Welcome to the House of Horror! This is our first bi-weekly event and it is a big one! We have 7 comics to read over the next two weeks and we are entering the New 52! First, we are going to explore Black Magic 1. After the quick detour, we are going down to enter the House of Mystery 290 to meet Andrew Bennett in his first appearance. After that, we are going to leap forward to the Rise of the Vampires! Closing out this week we will continue reading House of Mystery (2008) as we begin the second story arc.
There are a few new horror comics hitting comic store shelves this week! We might not be reading the books right away and some of them might even be discussed in other clubs upon release. Think of this as a preview of what might be lurking in the dark corners of House of Horror.
New Comics Released on 11/3
Stay tuned as we will be exploring the history of the New 52 Dark Universe.
Black Magic, hmm, never heard of that…wait, Jack Kirby wrote and drew this? Damn, now I’m excited!
I’ve read through the New 52 I, Vampire in the past, but I’m looking forward to revisiting it and looking at his original, erm, origins.
And of course, looking forward to continuing the trek through the Vertigo era of House of Mystery, especially since it seems to focus on the pirate lady who’s been a consistently cool supporting character so far.
On a serious note, even though this is published by DC in 1973 this is actually a reprint from the 1950 series from Prize Comics. That means, in theory, this is in the middle of his Marvel/Timely career Kirby which adds to the historic significance.
Black Magic 1 (DC) has stories featured from multiple Prize Comics books.
I’ve read New 52’s I, Vampire. To me the crowning achievement of New 52 was not on the strictly superhero side, but in trying out titles like this. So as not to cover old ground for me, I’m going to dig into the House of Mystery and see where it all started.
Oh definitely – I don’t hate on the New 52 era like some do (I feel like it honestly refreshed and reinvigorated a lot more than it harmed), but I think it’s absolutely fair to say that it really did the horror side of DC justice.
I think New 52 gave horror comics a fair chance. It was an interesting idea at the time. If I remember correctly, the idea was to give Justice League Dark an area to breathe. I will be going deeper into this era of horror comics. A little off-topic, New 52 also brought back Sgt. Rock among other characters that were long forgotten or not used for a younger generation.
Honestly, the idea for House of Horror was up against a New 52 club. My heart is closer to horror so that won but I was really close to scrapping the horror idea for New 52.
I have read Justice League Dark and I, Vampire 1-8. I do suggest reading I, Vampire 6 before the first book of the Rise of the Vampires book in the storyline collection. Honestly, I wasn’t too interested in I, Vampire when it was originally released. I was in vampire fatigue considering Twilight was recently unleashed upon the world shortly before this title’s release. Justice League Dark on the other hand, I was excited for at the time of its release but time and money was against its odds for my pull list. With all of that said, this was the first time I have read many of these books.
I, Vampire has great art work that flows with the story seamlessly. In many ways, this reminded of artwork from one of the many Punisher MAX series. It doesn’t feel like a DC book which in a way is refreshing. There is a Vertigo vibe but definitely not a DC vibe. The story is tragically touching. The way they introduced Justice League Dark into the I, Vampire story was interesting, with John Constantine making an appearance before JLD an issue or 2 later.
The story arc alternates between JLD and I, Vampire flawlessly. The differences in art are not jolting but there are differences. I, Vampire has a a darker vibe with heavier inks compared to the style of art on JLD. The story of Madame Xanadu and her gang of misfits trying to stop the vampire threat is solid. I am sure the few Gothamites that appear was used to sell books at the time but they never seemed out of place in the story. Using Cain as the big bad is great but that leaves me wondering what kind of villains I will see as I continue the two series.
So, with I Vampire I went back to the source material with House of Mystery. Happy to report that this is the same I Vampire, same basic setup and characters but done in the original '70s style. I would recommend reading the New 52 version first because it is such a good book you don’t want anything spoiled. But, after one story the original is also worth reading.
The backup stories were quick and fun. As a kid I learned a lot from comics about truthfulness and an expanded vocabulary. From the story about a murder in a cemetery I learned if you kill someone don’t go back and check on them. Just kill them and go away. Thanks for the lessons comics.
I read the entire I, Vampire series last night after work! Some moments were better than others but nothing about that book was horrible or even bad. I feel like that title would have lasted longer if Vertigo was around.
I do plan on reading the rest of the books in the coming days. Normally, I would read all of them on Sunday but since this is in a bi-weekly rotation I can let them sit for a little longer.
New 52 Dark: The Return of Horror Comics In DC Universe Part 1
After the events of Flashpoint, the DC Universe had a new landscape. Vertigo closed its doors and the continuity of many characters was restarted, including Superman. The birth of New 52 had comics in different categories, Superman, Batman, Justice League, The Edge, Young Justice, and The Dark. This entry the House of Horror read our first but will not be the last of The Dark titles.
I remember seeing this breakdown and was excited at the prospects of getting darker stories in the main DC Universe as those were typically found in Vertigo books. The downside is long-running titles like Hellblazer were shelved and then rebooted in the safety of New 52. Even with my own reservations, I can’t deny the power that New 52 had and I was hooked. Incidentally, I had recently returned to comic books after a few years of only reading whatever trades I had sitting on my shelves sporadically at best due to a 50+ hour work schedule. I was interested in what new stories this would bring and even more interested in the shake-ups.
In the above video Dan DiDio and Jim Lee gush about Batman and Justice League but what about Dark titles? Dan DiDio had an interview in June 2020, after he had left DC, and he mentioned lightly this.
The titles in The Dark were Animal Man, Swamp Thing, I, Vampire, Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Demon Knights, Resurrection Man, Dial H, The Phantom Stranger, and Constantine with Justice League Dark being the glue between Dark and the Justice League category and Sword of Sorcery often sited as being a Dark title but I feel like it is more in The Edge than The Dark. I should also mention DC Presents as it debuted with a Deadman story. This is a solid list of titles dealing with horror themes from a big comic publisher.
Animal Man and Swamp Thing busted the door open with rave reviews and the big crossover between the two was successful. Justice League Dark, while that was a success, was used to help I, Vampire with Rise of the Vampires. They even brought in Batman to help boost those sales.
In an interview with Jeff Lemire as Animal Man was about to be released or recently released:
IGN: I was glad to hear that Animal Man would be part of the Dark family of books, was that the plan from the start?
Lemire: Honestly, I don’t think so. I think it became part of that corner of the new DC Universe based on the pitch and ideas I presented to DC. I can’t say that for sure, but that is my feeling. I made it clear from my earliest conversations with editorial that I intended to write a progressive, dark, and mature comic with Animal Man.
I do wonder if this was the catalyst for the Dark category. Considering that Vertigo was no more, there was still an audience for dark and mature comics.
This is part one of an ongoing look at New 52 Dark titles and history. I am not sure when part 2 will happen but I think this is a good beginning.
Sorry to be so late with this. I’ve been really busy lately but I hope I can find the time now to participate more.
I haven’t yet read the Rise of the Vampires but I really enjoyed the stories in Black Magic #1 and House of Mystery #290. I really enjoyed Andrew Bennett’s introduction in HoM and my favorite story in Black Magic was The Head of the Family.
A little later than I was hoping for but I finished Black Magic 1, House of Mystery 290 and House of Mystery 6 (2008).
Black Magic 1 was excellent. The art work was phenomenal and the stories were great. I agree with @JasonTodd428, Head of the Family was the best story. One thing that struck me was that any of those stories passed the Comic Code.
House of Mystery 290 was great. I read the entire I, Vampire from the New 52. I was somewhat surprised by how close the New 52 version was with the original House of Mystery version. I also enjoyed all of the stories in this comic. The last story was kind of weird but the ending was great.
House of Mystery 6 was another solid entry into this series. I liked seeing Ann’s background but was even more interested in Harry’s crazy plan to leave the House of Mystery.
I will agree with you, sort of. By the time Jason Todd died the Comics Code was already loosening up. The stories we read in Black Magic were originally published in 1954. The code was a lot more strict during the 50s as it was still new. By the time Jason Todd died, we already had Frank Miller and Alan Moore on the scene for a few years giving us the dark new world of superheroes.