The Night Owl posted a list on his blog last night of all the non-baseball subjects in Allen & Ginter since the brand’s 2006 inception. Has it really been around that long? I perused the list and only came up with a handful of cards that I would care to have in my collection: Jack the Ripper (2007), Bram Stoker (2008), George W. Bush (2011), Bobby Knight (2012), and Tommy Lee (2013). I had originally commented on his post that I only found four, but I had overlooked Stoker in my initial reading of the lists. A sixth would have been added if Mr. T was not identified as Clubber Lang in 2015. Hundreds of non-baseball cards in these baseball card sets, but only five that I would actually want.
As many others noted in the comments section, the checklist is getting worse each year. The biggest omission in my eyes is one of the greatest writers in American history, Edgar Allan Poe. You could make the case for other writers in the horror genre, such as H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman, but Poe must come before all others.
Unlike Lovecraft, King, and Gaiman, however, Poe is not without cardboard glory. He was featured in the 1952 Topps “Look ‘n See” set, and the card is fairly affordable depending on condition. There is also the 1992 Starline Americana set, 2009 Topps American Heritage, 2009 Topps Mayo, 2011 Obak (which featured a younger Edgar along with his five brothers), 2011 Goodwin Champions, and 2012 Golden Age. I am almost ashamed to admit that I own none of these issues.
There is one other interesting Edgar Allan Poe card, and perhaps the one that I want above all others: the 2013 Garbage Pail Kids “Adam Bombing” Edgar Allan Poe. I’m a huge fan of GPK, and this card just captures everything there is to love about the brand’s irreverence.
One of these days I will load up my COMC cart with all the Poe cards I can afford. And I may pick up those five A&G non-baseball players I want at the same time.
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In The Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Terror, 1816-1914 edited by Leslie S. Klinger (2015)
In The Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Terror, 1816-1914
edited by Leslie S. Klinger
Pegasus Books, 2015
When one thinks of macabre short stories, Edgar Allan Poe is often the first author that comes to mind. His morbid ability makes him the most popular of the genre, and often others are forgotten. In The Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe is a collection of stories compiled by Leslie S. Klinger to remind fans of the genre that there are tales not penned by Poe, but worthy of attention.
Klinger writes in the introduction, “While a few of the stories have been widely anthologized, most have been lost in the shadow of Edgar Allan Poe.” He is well-studied in the fiction of the time period, having previously edited The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, The New Annotated Dracula, and The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft.
Two names in this anthology that are very familiar are Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) and Bram Stoker (author of Dracula). Their stories included here are “The Leather Funnel” (Doyle) and “The Squaw” (Stoker). Other writers include M.R. James (who influenced H.P. Lovecraft and Neil Gaiman), Saki (also known as H.H. Munro), W.C. Morrow, and E.T.A. Hoffman. Each story is well-crafted, preceded by a brief biography of the author, and presented with footnotes where the edi-tor deemed necessary. In The Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe is an excellent collection that will darken any day, especially during the Halloween season.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Baltimore (Images of America)
by David F. Gaylin
Arcadia Publishing, 2015
Many cities can stake a claim to a major part of Edgar Allan Poe’s life—Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, and Richmond, Virginia, among them. In Baltimore, the city of the author’s death and burial, Poe has attained cult-like status. Fans from all over the world visit Baltimore to see the Edgar Allan Poe house on North Amity Street and his gravesite at the Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery. The professional football team even uses Poe’s most well-known character—the Raven—as its mascot. But what was the city like during the writer’s life? David F. Gaylin answers that question in Arcadia Publishing’s latest pictorial history, Edgar Allan Poe’s Baltimore, with fascinating photographs and artwork of the people and places contemporary with one of America’s premiere mystery authors.
In addition to the images that depict Baltimore in the 1800s, several modern-day photographs of the locations are also featured in the book. Perhaps the most interesting pictures, however, are those of Poe himself. While there are some that feature his trademark mustache and disheveled hair, including the most recognizable photo of the author, Gaylin also includes a daguerreotype from 1842 with muttonchop sideburns and no mustache.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Baltimore is thorough, with approximately two hundred images reprinted in its pages, and those interested in Poe’s life and death while in Mob City will find it quite educational.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Balitmore, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing and The History Press at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.
The Edgar Allan Poe Keepsake Journal
Rock Point, 2015
The new Edgar Allan Poe Keepsake Journal comes with ten illustrated quote cards and 128 lined pages, some with quotes on them, to inspire writers. Poe is one of the most famous American authors in history, known for his mysterious tales, short stories of horror, and poetry such as “The Raven.”
The 7.5×9.8-inch journal seems to be designed for aspiring female writers, with a purple color scheme, but the quote cards may have more universal appeal. The quotes within the journal come not only from Poe’s stories and poems, but also from his letters. One such quote from a letter to James Russell Lowell reads, “My life has been whim—impulse—passion—a longing for solitude—a scorn of all things present, in an earnest desire for the future.”
My favorite of the quote cards shows an illustration of Poe, with a raven above his head, and the quote, “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” These cards are nicely done and would look nice framed or even taped or sticky-tacked to the wall around one’s writing station.
I bought a pack of GPK a few days ago, and finally got around to opening it last night. One of the cards I pulled was this fantastic Ludwig Van Beethoven card, “Adam Bomb” style…
It’s an insert from the “Brand New Series 3” that was released last year. There were 10 “Adam Bombing” cards total, but there is one in particular I really really really want:
(image borrowed from the most fantastic GPK site on the Internet, geepeekay.com.)
So if you have that Poe card, and are willing to part with it, let me know what you want in return.
Evermore: Edgar Allan Poe
and the Mystery of the Universe
by Harry Lee Poe
Baylor University Press, 2012
Much more than a straightforward biography of the greatest author in American history, Evermore attempts to delve into the philosophical and theological aspects of Edgar Allan Poe’s writings, showing the writer’s journey from one conclusion to the next. Evermore is written by Poe’s distant cousin, Harry Lee Poe, who is the Charles Colson Professor of Faith and Culture at Union University. For clarity’s sake, the author of this book (Harry Lee Poe) will be referred to in this review as “HLP,” while the subject of the book (Edgar Allan Poe) will be known as “EAP.”
HLP begins his work by debunking the myth of EAP as a depressed drunkard, a lie that was thrust upon him at his death by one of his adversaries, Rufus Griswold. HLP shows that his cousin was, in fact, a fairly happy man at the time of his passing. Yes, he suffered great tragedies during his lifetime, including the death of a wife, periods of poverty, and bouts with illness, but when he died he was making preparations for another marriage. The tendency to assume all of EAP’s works were direct reflections of his own life rather than pieces of fiction designed to entertain his audience is rejected, as it should be. Certainly an artist—whether a writer, painter, or musician—may draw on personal experiences for inspiration; that is quite different than basing one’s works solely on those experiences.
HLP also examines EAP’s life in light of five problems: suffering, beauty, love, justice, and the universe. In each chapter, HLP looks at a sampling of EAP’s writings in light of these subjects. On the subject of beauty, EAP is quoted, “The death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world” (68). HLP then gives several examples throughout literature and pop culture that bear this out, starting with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet all the way through Padmé’s death in Revenge of the Sith. On the topic of the problem of love, HLP breaks down the three types of love: affection, friendship, and passion, giving examples of EAP’s works that fall into each category.
The most interesting chapter to this reviewer was that which dealt with the problem of justice, giving rise to EAP’s detective mystery stories. We are accustomed to such tales in the modern day, but in the nineteenth century they were a literary revolution. HLP breaks down “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” showing the uniqueness of the storytelling as well as the entire concept for the time.
Finally, HLP tackles Eureka, which he describes as EAP’s “most controversial and neglected work…in which he proposed the original Big Bang theory” (133). HLP attempts to harmonize EAP’s interest in this so-called science with his theological ideas, but conservative Christians would reject such an attempt in this day and age. The Big Bang theory simply does not fit into the Genesis account of creation, however hard “theistic evolutionists” try. HLP also mentions the possibility that, at one time, EAP subscribed to the notion of annihilation, or the cessation of existence after death. This, too, is in opposition to what the Bible teaches of life after death. However, EAP’s views seem to change over time, and HLP notes that after Eureka‘s publication, EAP “seems to settle his mind that individual identity continues so that people may know and love each other, for without individual identity, Love does not occur” (163).
Evermore is not light reading material. It should be read and studied by the individual who has a great interest in EAP, or who wishes to seriously explore the themes of suffering, beauty, love, and justice in literature. Obviously, as a book published by an institution of higher learning, it has a more scholarly tone than your average book; it is not, however, so scholarly that it is entirely out of reach for those with a deep interest in the subject matter.
Celebrate the birthday of one of America’s greatest writers by reading something he wrote. There are quite a few titles to choose from, including “The Raven,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” or my personal favorite, “The Cask of Amontillado.”
Edgar Allan Poe was a true genius with the written word.