Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Golden Bookshelf:

Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery

The home of some of the early work from comic greats like Neal Adams and Len Wein, DC finally returns House of Mystery to the market with this new series of low-cost, black and white classic reprints.

Some may wonder what took DC so long to hop on the bandwagon of thick, low-cost, black and white “phonebook” reprint editions pioneered by Cerebus and lately favored by Marvel. However, if the House of Mystery volume is any indication, it proves the adage “better late than never.”

Editor Joe Orlando rescued House of Mystery in the late 1960s, when it had become a dumping-ground for C-level super-hero features (J’onn J’onz and Dial H for Hero) and converted it into a horror anthology as intense as the Comic Code would allow. Orlando published some of the earliest works by groundbreaking talents like Berni(e) Wrightson, Neal Adams, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman and others, alongside new and reprinted work by Alex Toth, Gil Kane, Wally Wood, Jack Kirby, Leonard Starr and Al Williamson—all wrapped in eye-catching covers by Adams and Wrightson, and punctuated by hilarious single-page gag strips by Sergio Arragones.

That early run of House of Mystery, roughly from 174-200, languished in the quarter bins for decades, but word got out in the 1990s and prices for the back issues skyrocketed. Now DC has made the first 21 issues available in glorious black and white at a bargain price of $16.99. Since most of the stories run 4-8 pages, that’s a huge variety of art and writing in a nice lightweight edition. Only the Adams covers really miss the full color, and the black and white reproduction of the interior work is super-clean. Showcase: House of Mystery is a must-have for any fan of Bronze Age comics, competently-told horror/suspense, and top notch art.

 

Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery

DC 2006

552 p. b/w with color cover, $16.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rob Salkowitz is a Seattle-based writer and authority on all manner of aging newsprint. You can e-mail your comments and queries to Rob at rob_comics@yahoo.com. Use "ComicBase" as the subject line.

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