Classical Type Comics Dept: "THE RAVEN"
Oboy, here we go. You KNEW this was coming, didn't you?
I'm sure you all remember EC (Entertaining Comics), right? They remain one of the most famous-- or infamous, depending on your point of view-- comics publishers of the 1950s. During a period where a virtual witch-hunt erupted over violence in "children's" literature, they were at the center of it. The Comics Code Authority-- a self-governing industry organization put together by several of the bigger publishers, while allegedly aimed at "cleaning up" the image of comics in general, in many ways was instead designed specifically to put EC-- their biggest competitor-- out of business! This kind of behavior and attitude never fails to get me incensed in the extreme.
EC's 7th foray into Poe was-- to put it mildly-- quite different from the 5 earlier ones. For one thing, "The Wall", "Blood Red Wine", "The Living Death", "Seep No More", and "Thump Fun" were all what could be called "loose" adaptations, the sort of thing Hammer Films and Eon Productions often took to extremes. Not this time. Well, sort of. Let me explain that. The adaptation you are about to read contains the exact, complete, unaltered text of Poe's poem. Not one word has been changed for your (or anyone else's) convenience.
On the other hand, the artwork... heh heh heh heh.
In case ANYBODY out there is somehow inexplicably completely unfamiliar with it, EC's MAD was, from the first, a huge success story, and a genuine cultural phenomena. It poked fun, in the most frenetic, insane, gut-bustingly-funny and absolutely inconoclastic way possible. It was, in its original incarnation, the work of editor & writer Harvey Kurtzman, who provided full scripts and page layouts to the various illustrators who worked with him. It was SO successful, that literally DOZENS of imitators soon flooded the newsstands... some of them, even from EC Comics itself.
In this case, the illustrator is Will Elder, whose sense of intense detail and comic insanity neatly matches Kurtzman himself.
I would also like to point out the interesting thing that, while there have been multiple versions in various media of many of Poe's works, in the case of this particular piece, BOTH the 1954 comics version AND the 1963 feature film (by Roger Corman) were what I consider the "definitive" adaptations... and both were played for laughs.
And so, with that overly-wordy intro out of the way, here we go with...
cover by HARVEY KURTZMAN (EC / February-March 1954)
Adaptation & Layouts by Harvey Kurtzman / Art by WILL ELDER / Page 9
reprinted MULTIPLE times over the years...
cover by JACK DAVIS (EC / October 1956)
cover by JACK DAVIS (Ballantine Books / March 1958)
cover by JACK DAVIS (Ballantine Books / October 1962)
cover by JACK DAVIS (Ballantine Books / December 1963)
cover by ?? (Ballantine Books / March 1970)
cover by Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder & Wally Wood (EC / Fall 1980)
cover by HARVEY KURTZMAN (Russ Cochran / 1985)
cover by NORMAN MINGO (painting), JACK DAVIS (background),
and Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder (border) (Little, Brown / 1997)
cover by WILL ELDER (EC / Spring 1998)
cover by HARVEY KURTZMAN (DC / 2007)
cover by WILL ELDER (DC / 2015)
Scans of MAD #9 interiors from The Golden Age blog.
Scan of MAD SUPER SPECIAL #32
and THE COMPLETE COLOR MAD from my collection.
All other scans from the GCD site.
Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa
Read about Edgar Allen Poe at Wikipedia.
Read about EC Comics at Wikipedia.
Read about Harvey Kurtzman at Wikipedia.
Read about Harvey Kurtzman at the Harvey Kurtzman site.
Read about Harvey Kurtzman at the JVJ Publishing site.
Read Terry Gilliam's article about Harvey Kurtzman at The Telegraph site.
Read about Will Elder at Wikipedia.
Read about Will Elder at the Will Elder site.
See more Will Elder work at the Comic Art Fans site.
Read about Basil Rathbone at Wikipedia.
Read about Vincent Price at Wikipedia.
Read about Christopher Lee at Wikipedia.
Read about The Raven at Wikipedia.
Read the complete poem at the Poetry Foundation site.
Hear the Basil Rathbone recording!
See the Vincent Price performance!
Hear the Christopher Lee recording!
Read the Harvey Kurtzman / Will Elder RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Wally Wood RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Mort Drucker RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Frank Springer RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Nico Rosso RAVEN adaptation!
Read the George Woodbridge RAVEN adaptation! (coming soon!)
Read the Richard Corben RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Peter Cappiello RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Paul Coker, Jr. RAVEN adaptation! (coming soon!)
Read the Steve Ditko RAVEN story!
Read the Jeff Bonivert RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Ricardo Leite RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Jerry Gerstein RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Gahan Wilson RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Maxxon Poe RAVEN adaptation!
Read the 2nd Richard Corben RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Eureka Productions RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Stuart Tipples RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Mangosta RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Luciano Irrthum RAVEN adaptation!
Read the 2nd J.B. Bonivert RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Yein Yip RAVEN adaptation!
Read the David G. Fores RAVEN adaptation!
Read the 3rd Richard Corben RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Edu Molina RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Duncan Long RAVEN adaptation!
Read the Terrier Studios RAVEN adaptation!
See my Edgar Allan Poe overview at this very blog!
(Continued in Poe 1954, Pt. 4)