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Matthew Sturges, writer of the Eisner-nominated Jack of Fables , and his Jack co-writer Bill Willingham ( Fables ), proudly unlock the doors to the House of Mystery , a series that reinvents a classic DC Comics comic. House of Mystery focuses on five characters trapped in a supernatural bar, trying to solve the mystery of how and why they're imprisoned ther Matthew Sturges, writer of the Eisner-nominated Jack of Fables , and his Jack co-writer Bill Willingham ( Fables ), proudly unlock the doors to the House of Mystery , a series that reinvents a classic DC Comics comic. House of Mystery focuses on five characters trapped in a supernatural bar, trying to solve the mystery of how and why they're imprisoned there. Each one has a terrible past they'd like to forget, and with no books, newspapers or TV allowed in the House, they face an eternity of boredom. But stories become the new currency, and fortunately, the House attracts only the finest storytellers. Collecting: House of Mystery 1-5


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Matthew Sturges, writer of the Eisner-nominated Jack of Fables , and his Jack co-writer Bill Willingham ( Fables ), proudly unlock the doors to the House of Mystery , a series that reinvents a classic DC Comics comic. House of Mystery focuses on five characters trapped in a supernatural bar, trying to solve the mystery of how and why they're imprisoned ther Matthew Sturges, writer of the Eisner-nominated Jack of Fables , and his Jack co-writer Bill Willingham ( Fables ), proudly unlock the doors to the House of Mystery , a series that reinvents a classic DC Comics comic. House of Mystery focuses on five characters trapped in a supernatural bar, trying to solve the mystery of how and why they're imprisoned there. Each one has a terrible past they'd like to forget, and with no books, newspapers or TV allowed in the House, they face an eternity of boredom. But stories become the new currency, and fortunately, the House attracts only the finest storytellers. Collecting: House of Mystery 1-5

30 review for House of Mystery, Volume 1: Room and Boredom

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    More of a 3.5 stars. So far so good. It was nice to see a bit of Cain and Abel and know what I was heading into, but what really kept me reading was the frame, if not the internal stories as much. I think I prefer all the "simple" stories that have a lot more interesting things going on in the frames best. Very tongue-in-cheek. So far, it isn't brilliant or anything, but I will stay the course to see where it eventually leads. I can't dislike a story about stories, after all, I am a big fan of th More of a 3.5 stars. So far so good. It was nice to see a bit of Cain and Abel and know what I was heading into, but what really kept me reading was the frame, if not the internal stories as much. I think I prefer all the "simple" stories that have a lot more interesting things going on in the frames best. Very tongue-in-cheek. So far, it isn't brilliant or anything, but I will stay the course to see where it eventually leads. I can't dislike a story about stories, after all, I am a big fan of the style, be it The Arabian Nights or Sandman. I hope there's more arc and less episodic things going on, though.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    I picked up House of Mystery because it was recommended to people who enjoyed Fables, and I can see the appeal. The concept is one of almost existential horror. Five people end up in a strange house, and they cannot leave its grounds. Essentially, they are trapped in a nightmare they can't wake up from. I have had those dreams where I can never get where I'm supposed to go, no matter how many diversions in direction I make. Finally I wake up out of sheer frustration and the futility of the effor I picked up House of Mystery because it was recommended to people who enjoyed Fables, and I can see the appeal. The concept is one of almost existential horror. Five people end up in a strange house, and they cannot leave its grounds. Essentially, they are trapped in a nightmare they can't wake up from. I have had those dreams where I can never get where I'm supposed to go, no matter how many diversions in direction I make. Finally I wake up out of sheer frustration and the futility of the effort. I liken the feeling of this to how the characters must have felt (or still do). Inside the house is a bar where all sorts of beings (many not remotely human) can enter and drink and eat, and they can leave. They pay for their drinks by telling a story of their choice. The drama of this piece is processing the stories of the visitors, and learning why the five characters ended up in the house. The newbie is Fig, and she has a very strange connection to the house. She designed it, in fact. A house of her dreams that she was told by her professor didn't make sense. Yet here it is. Despite the fact, she wants out of the house. She'll learn that she's not alone, but the other four have accepted the fact that they won't be leaving the house anytime soon. The House of Mystery is a cleverly constructed creation in which this strange house and its trapped denizens set the framework for the explication of other stories, told by the visitors to the bar within the house. The stories are varied in tone. One in particular was very gruesome, bringing back memories of dealing with such a situation in real-life veterinary practice. Another takes a very different look at fairy tale princesses and their search for their true love prince--a jaundiced one at that. One is about a mafia assassin who gets the best of his would-be murderers. It's hard to pin these into one genre except by calling the sum total speculative fiction. The artwork conveys much in each story, and about the house and the five people who are trapped within it. This is one of those graphic novels where I trained my eye to examine everything in the picture, so I didn't miss anything important to the story. I liked that different drawing styles and inking/coloration, and lettering techniques are used in each story to convey a narrator change and also the distinct tone of each story. It's hard to say exactly how I feel about this overall. 'Like' isn't the right word. Let's say I appreciate it for what it is, thus the four star rating. While not all the stories were to my personal taste, I was left with an overall positive feeling towards this graphic novel, and my interest has been perked in continuing this series.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Chung

    3.5 stars. This was definitely a strange and interesting first volume. Room &Boredom is about a girl named Fig and the House of Mystery. Fig is a college student studying to be an architect. She has a gift...she's able to communicate with houses. One day she wakes up to a man and a woman (ghosts?), not sure what they are, but they are after her. Fig escapes and finds herself in the House of Mystery along with a dozen other characters. Fig walks into a bar and meets its tenants. Harry the bartende 3.5 stars. This was definitely a strange and interesting first volume. Room &Boredom is about a girl named Fig and the House of Mystery. Fig is a college student studying to be an architect. She has a gift...she's able to communicate with houses. One day she wakes up to a man and a woman (ghosts?), not sure what they are, but they are after her. Fig escapes and finds herself in the House of Mystery along with a dozen other characters. Fig walks into a bar and meets its tenants. Harry the bartender, Cress the drama Queen, Poet and the Pirate lady. They all say they've been stuck here forever and she will be too. Why not take a seat and tell a story. The ending was mediocre. I didn't fully understand it. Volume one didnt explain who the ghost duo was or the masked gentlemen with the stagecoach. Maybe it will be in volume two...which I'll be reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John Kirk

    There are two parts to this book (and presumably the whole series): the framing sequence and the short stories. The framing sequence is interesting, and I liked the joke about "scaling a fish". The short stories are a bit of a mixed bag; I didn't really like them much on their own merits, and they don't add anything to the framing sequence. By contrast, The Sandman, Vol. 8: Worlds' End has a similar premise and I think it works much better there. I've read some reprints of the original House of M There are two parts to this book (and presumably the whole series): the framing sequence and the short stories. The framing sequence is interesting, and I liked the joke about "scaling a fish". The short stories are a bit of a mixed bag; I didn't really like them much on their own merits, and they don't add anything to the framing sequence. By contrast, The Sandman, Vol. 8: Worlds' End has a similar premise and I think it works much better there. I've read some reprints of the original House of Mystery series, e.g. Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery, Vol. 1, and I think the stories were very well drawn but poorly written. Compared to that, I think the modern relaunch has better writing and weaker art. I first read this book a few years ago, and I wasn't sufficiently keen on it to buy any more (because they'd clutter up my flat). However, the issues are now being released digitally, so I'll buy some future arcs that way and see how I get on.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Seizure Romero

    Upon finishing this first volume I freely admit I have no idea what the hell is going on, kinda like the people trapped in the House. The art is good and the short stories are interesting-- although, "The Hollows" was icky, icky, gross & disgusting (big problem with the graphic part of graphic novels is that you can't un-see that $#!+). "Jordan's Tale" mostly makes up for the aforementioned icky-ness (and earns the fourth star) through the brilliant juxtaposition of a slacker's bland narration o Upon finishing this first volume I freely admit I have no idea what the hell is going on, kinda like the people trapped in the House. The art is good and the short stories are interesting-- although, "The Hollows" was icky, icky, gross & disgusting (big problem with the graphic part of graphic novels is that you can't un-see that $#!+). "Jordan's Tale" mostly makes up for the aforementioned icky-ness (and earns the fourth star) through the brilliant juxtaposition of a slacker's bland narration of running late one morning with the visuals of what most of us would consider a rather spectacularly unusual day (combating elder gods, giant insects, etc.). Actual quote: "AAAGH!!! VAMPIRE CATS!" Obviously the beginning of a series as pretty much nothing gets resolved in this volume.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Titas (I read in bed)

    When VERTIGO publishes fantasy you know it's serious. Take numerous fantastic artists, pair them up with prodigious comics writers, form a total collage of stories, grant them total freedom to explore adult horror and fantasy without any hesitation - how can anything be more perfect?!?! A house, a house of fantasy. You're welcome if you can find. Have a nice time and pay with a story. Perfect right?! Horror - check, fantasy - check, gorgeous art - check, backdrop story arc - check. Will you just read When VERTIGO publishes fantasy you know it's serious. Take numerous fantastic artists, pair them up with prodigious comics writers, form a total collage of stories, grant them total freedom to explore adult horror and fantasy without any hesitation - how can anything be more perfect?!?! A house, a house of fantasy. You're welcome if you can find. Have a nice time and pay with a story. Perfect right?! Horror - check, fantasy - check, gorgeous art - check, backdrop story arc - check. Will you just read the book now?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    It's so refreshing to love something just as much the second time around :) I think I actually enjoyed this more this time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Ooh this series is off to a promising start!

  9. 4 out of 5

    The Flooze

    House of Mystery: Room & Boredom is a bizarre graphic novel. The central wrap-around story is of the House itself and its new occupant, Fig. This is easily the most intriguing aspect of the book, as the seemingly sentient building twists itself to some unknown purpose. Along the way, we learn more about Fig - her past and her present - while also getting glimpses of the customers in the bar downstairs. The rules of the house: each person must pay his tab by sharing entertaining anecdotes with hi House of Mystery: Room & Boredom is a bizarre graphic novel. The central wrap-around story is of the House itself and its new occupant, Fig. This is easily the most intriguing aspect of the book, as the seemingly sentient building twists itself to some unknown purpose. Along the way, we learn more about Fig - her past and her present - while also getting glimpses of the customers in the bar downstairs. The rules of the house: each person must pay his tab by sharing entertaining anecdotes with his fellow drinkers. Although penned by several different writers, the vehicle of storytelling patrons creates a continuity to the tales. Most of them are unremarkable when relying on the text alone, but the accompanying artwork elevates the stories from the mundane to the astonishing. My particular favorite is that of an NYU film student who works in “pest control.” A boring story indeed, until the frames reveal what he fails to mention: man-eating spiders, vampire cats, and zombie panhandlers. He could easily have the house in raptures, but a good story is all in the details. While I’m generally turned off by GNs that feature constantly-changing artwork, here it fits. Different styles of coloring/linework mark the changes in landscape, making it easy to differentiate between the central story and the asides. House of Mystery includes a little bit of everything. There’s jealousy and longing, adventure and despair, gore and amusement - something to suit a variety of sensibilities. Although we get some answers, it still leaves much to be explored in future volumes. I think this is going to be a tricksy sort of series, where nothing is as it seems and resolutions will be hard to come by. It’s a strange, well-executed set-up that promises a lot of weirdness to come.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    I wanted to like this graphic novel, and it had some high points -- the art, in particular, is rather good, including the transition to other artists for the stories-within-the-story. However, I didn't find it that exciting, nor original, and the characters felt flat to me. Not much actually happens, and the threats/conflicts are vague and mysterious, and don't directly affect the characters much. The framing story is rather derivative, and the most obvious precursor would be the Sandman collectio I wanted to like this graphic novel, and it had some high points -- the art, in particular, is rather good, including the transition to other artists for the stories-within-the-story. However, I didn't find it that exciting, nor original, and the characters felt flat to me. Not much actually happens, and the threats/conflicts are vague and mysterious, and don't directly affect the characters much. The framing story is rather derivative, and the most obvious precursor would be the Sandman collection "World's End". I'd like this better if it was a true continuation of that story, rather than a knock-off. And I just couldn't care about any of the characters. I get that they're trapped in this house and feel bored, frustrated, jaded, whatever... I just didn't care. There's an interesting hint that perhaps the characters have chosen, or accepted, their imprisonment in the house, but it's not well developed nor followed up on. Perhaps future volumes cover this in more detail, but I shouldn't have to wait that long for a good hook. Lastly, I have to call this book out for lack of diversity. Supposedly this house pulls in people from various worlds and dimensions, but, come on, all I see is a sea of Caucasian characters. I guess the House of Mystery just really likes white people? Sheesh.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Ideiosepius

    2020 update; I have just boosted this book to four stars because I keep coming back to it and re-reading it. Sadly, I have never found the rest of the series and have not completed the story but I have made my peace with it. In a way, that may not be a bad thing as by now I have really bonded with Fig, and I gather she is replaced in the next book and that would annoy me. I do really like the stories and the artwork complements them very well indeed. The characters are surprisingly strong, they 2020 update; I have just boosted this book to four stars because I keep coming back to it and re-reading it. Sadly, I have never found the rest of the series and have not completed the story but I have made my peace with it. In a way, that may not be a bad thing as by now I have really bonded with Fig, and I gather she is replaced in the next book and that would annoy me. I do really like the stories and the artwork complements them very well indeed. The characters are surprisingly strong, they are vivid while reading and stay with me between readings. 2016. As a concept, I found this trade paperback quite interesting with a nice overall story arc. I was really not impressed however that the beginning of the Trade began a story arc that was not completed by the end of the trade. While I would not normally spoiler this type of story on this one I will (view spoiler)[ At the beginning the house of Mystery is stolen from Cain in the dreamtime, and by the end it has not been returned, we do not know why or by whom it was stolen. Majorly unimpressed! (hide spoiler)] I am one of those people who gravitated to House of Mystery because there was no more Sandman ( and I am still a bit in mourning over that) but this story does not lean too heavily on characters or concepts from the Sandman. The exception is the house itself, in this story it has become something like the wayhouses of the Sandman stories only here there is a twist; some people come and then leave, some people can never leave (do you have 'Hotel California' playing in your mind now?). Those people who come and go like you would at a pub pay their way with stories at the bar, and the stories themselves are interesting and quite beautifully drawn. I like the changing art styles and how that works in context of this graphic novel. The newest inhabitant of the house is Fig, who had her house exploded behind her by mysterious characters whom she was fleeing when she stumbled into the House of Mystery and joined the dysfunctional little family of people trapped there. But Fig is determined not to stay trapped... While I did enjoy it, I am giving it a measly three stars because I was really, really annoyed at the story arc not completing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    colleen the convivial curmudgeon

    This was one of the books that, while browsing through Amazon, I saw the cover and thought "that looks cool", which lead me to read the summary to which I thought "hmmm, interesting", and then I found out it was co-written by Bill Willingham, of Fables, which I *love*, so then it was an "I *have* to get this." All I can say is I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the stories, both the overall story and the vignettes - and I love the "cameo" by Cain and Able and the notion that this is the House from This was one of the books that, while browsing through Amazon, I saw the cover and thought "that looks cool", which lead me to read the summary to which I thought "hmmm, interesting", and then I found out it was co-written by Bill Willingham, of Fables, which I *love*, so then it was an "I *have* to get this." All I can say is I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the stories, both the overall story and the vignettes - and I love the "cameo" by Cain and Able and the notion that this is the House from the Dreaming. The characters seem like they could be interesting, and I hope that we see them get fleshed out more. The art by Rossi is always a pleasure, and some of the "guest artists" were quite nice, too. I was, in turns, amused, and disgusted, and intrigued... and I anxiously await the next volume. My only quibble was that, at times, the characters seemed a little too familiar, like rehashes of characters we've seen before, and there is the danger in my mind that they will remain pastiches. I look forward to see how the Mystery unfolds.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    I actually really liked this one. A lot of people correctly point out it's very similar to The Sandman, Vol. 8: Worlds' End. Stepping outside of that, the overall narrative tying all the stories together is a mysterious plot about a girl who can talk to houses. I liked the individual stories quite a bit because they really harnessed the power of the graphic novel medium - the text itself was very benign, but the graphics gave a completely and unexpected twist to the words. Very well done, althou I actually really liked this one. A lot of people correctly point out it's very similar to The Sandman, Vol. 8: Worlds' End. Stepping outside of that, the overall narrative tying all the stories together is a mysterious plot about a girl who can talk to houses. I liked the individual stories quite a bit because they really harnessed the power of the graphic novel medium - the text itself was very benign, but the graphics gave a completely and unexpected twist to the words. Very well done, although right now the parts might be greater than the whole. We'll see, I have the remaining 6 volumes from the library and hopefully it will become more clear what's going on as I keep reading.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mauoijenn

    This series of graphic novel's are starting out good. Nothing like FABLES. Of, course. I will keep my eye out for the next one.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    So I read the entirety of House of Mystery over the past couple days for a specific reason -- of the new Sandman Universe #1 titles previewed this week, the main one I'm actually interested in is House of Whispers, and since it doesn't exist yet I figured I'd go back and read the two (sort of) companion titles. Truthfully, I didn't even know a House of Secrets Vertigo series existed until I googled it and said "Oh I immediately must own this and eat it," so that one's currently in the mail. How So I read the entirety of House of Mystery over the past couple days for a specific reason -- of the new Sandman Universe #1 titles previewed this week, the main one I'm actually interested in is House of Whispers, and since it doesn't exist yet I figured I'd go back and read the two (sort of) companion titles. Truthfully, I didn't even know a House of Secrets Vertigo series existed until I googled it and said "Oh I immediately must own this and eat it," so that one's currently in the mail. However, I did know there was a House of Mystery series -- I just never thought it looked any good. But I'm on summer break and pretty depressed and reading eases that, so I just sort of blasted through the e-versions of this series. There's no omnibus collection for me to leave one big comment on, so I'm just going to cover everything here and leave it at that. House of Mystery isn't very good. I mean, but I also don't think Fables is good, so if you liked Fables then maybe don't listen to me, as there's some crossover between both the creative team and the general aesthetic. But for my money, most of the folks who got hired in the 90's and 00's to carry on the emo-fantasy vibe Neil Gaiman began with Sandman did a pretty middling job -- I don't love a lot of Gaiman's work, but goddamn it takes a delicate touch to write fantasy that doesn't just sound like a transcription of a D&D session. So House of Mystery, like a lot of Vertigo fantasy titles, feels a little stilted and self-aware and pseudo-literary, and this is complicated by the fact that its ongoing narrative device is that there's a nested short story inside the ongoing story in every issue. To be honest, as a basic approach I like this idea very much -- the old EC House of Mystery series was an anthology title, and this is a really smart way to pay homage. It's just not that interesting in practice -- almost none of the short stories really work, and the ongoing storyline just usually feels slow-paced and diluted by their constant intrusions. But the basic premise of the book is that the signature House is a waystation between worlds where travelers come for a drink and pay their tab by telling stories. The main characters of the larger series are a swath of humans and magical entities who alternately trying to escape, possess, or destroy the House. Despite the random collection of multi-demensional whatsits at play, the book basically feels like a WB show -- everyone is young and attractive and vacuous and so, so white. Their various motivations are either explained in gratuitous info-dumps, or not at all (BECAUSE IT'S A MYSTEREEEE, you can practically hear the creators screaming anxiously from the sidelines), and reading the lettercols for the last round of issues is basically just a wall of readers saying "what even is happening in this book anymore?" and the editors saying "uh we don't know either" and the writer saying "Look I'm trying but writing, it turns out, is hard." The book has a soft reboot about halfway through, and if a person didn't really care too much about continuity but just wanted to see the best version of what the series was attempting to do, I'd probably suggest just skipping to Vol 5: Under New Management. They get some really solid guest artists to do the short stories for a little while, and it's a genuinely pleasurable journey without too much of the metatextual infosplaining that the book eventually drowns itself in. I mean, but the real thing of it is that this book lasted for 42 issues, which is totally nuts, and everyone on the creative team seemed to at least have had a pretty emotional experience making it (even if it seems like they all acknowledge that they ended up missing the mark). And I hate that simplistic argument against media criticism that basically goes "Don't like this thing? Why don't YOU try making it?" because at its root it's this weird idea that objectivity and subjectivity somehow cancel each other out or something, BUT.... at the end of the day House of Mystery, like, exists despite conceptually never really getting off the ground. I mean, the fact that it exists is literally just about all I can say about it, because otherwise it's pretty zero-sum. But yeah, it'll sit on a shelf all right, and at the end of the day if it were me, I guess I'd be happy about that.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Phil Fillinger

    Consider this a review of the series, not just this book, as I consider the entire collection to be solid from start to finish. The basic concept here is that people come to the House of Mystery, for one reason or another, and are required to tell fantastic stories to earn their keep. That alone is a cool way to handle an anthology - think campfire stories. Beyond that there is an actual over arching storyline that follows Figs journey out of the house. Both of these plots always seem engaging a Consider this a review of the series, not just this book, as I consider the entire collection to be solid from start to finish. The basic concept here is that people come to the House of Mystery, for one reason or another, and are required to tell fantastic stories to earn their keep. That alone is a cool way to handle an anthology - think campfire stories. Beyond that there is an actual over arching storyline that follows Figs journey out of the house. Both of these plots always seem engaging and unique, all while not coming off as too scatterbrained, as I feel many anthologies do. Holding off on a 5 star rating because while some of the characters are interesting but some are done, the over arching story could have been wrapped up faster, and the mini stories range from really strong to very weak. Great read for horror / mystery fans, or fans of The Sandman looking to dive deeper into that world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Reg Mars

    Overall I think this is an interesting concept but I really don't care enough about the story to continue on with it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I didn't think I was crazy about the artwork at first, but it really goes well with the atmosphere and vibe of the story. You're brought right into the mystery of this house, where "the walls are starting to talk" takes on a whole new meaning. Fig, the main character is feisty and the book has some dark humor in there that I always love. The characters are interesting and keep you pulled in, even if some of their personal stories are a little...well, a lot strange. The fly thing was a trip I was I didn't think I was crazy about the artwork at first, but it really goes well with the atmosphere and vibe of the story. You're brought right into the mystery of this house, where "the walls are starting to talk" takes on a whole new meaning. Fig, the main character is feisty and the book has some dark humor in there that I always love. The characters are interesting and keep you pulled in, even if some of their personal stories are a little...well, a lot strange. The fly thing was a trip I wasn't ready to go on, haha. The thing is, these characters are stuck at this house with seemingly no chance of leaving. Only one has left before and no one really knows what happened to her, so the mystery of this house has definitely got me going and I REALLY wished I'd ordered volume 2 faster.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    A very good, intriguing start to what I hope is a solid mystery series that actually pays off. The setup is a little strange, with each issue spending most of its time focused on the larger story arc at play in the series, with a short, 4- or 5-page story in the middle that ultimately has nothing to do with the rest of the book and feels a little disruptive. These stories seem to be an homage to the original House of Mystery series that ran from 1951-1983, but they're jammed in so tightly and we A very good, intriguing start to what I hope is a solid mystery series that actually pays off. The setup is a little strange, with each issue spending most of its time focused on the larger story arc at play in the series, with a short, 4- or 5-page story in the middle that ultimately has nothing to do with the rest of the book and feels a little disruptive. These stories seem to be an homage to the original House of Mystery series that ran from 1951-1983, but they're jammed in so tightly and weirdly that I would almost rather do without them. That said, a few of the shorts are pretty interesting and well-executed. A couple of them use very straightforward, borderline bland text, with the art interpreting the stories in an incredibly heightened way, that really pays off and does something unique. The rest are pretty run-of-the-mill Twilight Zone-y tales that I'd almost rather skip. The good thing is, even if you hate the stories, they don't take up much time, and the central storyline is far more interesting. A woman, Fig, suddenly finds herself in the House of Mystery after being chased through the streets by a creepy-ass, faceless ghost couple (or something). The House sits at some location on the edge of The Dreaming (made evident by an opening scene featuring Cain & Abel, who Sandman readers will remember as Dreaming residents, and the respective caretakers of the Houses of Mystery & Secrets), and people who are forced into it are unable to leave. However, other patrons stop by the House's bar, which they are able to enter and leave at will, which further begs the question: how come some people can leave and others can't? This question is not answered in this volume, but the creepiness of just winding up in a mysterious dream house that you can't leave is enough to keep me invested (as long as this thing doesn't pull a Lost "questions are more interesting than answers so we will never answer any questions" on me). The standard-but-competent art supplements the story well, bringing life to the weirdo house and its environs. This volume does feel like an overture of sorts, without any huge forward movement, but as far as setup volumes go, this one really delivers. I very much hope this series stays on point, because I'm into it for now.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I loved this book. Pretty much every aspect of it appealed to me. I like the setup: one main continuing storyline with continuing characters, which is periodically interrupted by other shorter stories told by the characters, which are illustrated by different artists. I like the main story: a group of interesting and very different people are trapped in a somewhat sentient house at a crossroads between many worlds--although other people from those various worlds are free to come and go (and shar I loved this book. Pretty much every aspect of it appealed to me. I like the setup: one main continuing storyline with continuing characters, which is periodically interrupted by other shorter stories told by the characters, which are illustrated by different artists. I like the main story: a group of interesting and very different people are trapped in a somewhat sentient house at a crossroads between many worlds--although other people from those various worlds are free to come and go (and share their stories)--and they're trying to figure out why they're trapped and how to get out. I like the writing, the dialogue, and the humor. I like the art for the main story. I like the fact that the art is different for the side stories. I really love a lot of the side stories. As I said, I like pretty much everything. What I loved in particular in this volume was: the look of the creepy couple chasing Fig, the interesting way in which some of the stories were told where the art tells a kind of different story from the narration, what we could see of the House, and of course Jordan's story at the end, which had me laughing out loud in the bookstore ("&*@%ing VAMPIRE cats!"). But really, as I said, I loved the whole thing, and I know I'll read this again and again and force my friends to also read it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Orrin Grey

    I was really excited about the relaunch of House of Mystery, not least because of the involvement of Matt Sturges and Bill Willingham (and Bernie Wrightson, though not 'til the next volume). Unfortunately, this first volume couldn't quite live up to the hype that I'd created for it. That's not necessarily a condemnation, though. It's not what I expected or quite what I hoped, and there are times when it has the disorienting feel of a fanfic written for something that doesn't exist (and, consider I was really excited about the relaunch of House of Mystery, not least because of the involvement of Matt Sturges and Bill Willingham (and Bernie Wrightson, though not 'til the next volume). Unfortunately, this first volume couldn't quite live up to the hype that I'd created for it. That's not necessarily a condemnation, though. It's not what I expected or quite what I hoped, and there are times when it has the disorienting feel of a fanfic written for something that doesn't exist (and, considering the meta games they play with the storytelling, this might be intentional), but it's definitely interesting, at least, and it feels like something trying to get its feet under itself, so I have high hopes (perhaps not too high this time) that later volumes will only improve.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Arminzerella

    Fig is awakened one night by two mysterious apparitions, who want to talk to her about a house. She flees when her own house collapses in a burning heap around her and escapes to another place – just barely – the house she has been drawing for most her life, the house of her own creation. It’s a bizarre place, filled with a bizarre cast of characters who come to the house from time to time for a drink and to share their stories. The bartender and his barmaids are the only unlucky souls in the ho Fig is awakened one night by two mysterious apparitions, who want to talk to her about a house. She flees when her own house collapses in a burning heap around her and escapes to another place – just barely – the house she has been drawing for most her life, the house of her own creation. It’s a bizarre place, filled with a bizarre cast of characters who come to the house from time to time for a drink and to share their stories. The bartender and his barmaids are the only unlucky souls in the house, as once they entered its confines they were unable to leave. When Fig finds herself there, she spends every waking moment trying to get out – and failing. Beautiful and haunting (and occasionally gruesome) artwork, and bizarre and macabre stories, the House of Mystery reminds me a little bit of Callahan’s Bar in the sci-fi series by Spider Robinson. There’s that same barroom camaraderie with an edge to it, because anything might happen (and does). Fig’s story is interspersed with tales from some of the bar patrons and glimpses into the worlds from whence they come. It ends too soon (for me), as we’ve barely scratched the surface of how Fig and the House came to be intertwined. Here’s hoping for sequels!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Felix

    So far this series has yet to convince me. The overarching plot is not easily accessible so that, five issues in, I still have to warm to the characters. There's not enough character-development to make me feel for them or care whether they live or not. The short tales-within-the-tale by Bill "Fables" Willingham, told by characters in the bar-room, range in quality from excellent (i.e. the first one) to mediocre (i.e. the one about the princess and her cat) to downright shoddy (like the one abou So far this series has yet to convince me. The overarching plot is not easily accessible so that, five issues in, I still have to warm to the characters. There's not enough character-development to make me feel for them or care whether they live or not. The short tales-within-the-tale by Bill "Fables" Willingham, told by characters in the bar-room, range in quality from excellent (i.e. the first one) to mediocre (i.e. the one about the princess and her cat) to downright shoddy (like the one about the process server in the second issue, which lacks both coherence and anything close to a satisfying ending). As it is, the series is the worst of both worlds: the on-going story doesn't leave room enough for the inset tales of 'horror', thus making it a rather unconvincing anthology. At the same time, these mini-stories slow down the overall writing, enforcing breaks and pauses that make the book fail as a continuous series. Since I got issues #1-26 as a gift, I will continue with the book and give it a chance to grow on me, but if it doesn't pick up speed soon, I don't see much of a chance.

  24. 5 out of 5

    machinaheart

    Quick Thoughts: Stories inside stories, how wonderful! The main narrative is very gripping, yet after reading the first volume still utterly shrouded in mystery and I truly enjoyed the little stories that were told by various characters. (And as payment for drinks at the bar, no less. How delightful is that?) They varied from creepy (The Hollows) to funny (Jordan's Story). And I even laughed out loud a few times, even though there are mostly dire situations or pretty unsettling things going on. Th Quick Thoughts: Stories inside stories, how wonderful! The main narrative is very gripping, yet after reading the first volume still utterly shrouded in mystery and I truly enjoyed the little stories that were told by various characters. (And as payment for drinks at the bar, no less. How delightful is that?) They varied from creepy (The Hollows) to funny (Jordan's Story). And I even laughed out loud a few times, even though there are mostly dire situations or pretty unsettling things going on. The payment stories are drawn and written by different authors and showcase a variety of styles. And the cover artwork of the volumes ins this collection is just STUNNING! Sam Weber has definitely found a fan in me. Woah so, so good! (Really, five stars for the story and one just for his cover artwork!!)

  25. 4 out of 5

    CJ - It's only a Paper Moon

    An awesome graphic novel. I have a different cover than this one (it threw me off for a moment) but the picture (both of them really) relay the atmosphere of the story. A mixture of horror, fantasy and angst, it follows in the footsteps of Gaiman's Sandman series (a lovely cameo by Cain and Abel) and sets it on a slightly different path as the core of the story is a girl named Fig and her involvement, connection and fascination with the House. We have handsome Harry the bartender, Ann Preston the An awesome graphic novel. I have a different cover than this one (it threw me off for a moment) but the picture (both of them really) relay the atmosphere of the story. A mixture of horror, fantasy and angst, it follows in the footsteps of Gaiman's Sandman series (a lovely cameo by Cain and Abel) and sets it on a slightly different path as the core of the story is a girl named Fig and her involvement, connection and fascination with the House. We have handsome Harry the bartender, Ann Preston the Pirate Bodyguard, Cress[ida:] the drama queen waitress and last but not least the Poet - a hedonistic wordsmith that reminds me of a cross between Poe and "insert Victorian poet here". Well worth the ten bucks.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rosa

    I really love Bill Willingham so I was psyched to see his name on a new title (even though this probably isn't considered new anymore). A group of people are stuck in a house that is at a bar in the cross roads of many dimensions. In the house they run a bar and people tell stories to pay down their tabs. The book goes back and forth between the stories told by bar patrons and the stories of the house's residents. I can't wait to find out more about why they are stuck in the house and the patron I really love Bill Willingham so I was psyched to see his name on a new title (even though this probably isn't considered new anymore). A group of people are stuck in a house that is at a bar in the cross roads of many dimensions. In the house they run a bar and people tell stories to pay down their tabs. The book goes back and forth between the stories told by bar patrons and the stories of the house's residents. I can't wait to find out more about why they are stuck in the house and the patrons tales provide interesting breaks in the story and I wonder if some of the patrons tales aren't going to be related to the major story in the long run.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    Sturges and Willingham resurrect the old DC anthology title for the new century by using familiar tropes (travelers exchange outlandish tales in a bar) and recognizable fears of alienation. While the overall story is fairly standard in the post- Sandman era, Luca Rossi's art on the main tale and the bar patron's quirky vignettes make House of Mystery an intriguing and enjoyable read. Sturges and Willingham resurrect the old DC anthology title for the new century by using familiar tropes (travelers exchange outlandish tales in a bar) and recognizable fears of alienation. While the overall story is fairly standard in the post- Sandman era, Luca Rossi's art on the main tale and the bar patron's quirky vignettes make House of Mystery an intriguing and enjoyable read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    nidah05 (SleepDreamWrite)

    Well this was interesting. Very interesting. Reminds me a little bit of American Horror Story. Mostly because of that really cool but at the same time creepy cover and well the tone of this. Then you have the short stories in between the story which are drawn well but are weird. The art was really good and moments where I was like, wait is that and huh, I didn't think I'd see that and what's going on? Anyway, this caught my interest and am wondering what will happen next. I really got to keep tra Well this was interesting. Very interesting. Reminds me a little bit of American Horror Story. Mostly because of that really cool but at the same time creepy cover and well the tone of this. Then you have the short stories in between the story which are drawn well but are weird. The art was really good and moments where I was like, wait is that and huh, I didn't think I'd see that and what's going on? Anyway, this caught my interest and am wondering what will happen next. I really got to keep track of what series I'm reading, starting and have yet to finish.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shauna

    One day I would like to curl up inside Bill Willingham's head and just sit there, neatly. Minding my own business, but probably while rocking back and forth, covered in blood and viscera, watching as his utter genius way of sorry telling unfolds, in awe of his outré imagination, watching as it entangles itself with the familiar and nostalgic fairy tales, bed time stories and resulting fantastical, creepy and utterly nonsensical dreams you would have as a kid.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Venus Maneater

    Yes, this is the perfect flavor of weird for me! I've been waiting for a story to creep me out as much as the one told by Hungry Sally. Drawn by Ross Campbell, she is like Alice in Wonderland, but more innocent. And she just looks too young, too young to go and live on her own, and to marry and to have those horrible horrible things happen to her. It was terrible, disgusting and insanely original at the same time. Loved it! Take your time reading this one, it's all in the details.

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