The Adventures of the Three Narrators

If you have been following Ahoy Comic’s Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Blood this go around, you might have noticed a common theme. The books dedicated writers have fixated recently on Ser Arthur Conan Doyle’s mildly popular character Sherlock…somebody. Or to be more accurate, Mr. Poe seems to be fixated on him. In Issue 3, Writer Rachel Pollack explored Poe’s dogged (and drunken) defense of his literary Detective Monsieur Dupin vs Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes in The Mystery of Marie in writer Paul Cornell’s The Adventure of the Three Narrators.

The Games a “Mouth”

In this tale, the games a foot…or to be more accurate, the games a “mouth,” as we explore a crime that started as a possible murder but instead disintegrated into grand theft teeth. The story started with Mr. Poe explaining that not all his stories were his best work. But when that transpired, it proved to be helpful to split the narrative. Perhaps so the reader might forget who was responsible for the tale? So the narration continued with Holmes and Watson questioning a perspective witness/criminal about what transpired with his fiancée. It seems that our man in question had a fascination with one aspect of his true love and that would be her teeth. He suffered from a biscupid obsession. Not that I blame the man. She did have a lovely smile. However, things took a turn toward the weird when his lady love seemingly stopped living. I don’t know about you, but I hate when that happens.

Dental Homicide

While that unexpected death is unusual, it took a major swerve when the supposed victim was found very much alive, but minus her teeth. Naturally, the young lady was more than a little dismayed by the theft. In fact, she was pretty much pissed off about it. Which is more than can be said for her husband to be. He didn’t seem to be upset at all. At least not as much as having bad pipes set him off. Although he did bring in Holmes to help him get to the bottom of the mystery. Which mystery I’m not sure…the death that wasn’t or the pilfering of the poor woman’s  pearly whites.

Holmes chews on the Facts

For his part, Sherlock attempted to get to the bottom of things by looking at all aspects of the crime. No stone was left unturned, no bicuspid left unexamined. And while he pondered the man’s seeming indifference toward his beloved’s status, Miss Berenice had no doubt as to who the responsible party was. In fact, she made no secret to who the number one suspect should be, using one of her fingers to make her suspicions clear. She also expounded on her theory quite eloquently with: “Meffeer Ughher! Mew FFole Meef Ughing Teeeeff!” I don’t know about you, but that says it all!

As for Holmes, he seemed to believe that somehow Miss Berenice had faked her own death. All in a insidious scheme to frighten her poor fiancée to death to inherit his money. To that end, she had an accomplice remove her teeth. This flight of fancy was even more than his stalwart yes man Watson could fathom. Especially when the police showed up to arrest her fiancée. That can’t be right. But on the plus side, they had a souvenir…the poor woman’s teeth. But as the narrators involved tried to unravel the events, fortunately our man Poe decided that was the end.

Ms. Found in a Bottle

The next tale explores the battle that women in business have been embroiled in since they decided to enter the work place. No man wants to listen to them. This was especially true early on in the newspaper game. Women can’t write according to their male counterparts. Despite evidence to the contrary. Apparently, they find women beneath them. Even if they are a tiny woman in a bottle.

It is 1833 in the offices of the Sunday Visitor. The “Dunderheads Literary Circle” meeting is in full force. Together the slightly inebriated men of the press are lamenting or celebrating the end of the written word. New forms of literature will hold sway, including as Miss Peabody exclaims: “Popular Scientific Romances written by women writers.” Preposterous! But before he could go on with his thrice daily swill, the men notice a disturbance outside. They walk out to find the streets filling with water. As they ponder the cause of this, they find a bottle floating in the rising deluge. Inside, is a small woman.

Ms. Seaborn Tells Her Tale

They return inside and one of them immediately remove their wet shoes. Mr. Hewitt, asks the lone female in the room (Miss Peabody) to fetch him a drink and to dry his shoes. Well, the lone female other than our mysterious woman in a bottle. For her part, she demands that the men help her out of the bottle. They flippantly dismiss her request asking who she is. Ms. Torchy Seaborn is the reply. This title is ridiculed by the man saying that a woman is either Miss or a Missus…or perhaps an actress. Anything other than that is put “on the shelf next to the mustard tins and the starch.” He looks to Miss Peabody for confirmation but she just nods and accepts what he says. Although the look on her face says otherwise. As for Ms. Seaborn, she has another idea.

As the man’s whiskey glass comes near the neck of her bottle, she shoots it with the pistol she carries with her. So now that she has his undivided attention, she regales them with her story. She had been on a modern sea going vessel, following the path of a previous expedition. She thought there might be a story to tell. Perhaps even a Pulitzer Prize to be had. But tragedy struck. They ran into a Simoon (Sorry which is like a Typhoon with sand instead of water). With the driving sand, it could tear the flesh off a man. Which is what it did. Only she and the cameraman Olaf survived the onslaught.

The Black Galleon

So as they were hunkered down, their ship proceeded on its own accord until it crashed into a wooden ship, The Black Galleon. It should have been torn apart by their more modern metal ship, but instead their ship took the most damage and they barely escaped with their lives onto the Galleon. The boat was extremely massive. So much so that the survivors moved about as insects on the ships floor. During their exploration they discovered many amazing things. Strange navigational instruments and maps of all kinds. Nothing made sense. As Ms. Seaborn continued, her host Mr. Hewitt questioned whether the Galleon had any supernatural inhabitants. Meanwhile outside, the water continued to rise.

The bottled woman explained there were all matter of ghostly pirate apparitions that her and Olaf did their best to battle. As this happened, the Galleon continued inexorably South, encountering things more strange than anyone has ever seen. But as  the vessel came close to the South Pole, it seemed to expand and grow larger. It’s timber’s expanding making an ear splitting racket. Then, as the ship reached the pole, the ship was sucked into a vortex. As the ship spiraled to its apparent doom, Olaf punched her, forcing her into the bottle. He knew that he himself would not fit and he realized that she would never willingly leave him behind.

Failure to Listen

It was a this point that Hewitt interjected, claiming her story was unbelievable and obviously a hoax perpetrated by another paper meant to somehow make the Sunday Visitor look bad. The fact that he was talking to a tiny woman in a bottle carried no weight. What it really conveyed was that if the story came from a woman, even an impossibly small one) it was not to be believed. No matter how fantastic and the evidence presented. By now, Miss Peabody had heard enough. She kindly told Hewitt to please SHUT UP! She grabbed the bottle from him and explained his problem was he just didn’t LISTEN! In fact, he was just a “big WORD bully!”

By now, the water had invaded the Visitor office and should have been driving its inhabitants out. Miss  Peabody left with the bottle, asking Ms. Seaborn to continue her tale. Meanwhile, Mr. Hewitt accused her of mutiny as he complained about who was going to dry his shoes. Showing great restraint in not telling the man where he could PUT his shoes, Miss Peabody went to the highest part of the building to work on the story Ms. Seaborn laid out. At least SOMEONE was going to get this big story. It also might prove that men won’t even listen to their liquor bottle, if a WOMAN is in it.

Thoughts

The Adventure of the Three Narrators was a hilarious mix of Poe macabre with some great comedic dialogue. Writer Paul Cornell obviously had a great time poking fun at Sherlock and Watson. Not only did he get in a dig at Holmes iconic hat selection but he also skewered the great Detective’s method of wanting every detail of a crime. At least until his witness actually gave him what he asked for. As for Watson, he was more interested in talking about his plethora of wives. And how that made him MUCH more likely to understand what was going on in this case than Holmes.

 

As for our poor victim, never has anyone made their feelings more clear without being to annunciate their words. How the Great Sherlock somehow interpreted the case into a plot by Berenice was a piece of logic legerdemain that even Ser Conan Doyle wouldn’t have attempted. Overall, an extremely clever and fun tale wonderfully drawn by Greg Scott and Colored by Felipe Sobriero. Their combined work captures the somber tones of a murder mystery of old, while still embracing some of the whimsical nature of Cornell’s dialogue. One of my favorites of this season’s good works.

Chauvinism is flooding the Place

Writer Kek-W’s Ms. Found in a Bottle is a another excellent tale, exploring the predilection of men, especially back in the day, to assume that a woman has nothing of value to contribute. Actually, it still is happens today, now that I think about it.

As far as the male writers who frequent the aptly named, “Dunderheads Literary Circle,” women are only good for fetching things for them and hanging their shoes up to dry. It is inconceivable that a woman might have a story to tell or heaven forbid, actually WRITE one. Much to the chagrin of the long suffering Miss Peabody.

Your Tale Doesn’t Hold Water

Even when presented with an incredible story of mystery and the discovery of a “small eye witness. Their first reaction is that it is a preposterous story that is obviously the work of another male ran publication trying to fool them. Although, perhaps it says something when as the office floods, the men’s first thought is to save the liquor bottles and not the books.

The tale is supported by the talented duo of artist Alberto Ponticelli and Colorist Madeline Seely who bring the tale to life with line and color. Ponticelli captures the seagoing adventures of Ms. Seaborn as well as the ladies incredulous looks at the “Dunderheads” amongst them with equal verve. All and all two strong stories in what has been an entertaining anthology.

Ahoy Comic’s Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Blood#5 can be found where all great comics are sold.

 

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