cover image House of Mystery, Vol. 1: Room & Boredom

House of Mystery, Vol. 1: Room & Boredom

Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges, . . DC/Vertigo, $9.99 (122pp) ISBN 978-1-4012-2079-2

A pirate, a poet, a bartender and a drama queen are trapped in a bar. No, that’s not a joke, that’s the classic DC horror anthology House of Mystery , newly brought back by Vertigo. House of Mystery has a history going back to 1951, but the reader needs no context to understand the book: people are trapped in a magical inn between worlds and tell weird tales and horror stories. The newest captive is Fig, an architecture student who was once the heroine of a set of children’s novels, and she immediately enters into a love/hate relationship with the house, talking to it like an old friend but trying desperately to escape. House of Mystery is the kind of creative, low-intensity horror that Vertigo made its name on. Rossi provides the vibrant, dynamic art for the framing story, while a succession of artists showcase their skills on the individual tales written by Willingham and Sturges. Sturges’s “Familiar” is particularly delightful, with Steve Rolston’s candy-colored art illustrating the tale of a fantasy-novel princess gone happily wrong, as she feeds her suitors to her adorable talking leopard and then goes roller-blading in the park. (Jan.)