|This needs a stretch.|
The gang is hired by an Egar Allen Poe look-a-like to find a handwritten manuscript of Poe's famous poem, The Raven. The manuscript was stolen by what he believes is his rival bidder for the story. The gang investigates and nearly finds his story true but his rival, Mrs. Lenore is after the same thing that the gang is after, to find the missing manuscript. Velma figures it out that it was the Auctioneer who hid the manuscript in a picture on the wall after the auction so he could have it.
- The joke from Lewis Carroll that is alluded to in the story may be the unanswered riddle from the Mad Hatter: "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" A famous response is: "Poe wrote on both."
Today's continuity comic books can also benefit from research and history. Rurik Tyler provides this sense in the second mystery "Cravin' the Raven." While I disagree with his depiction of the gang, including Velma, being ignorant of Poe's works, his information about the author and his writings is accurate and up to date. The research provides more than information. It allows for astute and humorous observations from Shaggy and shows the reader how passionate the collector of the story is about Poe when contrasted to the mountebank in the tale who is merely interested in the value of the purloined object. Meanwhile, an unexplained joke--meaning you'll have to look it up for yourself--from Lewis Carroll plays an important part in the story.
Joe Staton I think is the artist who best depicts the Scooby and the Gang. He gives them vitality and an animated quality that often surpasses the cartoons. His artwork on this tale is no different. His design for the Poe character is reminiscent of the Poe look-alike in the classic Italian horror flick Castle of Blood. I'd be willing to wager the resemblance to such cinema was meant.
Scooby-Doo is more than just a lark. The stories are tightly written and depict recognizable characters that are intelligent and experienced in their art. The stories have no slap-dash qualities. These stories depict their roots both visually and in prose, and it is these qualities that make them more entertaining more often than not than the books for so-called mature readers.