Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Book of the Week 5/7/08 House of Mystery #1

Written by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham
Art by Luca Rossi and Ross Campbell
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Letters by Todd Klein

While Skrulls were busy taking over the Marvel U this week and DC was resting up before it's big summer push I decided to try a bunch of books which debuted this week. While almost every book was strong, I was most intrigued by House of Mystery #1. A reprise of an old anthology book, House of Mystery is a essentially a showcase book where each month short stories are told within the main narrative which includes a colorful cast of patrons that have turned the old house of mystery into a bar (which only a few people have ever been able to leave, kinda like a "hotel california" idea). Each month a different patron will be able to tell their own eff'd up story to other patrons which will be illustrated by various talented artists.

With all that being said, I really enjoyed this comic. Equal amounts of humor, gore, oddity, intrigue, mystery (duh), and fantasy, this book really felt like it had it all and went in places I didn't expect. At first I felt the book was all over the place but by the end understood how the style fit together and really enjoyed the format. Matthew Sturges focuses mainly on the patrons of the bar who lament about not being able to leave as well as a girl being chased by two ghostly figures who lead her to the house which has been haunting her dreams. Bill Willingham writes the central portion of the book, in this issue focusing on a girl who marries a fly...I told you it was odd. Willingham does well in this part as the middle serves as a small twisted tale which shows that the patrons of the bar are not quite what they seem.

The main artist, Luca Rossi does an excellent job of creating a dark and eerie environment in every area besides the bar. This makes the house/bar almost feel welcoming when it's bathed in Lee Loughridge's warm colors. This issue's guest artist Ross Campbell balances cute characters with disturbing environments and situations. Also, Campbell provides the most disturbing scene of the week with the oddest "childbirth" seen ever.

This book is truly entertaining and I'll gladly stick with it to see how the first run goes. This book feels right at home within the Vertigo universe and will hopefully not fade out in quality like others (Vinyl Underground). If anyone is a fan of the odd and disturbing, this is definitely worth checking out.

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