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Matthew Sturges – House of Mystery, Vol. 2: Love Stories for Dead People

November 5, 2010

131. House of Mystery, Vol. 2: Love Stories for Dead People by Matthew Sturges, Luca Rossi, José Marzán, Jr., Lee Loughridge, Todd Klein, Bill Willingham, Tony Akins, Andrew Pepoy, David Petersen, Henry Flint, Bernie Wrightson, Kyle Baker, Alex Wald (2009)
House of Mystery, Volume 2

Read my review of volume:
1. Room & Boredom

Length: 124 pages
Genre: Horror

Started: 21 October 2010
Finished: 21 October 2010

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I enjoyed the first volume, and need some more graphic novels to read.

Love blooms in lots of
strange places, like in the world’s
creepiest basement.

Summary: For most of its patrons, the House of Mystery is just a bar, a place where the clientele is varied and stories are the only valid form of currency. For those few people who are trapped in the House, unable to leave, it’s something substantially more terrifying. Harry, the barman and longest resident of the house, thinks that Bethany – the house’s newest occupant – has uncovered something with her doodling: a path to a door that leads out. But in order to get there, Harry, Bethany, and Ann the pirate queen will have to venture deep into the labyrinthine basement. And they all know that there are demons lurking in the dark… both the metaphorical, personal variety, as well as the more terrifyingly literal type.

Review: I’m still not very far into this series yet, but it’s exactly what I want volume 2 of a new comic book series to be: intriguing. I’m dying to know what’s really going on with the house, and with Bethany’s connection to it, and why certain people have to stay, and what determines when they’re allowed to leave, and all of the other mysteries promised by the title. Bits and pieces are being revealed the further I read, but I do feel like they could be coming a little faster – particularly with regards to the guy in the mask, and the Conception, since I’m not even sure I understand the parts of that we’ve seen, let alone managed to piece together any details about what’s really going on.

But I’m okay with the slower pace, at least for a while, because the stories that are padded around the clues are so interesting. I’m still enamored of the idea of using guest artists (and writers) to fill in the pages where one of the patrons is telling a story, and it lends the books a breadth of style and subject matter that they wouldn’t have if they were just focused on the house. The bulk of the book is horror – and pretty effectively done, too, particularly given that this style of gory gross-out monster-horror is not my usual cup of tea. But there are plenty of nods to other genres, and other stories, throughout.

Lovecraft said that the oldest and strongest type of fear is fear of the unknown. And he was an authority on such matters. But that’s not exactly it, is it? We like the unknown. We’re hunky dory with the unknown. We are in fact, perfectly thrilled with the unknown as long as it remains unknown and we never have to think about it.

What we’re really afraid of is that the unknown will stand up and demand to be recognized. That it won’t get out of the way quickly enough and we’ll step in it, all squishy and moist. We’re terrified at night in the dark that the rough, slouching unknown will crawl into bed and give us a hot wet kiss on the neck. We’re not afraid of the unknown. We’re afraid of the unknown becoming known. –p. 30

Oh, and for Sandman fans: This book’s got Goldie! (And Abel, too. But hooray, Goldie!) 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Same recommendation I made for the first volume: this series will appeal most to Sandman fans for sure, but also Fables or The Unwritten fans who want something a little (or a lot) darker and creepier.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: When I knew Ann Preston, the only love she spared was for the sea.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2010 4:39 am

    This series and I are definitely going to be friends :P

    • November 5, 2010 10:09 am

      Nymeth – I think so! At least, I hope so, because I always feel like a jerk when I make a recommendation to someone and it turns out to be way off base.

  2. November 5, 2010 7:25 am

    I must get my hands on this series. Yay!

    • November 5, 2010 10:10 am

      christina – It definitely doesn’t seem well-enough compared to the number of people that I think it will appeal to.

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