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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