Showcase Presents The House of Mystery Vol. 2

showcase_presents_house_mystery_volume_2First Published: March 2007

Contents: The House of Mystery #195 (October 1971) to #211 (February 1973)

Key Creator Credits: Joe Orlando, Sergio Aragonés, Neal Adams, Nick Cardy, Bernie Wrightson, John Albano, E. Nelson Bridwell, and others

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents The House of Mystery Vol. 1

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents The House of Mystery Vol. 3

Overview: Welcome back to the House of Mystery? Much like the Hotel California – you can check out any time you want but you can never leave.

This anthology once again presents horror stories in black and white, which only adds to the creepiness of the tales. Any type of story is fair game for this format, and many of the stories are introduced by Cain, the caretaker of the House of Mystery. or issue #174, the book went back to

The earlier issues in this collection are larger issues, so you get 40+ pages of stories and features per issue. In the later issues in this collection, the page count drops down to the 20-25 pages per issue. There is no continuity between the stories, so these can be read in any order.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Read this for the art, as always. The stories vary in quality but that’s OK. I am more fascinated by the artwork page after page. So many talented artists that are given free reign to tell stories however they want to without having to abide by a style guide.

If you like this volume, try: Harrow County from Dark Horse Comics. Written by Cullen Bunn and art by Tyler Crook, this is a modern horror series that feels like it would fit right at home with the House of Mystery fans. The woods that surround Emmy’s home in Harrow County are filled with ghosts and monsters. But it’s not until Emmy’s eighteenth birthday that the ghosts and monsters introduce themselves to her, and she realizes that there is more to her life and her home than she ever realized. While the issues are being collected in trade paperbacks, some of the backup features are not included in the collections so you may want to track down the individual issues now. With a television series in development, you may want to grab up these back issues now.

Showcase Presents The House of Mystery Vol. 1

Showcase Presents The House of Mystery Vol. 1

First Published: February 2006

Contents: The House of Mystery #174 (May-June 1968) to #194 (September 1971)

Key Creator Credits: Joe Orlando, Sergio Aragonés, Neal Adams, Nick Cardy, Wally Wood, Bernie Wrightson, Alex Toth, Robert Kanigher, and others

Key First Appearances: Cain

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents The House of Mystery Vol. 2

Overview: Do you dare enter the House of Mystery? Take a journey into the supernatural, with stories of ghosts, demons, witches, and black magic.

For issue #174, the book went back to its true horror format (see Footnotes below). Industry veteran Joe Orlando was brought in from EC Comics to take over the editorial reigns of the book. The stories in this issue were all reprints, but new material was the focus in the following issues. The content took a darker tone, as Orlando introduced the EC-story style which was pushing the boundaries of the Comics Code Authority.

Beginning with issue #175, the comic is hosted by Cain, the caretaker of the house who introduces a lot of the stories. (Cain’s brother Abel was the host for The House of Secrets.) The stories range from 4-12 pages, so each issue has 4-5 features each month. The joke gets lost in a 500+-page trade collection, but each issue featured a comedy page by Sergio Aragonés on the dreaded Page 13.

There is no continuity between the stories, so these can be read in any order.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: This is an interesting read, one which impressed me more than I expected. While some of the stories are predictable, many more featured creative plots that kept me turning the pages. The art in his volume is spectacular, and the black & white format enhances these stories. Given the artistic talents in this volume, such as Neal Adams, Bernie Wrightson, and Sergio Aragonés, this is worthy of being showcased.

Footnotes: The House of Mystery was not always a home just for horror tales. In the issues prior to those collected in this Showcase Presents edition, The House of Mystery was a super-hero title, featuring the Martian Manhunter from issue #143 to #173 (reprinted in Showcase Presents Martian Manhunter Vol. 2), and Dial H for HERO from issue #156 to #173 (reprinted in Showcase Presents Dial H for HERO Vol. 1).

If you like this volume, try: the Solo 12-issue series from DC Comics from 2004. This was recently collected as a hardcover edition in 2013. Each issue spotlighted the art from a different artist, who was given the freedom to do whatever they wanted to do for an issue. With art from creators such as Tim Sale, Darwyn Cooke, and Paul Pope, this is a diverse title that gives you a sample of all aspects and eras of the DC Universe. My personal favorite came with issue #11, which featured art by Sergio Aragonés, whose first non-MAD Magazine art is collected in this Showcase Presents, Each issue was ad-free, so it was a full 32 pages of original work. This is a great volume to pick up and take to conventions to collect autographs from the artists.