Edgar Allan Poe’s 212nd B-Day

Edgar Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809, the second child of English-born actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and actor David Poe Jr. He had an elder brother named William Henry Leonard Poe and a younger sister named Rosalie Poe. Their grandfather, David Poe Sr., emigrated from County Cavan, Ireland around 1750. Edgar may have been named after a character in William Shakespeare‘s King Lear, which the couple were performing in 1809. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died a year later from consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis). Poe was then taken into the home of John Allan, a successful merchant in Richmond, Virginia who dealt in a variety of goods, including cloth, wheat, tombstones, tobacco, and slaves. The Allans served as a foster family and gave him the name “Edgar Allan Poe”, though they never formally adopted him.


I came across Poe’s writings pretty young, before he was covered in high-school English. By the time we did, I was bouncing between Clark’s 2001: A Space Odyssey some random adventures of Conan the Barbarian. A tortured soul who created some iconic stories, images and characters. Take, for instance, The Raven, and its titular character. Poe wasn’t the first to cast that particular corvid in such a light, it has long been associated with death, and spy-craft. Still, Poe’s harbinger could also be one of Odin’s pair, Huginn and Muninn. Or consider the close relation ravens have to the mythical Tengu and the origins of Ninjitsu, as I explored in the following comic.

…and I’ll just skip mentioning their use in that “Dark Wings, Dark Words” show we all were once enamored with.