Richard Corben manages to draw out an eerie mood and spine-chilling atmosphere in his adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher. With Corben’s surrealistic artwork and storytelling, this adaptation brings about the foreboding element of Gothic horror. Literary enthusiasts should not be afraid to pick this up because Poe’s eloquent prose translates very well into the comic book medium.
WRITTEN BY: Richard Corben
ART BY: Richard Corben
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: May 15th, 2013
What’s great about Corben’s adaptation is how he interprets the story on many different levels. The story brings together the elements of a haunted house, an incestuous sibling rivalry, and human nature’s fear of death. I really liked how Corben focused on the architecture of Usher’s mansion in the opening pages. Through a bird’s eye view, readers get to see the haunted mansion from all sides. The mansion’s dilapidated state represents Roderick’s unstable mental behavior.
There is definitely an ick-factor that runs through the pages. Through his portraits, readers do get to see how Roderick is sexually abusing his sister, Madeline. Roderick wants to dominate and show power, which is way he needs Allan as a witness. Allan observes Roderick’s creepy behavior, but there is something else going on when Roderick paints a picture.
Because I mostly remember Roger Corman’s adaptation of Poe’s works, I was at first expecting an over-the-top use of red and primary colors. Corben stays away from the use of red tones and keeps a naturalistic color scheme. Even when he uses green tones, the color quality is faded and dull. The combination of gray and brown shadings actually enhance the Gothic architecture of the mansion.
One of my favorite images is of Allan staring awkwardly at the clock. As the bells of the clock ring, a small model of the Grim Reaper steps out. Each time the bell strikes, the Grim Reaper sweeps the floor with his scythe. Death itself is coming for Allan and the Usher siblings, bringing along the dead buried in the backyard.
Just like he did with “The Conqueror Worm,” Richard Corben delivers another truly terrifying interpretation of Poe’s works. Readers will definitely be impressed by what Corben has artistically achieved in his faithful adaptation of “Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.”
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis