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.)

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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.

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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.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Clas­sics Sto­ries by Edgar Allan Poe Nar­rat­ed by James Mason in a 1953 Oscar-Nom­i­nat­ed Ani­ma­tion & 1958 Dec­ca Album

Bob Dylan Reads From T.S. Eliot’s Great Mod­ernist Poem The Waste Land

Watch the 1953 Ani­ma­tion of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Nar­rat­ed by James Mason

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.

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