Saturday, March 30, 2024

The Fall of the House of Usher, Graphic Novel

GKIDS's animated anthology Extraordinary Tales has an incredible claim to fame. It must be the only film that features the voices of Sir Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, and Roger Corman. Hearing Lee during “The Fall of the House of Usher” was probably what a lot of horror fans were most excited about, but the visuals were still spooky enough to hold up on their own. Raul Garcia had worked for about a decade on a series of Poe shorts, before incorporating them into Tales and providing the interstitial transitions. Now, he has adapted one of his constituent films into a stand-alone graphic novel, The Fall of the House of Usher, which is now on-sale.

Garcia was and now is probably more faithful to Poe’s short story than any other adaptation. He certainly stick’s closer Poe’s text than Roger Corman and Richard Matheson did with
House of Usher, the first and arguably the most faithful of their Poe films, which we all love, because of Vincent Price (and Corman and Matheson). Yet, Garcia developed his own twist, making the narrator somewhat nebbish looking, rather than a handsome love interest for Madeline Usher. Of course, she still dies—and it gets way worse after that.

Her brother Roderick remains as weird and tormented as ever. The visual contrast between him and the narrator helps give Garcia’s interpretation its own distinctive character. Most importantly, he created (and successfully transferred) a wonderfully macabre and decaying vision of the House of Usher. Even without Lee’s voice (which was a huge asset), Garcia’s
Usher still delivers all the old dark house vibes that give fans warm fuzzies (and cold chills).

Garcia’s graphic novel includes some “behind-the-scenes” material that should interest aspiring filmmakers and sequential artists. It also contains Poe’s original text, so reader/viewers can “check his work.”

Extraordinary Tales
is a fantastic film, arguably representing the best film treatments of Poe to-date. If you have not seen it, the publication of Garcia’s graphic novel should prompt you to finally catch up with it. For existing admirers, the new comic format is a way to revisit it, in a different context. Highly recommended for fans of Poe, GKIDS, and “classic comics,” Garcia’s The Fall of the House of Usher is now on-sale wherever books and comics are sold.