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Showcase Presents: The House of Secrets Vol. 2

DC

Oct 14, 2009 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


While some of the appeal of comic books lies in following the soap opera-like developments in the lives of favorite characters over years, or even decades, it’s surely a welcome relief to read stories that aren’t tied into a long, complex continuity. For instance, it doesn’t at all matter if you pick up Showcase Presents: The House of Secrets Vol. 2 without reading the first volume. This black and white volume reprints the horrific tales depicted in The House of Secrets issues 99-119, published in the early 1970s.

With about four stories per issue, you’re looking at dozens of one-off horror tales, most of which possess, or at least attempt, a delicious “gotcha” ending. For those that haven’t experienced, say, the Tales From the Crypt comics from EC, perhaps the HBO television series of the same name can serve to exemplify the typical House of Secrets story. But, as you might imagine with dozens of narratives, the quality varies wildly. The art tends to be the star here: there are delightful one-pagers by Sergio Aragones of Mad Magazine fame, and frighteningly deft pencils by the likes of Alfredo Alcala, Nestor Redondo, and Jess Jodloman. And most of the stories are at least okay, but only a few are really knock-outs.

Still, the package works. It’s a little goofy, being mired in the over-the-top nature of the horror genre and being a product of 1970s comics storytelling conventions. But that goofiness, along with some genuinely poignant, frightening, and clever moments, makes this a great casual read if you’re in the right frame of mind. It is October, after all. (www.dccomics.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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rich k
October 31st 2009
4:54pm

Cool. You mention the filipino powerhouses of art, but what about wrightson, as displayed in your cover reproduction.