No. 197 – The Tell-Tale Heart

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! – tear up the planks! – here, here! – it is the beating of his hideous heart!” – Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart

The Beating Heart (progs 511512 (1987)) Judge Dredd story written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Steve Dillon (1962–2016) v Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809–1849) short story The Tell-Tale Heart (The Pioneer, 1843), here illustrated[1] by Berni Wrightson (1948–2017) from The Edgar Allan Poe Portfolio (self-published limited edition, 1976)

As well as playing a crucial role in the development of Romanticism in the United States with his tales of mystery, troubled author and poet Poe is also considered to be the inventor of detective fiction[2], specifically with his short stories The Murders in the Rue Morgue (Graham’s Magazine, 1841), The Mystery of Marie Rogêt (Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion, 1842) and The Purloined Letter (The Gift for 1845, 1844)[3], concerning the adventures of the extremely Sherlockian Parisian detective C. Auguste Dupin, as he relates them to his friend, the unnamed narrator of the stories. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle KStJ DL[4] (1859–1930) owed no small debt of gratitude.


  1. Experimenting with an impasto technique: painting with thick, broad strokes, using dark colours – primarily blacks and browns – and, when finished, varnished with a high gloss, making photographic reproduction extremely difficult, sorry
  2. Along with, perhaps, Wilkie Collins (1824–1889), author of The Moonstone (Tinsley Brothers, 1868), considered the first modern English detective novel
  3. The Gold Bug (Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper, 1843) also deserves a mention on the subject of Poe’s detective fiction, although it is not a C. August Dupin adventure
  4. Kinght of Justice of Order of Saint John; Deputy Lieutenant [to the Crown]