of the effects of World War I comes from some of the most eloquent voices of the age, whether those of American expatriates like Gertrude Stein or T.S. Eliot, or of European soldier-poets like Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon.

In France, the horrors of the war prompted its survivors to remember the years before it as La Belle Epoque, a phrase—wrote the BBC’s Hugh Schofield in centenary essay “La Belle Eqoque: Paris 1914,”—that appeared “much later in the century, when people who’d lived their gilded youths in the pre-war years started looking back and reminiscing.”

Moulin Rouge

We’re used to seeing the period of 1914 in grainy, dreary black-and-white, and to seeing nostalgic celebrations of La Belle Epoque represented graphically by the lively full-color posters and advertisements one finds in décor stores. But thanks to the full color photos you see here, unearthed a few years ago by Retronaut, we can see photographs of World War I-era Paris in full and vibrant color—images of the city one-hundred years ago almost just as Parisians saw it at the time. Icons like the Moulin Rouge come to life in bright daylight, above, and lighting up the night, below.

Moulin Rouge Night

Early cinema Aubert Palace, below, in the Grands Boulevards, shimmers beautifully, as does the art-deco lighting of the Eiffel Tower, further down.

Aubert Palace

Deco Eiffel

Below, hot air balloons hover in the enormous Grand Palais, and further down, a photograph of Notre Dame on a hazy day almost looks like a watercolor.

Grand Palais

Notre Dame

The photographs were made, writes Messy N Chic, “using Autochrome Lumière technology between 1914 and 1918 [a technique developed in 1903 by the Lumière brothers, credited as the first filmmakers]…. [T]here are around 72,000 Autochromes from the time period of places all over the world, including Paris in its true colors.”

Paris Street

Paris Soldiers

Not all of the photographs are of famous architectural monuments or nightlife destinations. Very many show ordinary street scenes, like those above, one depicting a number of bored French soldiers, presumably awaiting deployment.

Paris Street 2

The Paris of 1914 was a European capital in major transition, in more ways than one. “Modernity was the moving spirit,” writes Schofield; “It was the time of the machine. The city’s last horse-drawn omnibus made its way from Saint-Sulpice to La Villette in January 1913.”

Parisian Coal vendors

Paris Down and Out

Schofield also points out that, like Gilded Age New York, “the public image of Paris was the creation of romantic capitalists. The reality for many was much more wretched… there were entire families living on the street, and decrepit, overcrowded housing with non-existent sanitation.” Modernity was leaving many behind, class conflict loomed in France as it erupted in Russia, even as the global catastrophe of World War threatened French elites and proletariat alike, who both served and who both died at very high rates.


You can see many more of these astonishingly beautiful full-color photographs of 1914 Paris—at the end of La Belle Epoque—at Flavorwire, Vintage Everyday, Faded & Blurred, and Messy N Chic.

Arc de Triumph

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Rita Hayworth, 1940s Hollywood Icon, Dances Disco to the Tune of The Bee Gees Stayin’ Alive: A Mashup

Disco’s been dead for decades, yet disco bashing never seems to go out of style. The sleazy fashions, the soulless music, the lumpenproletariat streaming ‘cross bridge and tunnel to shake their sweaty, polyester-clad booties like cut rate Travoltas… it’s over, and yet it isn’t.

But even the most savagely anti-disco rocker should allow that its lead practitioners were possessed of a certain glamour and grace, their highly refined dance moves executed with the precision of Fred Astaire.

It’s a point a German film buff known on YouTube as “et7waage1” drives home by setting a mix of screen siren Rita Hayworth’s most memorable dance scenes from the ‘40s and ‘50s to one of disco’s best known anthems, ’ “Stayin’ Alive.”

It’s easy to imagine Rita and any of her co-stars (including Astaire) would have parted the crowds at Brooklyn’s legendary 2001 Odyssey, the scene of Saturday Night Fever’s famous lighted Plexiglass floor. Her celebrated stems are well suited to the demands of disco, even when her twirly skirt is traded in for pjs and fuzzy slippers or a dowdy turn-of-the-century swimming costume.

Here, for comparison’s sake are the stars of Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gomey, cutting the rug, urm, flashing floor in 1977 to the Bee Gees’ much more sedate “More Than a Woman.”

Hayworth films featured in the disco-scored revamp are:

“Down to Earth”: 0:00 / 1:03 / 2:46 / 4:20

“You’ll Never Get Rich”: 0:14 / 0:24 / 0:28 / 0:46 / 2:35 / 3:16 / 3:49

“Tonight and Every Night”: 0:20 / 1:11 / 1:22 / 1:36 / 1:54 / 1:55

“Cover Girl”: 0:34 / 0:38 / 1:13 / 1:48 / 2:13 / 3:07 / 3:29 / 3:31 / 3:54 / 4:06 / 4:31

“You Were Never Lovelier”: 0:50 / 2:20 / 2:42 / 3:00 / 4:10 / 4:38

“Gilda”: 1:17 / 2:04

“Miss Sadie Thompson”: 1:38 / 1:46 / 4:28

“My Gal Sal”: 1:42 / 3:23 / 3:35

“Pal Joey”: 2:00 / 3:20 / 3:41

“Affair in Trinidad”: 2:05 / 2:52 / 3:04

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Her play, Fawnbook, is now playing New York City. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Nietzsche’s Concept of Superman Explained with Monty Python-Style Animation

Friedrich Nietzsche first introduced the concept of the Übermensch — often translated in English as “The Superman” — in his influential philosophical work, Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883), writing:

I TEACH YOU THE SUPERMAN. Man is something that is to be surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man?

All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and ye want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass man?…

Lo, I teach you the Superman!

The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Superman SHALL BE the meaning of the earth!

I conjure you, my brethren, REMAIN TRUE TO THE EARTH, and believe not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes! Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not.

Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them!

Once blasphemy against God was the greatest blasphemy; but God died, and therewith also those blasphemers. To blaspheme the earth is now the dreadfulest sin, and to rate the heart of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth!

As Eva Cybulska observes in an article on Philosophy Now, Nietzsche never quite spelled out what he meant by Übermensch/The Superman, leaving it to later interpreters to fill in the blanks. She notes: “RJ Hollingdale (in Nietzsche) saw in Übermensch a man who had organised the chaos within; [Walter] Kaufmann (Nietzsche) a symbol of a man that created his own values, and Carl Jung (Zarathustra’s Seminars) a new ‘God’. For Heidegger it represented humanity that surpassed itself, whilst for the Nazis it became an emblem of the master race.”

You can now add to the list of interpretations another by Alain de Botton’s School of Life. In a newly-released animated video, de Botton treats The Superman as the incarnation of human perfection. Embodying characteristics possessed by Goethe, Montaigne, Voltaire and Napoleon (people who came closest to achieving perfection in Nietzsche’s mind), the Übermenschen/Supermen will live by their own values (Pagan in nature); delight in their superiority and take pity on the weak; perhaps hurt people in the name of achieving great things; accept that suffering can be a necessary evil; use culture to raise the mentality of the society around them; and beyond.

Whether you see The Superman differently is another question. You can download Thus Spake Zarathustra from our Digital Nietzsche collection and come up with your own take.

And, tangentially, you can watch The Original 1940s Superman Cartoon Free Online.

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David Lynch Directs a Mini-Season of Twin Peaks in the Form of Japanese Coffee Commercials

I recently read Merry White’s Coffee Life in Japan, a history of the west’s favorite beverage in the Land of the Rising Sun. As with so many cultural imports, the Japanese first entertained a fascination with coffee, then got more serious about drinking it, then made an official place for it in their society, then got even more serious about not just drinking it but artisanally preparing and serving it, winding up with an originally foreign but now unmistakably Japanese suite of products and associated experiences. Having spent a fair bit of time in Japanese cafés myself, I can tell you that the country has some damn fine coffee.

But what about its cherry pie? Only one man could take that case: FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, the main character of David Lynch’s groundbreakingly strange ABC television drama Twin Peaks. A great many Japanese people love coffee, but no small number also love David Lynch. And so, when the opportunity arose to take simultaneous advantage of local enthusiasm for beverage and filmmaker alike, Georgia Coffee seized it, working in the robust tradition of Japanese advertisements starring American celebrities to reunite members of Twin Peaks cast, reconstruct the fictional town of Twin Peaks itself, and have Lynch direct a new mini-mini-mini-season of the show, each episode a forty-second Georgia Coffee commercial.

The first episode, “Mystery of G,” finds Cooper in the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, enlisted in the search for a missing Japanese woman named Asami. He and Asami’s husband examine the first piece of evidence: an origami crane with a G on it. The second, “Lost,” introduces two more inscrutable artifacts: a photo of Asami beside a rare roadster, and a mounted deer’s head. The latter leads him to Big Ed’s Gas Farm, where in the third episode, “Cherry Pie,” he spots the car and, on its passenger seat, a mysterious wedge of red billiard balls (which, of course, reminds him of his favorite dessert). The fourth, “The Rescue,” closes the case in the woods, where Cooper finds Asami, trapped and backwards-talking, in — where else? — the red-curtained room of the extra-dimensional Black Lodge.

Every step of the solution to this mystery requires a cup of Georgia Coffee — or, rather, a can of Georgia Coffee, Georgia being one of the best-known varieties of that vending machine-ready category of beverage. The west may never have gone in for canned coffee, but Japan drinks it in enormous quantities. What better way to advertise a Japanese interpretation of coffee in the early 1990s, then, than with a Japanese interpretation of Twin Peaks? Alas, the higher-ups at Georgia Coffee didn’t ultimately think that way, giving the axe to the planned second series of Twin Peaks commercials. Maybe that’s for the best since, as for the actual taste of Georgia Coffee — well, I’ve had damn finer.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinemaand the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future? Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The Myth of Sisyphus Wonderfully Animated in an Oscar-Nominated Short Film (1974)

Even if you don’t know the myth by name, you know the story. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus, King of Corinth, was punished “for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this action for eternity.” In modern times, this story inspired Albert Camus to write “The Myth of Sisyphus,” an essay where he famously introduced his concept of the “absurd” and identified Sisyphus as the absurd hero. And it provided the creative material for a breathtakingly good animation created by Marcell Jankovics in 1974. The film, notes the annotation that accompanies the animation on Youtube, is “presented in a single, unbroken shot, consisting of a dynamic line drawing of Sisyphus, the stone, and the mountainside.” Fittingly, Jankovics’ little masterpiece was nominated for the Best Animated Short Film at the 48th Academy Awards. Enjoy watching it above.

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Hear Ray Bradbury’s Classic Sci-Fi Story Fahrenheit 451 as a Radio Drama

fahrenheit 451

Last week we featured a list of 100 novels all kids should read before graduating from high school. Chosen by 500 English teachers from all over Britain, the list happens to have a lot of overlap with many others like it. Invariably, these kinds of young adult reading lists include Ray Bradbury’s novel of dystopian censorship and anti-intellectualism, Fahrenheit 451.  Why, I’ve always wondered, should this novel be pitched almost exclusively at teenagers, so much so that it seems like one of those books many of us read in high school, then never read again, even if we are fans of Bradbury’s work?

A strange disconnect emerges when we look at the history of Bradbury’s novel as a teaching tool. Although most high school students are presented with freethinking as an ideal, and given cautionary tales of its suppression, their own educations are just as often highly circumscribed by adults who fret about the effects of various bad influences. As Villanova University journal Compass notes, in a perverse irony, Fahrenheit 451’s publisher Ballantine “released an expurgated version of the novel to be used in high schools” in 1967; “Such words as ‘hell,’ ‘damn’ and ‘abortion’ were eliminated.”

The expurgations went unnoticed because readers did not compare this version to the original. The copyright page did not indicate any edits. The expurgated version ran for ten printings. At the same time, the authentic “adult” version was sold outside of high schools to the world at large. In 1973, after six years of publishing both editions, the publisher decided to publish only the censored work, so from 1973 to 1979 only that version was sold.

Bradbury himself did not become aware of the censored version until 1979, whereafter he demanded that it be withdrawn and wrote a forceful afterward to the restored, 1980 printing.

Whether, as a student, you read the bowdlerized or the “adult” version of Bradbury’s novel, perhaps it’s time to revisit Fahrenheit 451, particularly now that freedoms of thought, belief, and expression have again come under intense scrutiny. And in addition to re-reading Bradbury’s novel, you can listen to the 1971 radio play above. Produced in Vancouver by the CBC (and re-broadcast in recent years by the Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound podcast), the abridged, one-hour adaptation by necessity changes the source material, though for dramatic purposes, not to expressly soften the message. Ray Bradbury’s reputation may have been tamed over the decades. He became late in life an avuncular sci-fi master, primarily known as a writer of books for high school students. But at one time, his work—and science fiction in general—were so subversive that the FBI kept close tabs on them.

If you like the Fahrenheit 451 adaptation, you can hear many more Bradbury stories adapted into classic radio plays at our previous post.

Also note: Tim Robbins has narrated a new, unabridged audio version of Fahrenheit 451. It’s available via Audible.com. You can get it for free with Audible’s 30-day free trial. Get more details on that here.

via SFF

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Meet Congo the Chimp, London’s Sensational 1950s Abstract Painter

A few years ago, I watched and enjoyed My Kid Could Paint That, a documentary about Marla Olmstead, a four-year-old abstract painter who became a brief art-world sensation, her canvases (which towered over the tiny artist) at one point selling for thousands of dollars apiece. Olmstead raised the bar high indeed for all subsequent preschool-aged art celebrities, but the world of unlikely painters in general has a fuller, stranger history. Witness, for instance, Congo the Chimp, the London Zoo’s artistic sensation of the 1950s, a noted animal artist who sold work to such noted non-animal artists as Picasso, Miró, and Dalí, the last of whom made a comparison with one of the best-known abstract painters of the day: “The hand of the chimpanzee is quasihuman; the hand of Jackson Pollock is totally animal!”


Congo, who began his art career the moment he happened to pick up a pencil, went on, writes the Telegraph‘s Nigel Reynolds, to become “a television celebrity in the late 1950s as the star of Zootime, an animal programme presented from the London Zoo by Desmond Morris, the zoologist and anthropologist. He became even more of a cause célèbre when the Institute of Contemporary Arts mounted a large exhibition of his work in 1957. Critics had a field day and debate about the meaning of art raged furiously.” You can see Morris, a surrealist painter himself, in addition to his zoological, anthropological, and televisual work, interacting with Congo in the 1950s and reflecting on the place of the chimpanzee artist in his own career in the clip at the top of the post. The newsreel below covers an exhibition called The Young Idea, which featured paintings not just from Congo but from such Marla Olmstead predecessors as three-year-old Timothy Vaughn and eighteen-month-old Graham Phillips. One of Congo’s paintings appears above.

And so to the obvious question: But Is It Art? And assuming it is, writes John Valentine in The Philosopher, “what then follows from such a classification? What sort of difference does it or should it make in the way we approach and appreciate chimpanzee paintings? If they are art, what sort of critical or interpretive discourse about them should we engage in? Do we simply appreciate the lines, colours, and forms of Congo’s paintings and stop at that? Does it make any difference that the paintings were done by a member of a different species? Should species differences make any difference in artistic value?” It may not, at least commercially speaking: Congo may have had his moment six decades ago, but don’t think that means his work will come cheap; back in 2005, some of his paintings went up on the auction block and fetched more than $25,620.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinemaand the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future? Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

A Comic Book Adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s Poignant Poem, Annabel Lee


We’ve highlighted the comic art of Montreal-based Julian Peters before on Open Culture. He’s the man who undertook a 24-page illustrated adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and then also delivered a manga version of W. B. Yeats’ “When You Are Old,” recreating the style of Japanese romance comics to a T.

While studying in a Masters program early examples of literary graphic novels, Peters is also turning into a fine illustrator of poetry whether classic (Rimbaud, Keats) or contemporary (teaming up with John Philip Johnson on an upcoming book of illustrated poems, one of which you can find here.)

annabel lee 2

This adaptation (above) of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee” dates from 2011. Poe’s work gives illustrators narrative aplenty, but it also gives them repetition and ellipses. In his rendition, Peters gives us two pre-teen sweethearts similar to Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, and when Annabel Lee dies from “the wind that came out of the cloud by night,” we get a full panel of Annabel’s final healthy moments. Wind is everywhere to be found in the comic, forming white caps on the ocean, and blowing Annabel’s pigtails when we first see her.

annabel lee 3

Scholars tend to agree that “Annabel Lee” was based on Poe’s first cousin and teen bride Virginia Clemm, whom he married when she was 13 (and Poe was 27), but who passed away from tuberculosis at 24 years of age. The image of the beautiful corpse continues through his work from “The Raven” to “Ligeia“.

You can find the first few panels of Peters’ adaptation above. Read the rest here.

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Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.