When Ahoy Comics started putting out quality publications back in October of 2018, one of the first ones they did was an anthology series. Entitled Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror, this was a collection of stories that not only included adaptations of Poe Classics, but also original stories written by some of the most talented creators and artists around. Since that time, the book has grown popular enough to inspire new volumes. Including Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Blood and now, Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Death.
Since the Poe series helped lay the foundation for Ahoy’s start, it is only fitting we once again talk to not only Ahoy’s Editor in Chief Tom Peyer about the Poe series, but also to talented writer Mark Russell. Mark wrote the first of his popular Monster Serials for the original book and that series continues in Snifter of Death. So let’s welcome Tom Peyer and Mark Russell to GVN’s Talking Comics Interview.
“Age before Beauty” they say (although I’m sure they are both beautiful in their own way) so let’s begin with Tom.
GVN: It wouldn’t be proper if we didn’t take a moment to talk to Ahoy Comics Editor in Chief Tom Peyer every few months or so. Especially now that they are getting ready to release the next series of one of their premier publications: Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Death. So, back in October of 2018 you released the first book of what was then known as Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror. During that formative time, what made you decide to do an anthology and why Edgar Allen Poe?
TP: We wanted a recognizable face and name, and Poe won out for two reasons. 1) He’s dead, so he can’t complain about what we do. 2) He’s been dead a long time, so we don’t have to pay anyone to use him.
GVN: A sound, logical business plan. As a follow-up, why did you change the books title from Snifter of Terror to Snifter of Blood to now, Snifter of Death? Are you trying to tell us something?
TP: We keep changing to title because we want to start each series with #1. If that sells a few additional copies, it’s worth doing. When we did Snifter of Terror Volume 2, I was afraid that readers wouldn’t buy it because they would feel like they missed something in Volume 1. It’s an anthology, so you don’t have to read the last series to understand this one. So that led to the title changes. We want to keep pretending that we’re new so the readers understand they can just jump in.
Selecting the Stories
GVN: What goes into deciding the stories for the popular series? Do you solicit stories from your pantheon of talented creators and are there any guidelines they must follow, especially when working with a classic Poe tale?
TP: I used to have this thing against having more than one adaptation of a given Poe story, but I woke up one day and realized that’s ridiculous. If two different writers have two different takes on, say, “The Black Cat,” then we should see them both. It’s not like we’re doing straight adaptations. These are mostly comedies, sometimes mocking a Poe story itself, or using a Poe story to mock something else.
Sometimes writers send us pitches; sometimes we contact writers we like. I should say that the window for Poe pitches is closed right now, but we’re nearly always asking for the short stories, poems and such that we run in our back pages. You can find the submissions portal at comicsahoy.com/submissions.
GVN: Thanks, as always Tom. Ahoy remains a favorite of GeekVibesNation and we always look forward to your new titles.
TP: Thank you!
Now let’s talk about the most important meal of the day, The Monster Serials with Mark Russell.
GVN: Thanks again for giving us a little of your time Mark. So, in preparation for the first issue of the new volume, let’s talk a little about your continuing series in the now entitled, Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Death: “The Monster Serials” with Peter Snejbjerg. It is a clever series with all kinds of tie-ins to popular cereals of old. It’s like Dark Shadows meets Saturday morning commercials. What was the original inspiration for the series, and did you anticipate how popular it would become?
MR: I’m stealing that “Dark Shadows meets Saturday morning” description, by the way. The perfect elevator pitch. In my own less elegant way, I would describe it as familiar cereal mascots dropped into a sort of Game of Thrones-like fantasy universe. It originally started as a gag on Facebook, with me writing over-wrought conversations between Frankenberry and Count Chocula in this sort of fake Medieval patois. Unknown to me at the time, Marie Javins was reading them on Facebook and thought, “this guy should be writing a comic book”. It’s the reason DC offered me the chance to write Prez, my first comic book. So I suppose these monsters are directly responsible for the fact that I have a career in comics.
GVN: I’m always excited if ANYONE likes my words so I appreciate the mention. Part of the cool thing about the Monster Serials is that while they are chock full of fun cereal references, there is also some serious word craft at play in each installment. As you write a new chapter, do you have a specific audience that you are targeting and how do you decide which cereal related character to introduce and or spoof?
MR: When I’m writing, I never really consider the audience, which the people who hate my work might say is obvious. But really what I like to do is start with the characters. Think about who they are, what they would be like if they had to play for keeps and then I build the story out of how they collide into each other on their way to getting what they want.
GVN: With the popularity of the series, have you and Peter ever contemplated doing a stand-alone book or series of The Monster Serials?
MR: Yes. And that’s the plan.
GVN: Can’t say I’m not surprised. It is just crying for a complete series. Thanks, as always for sharing a bit of your time, Mark. Before I let you go, do you have anything new coming you want to share with our followers?
MR: I am happy to report that Second Coming has been approved for a third volume. And, not that DC or Marvel need me to do their promotion for them, but I have a Blackbolt one-shot coming out as part of Marvel’s Darkhold series and a new DC series with artist Steve Lieber called One-Star Squadron, which is about a bunch of B-list superheroes trying to make a living in the superhero gig economy
GVN: Really happy to hear about Second Coming. We will look forward to what you have coming and no doubt will be talking to you again in the future.
Ahoy Comics, Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Death, Issue 1 comes out on October 6th where all great comics are sold.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 18 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.