Written by MATTHEW STURGES, PETER MILLIGAN, MIKE CAREY, CHRIS ROBERSON and MATT WAGNER
Art by LUCA ROSSI, JILL THOMPSON, GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI, MICHAEL ALLRED and PETER GROSS
Cover by ESAO ANDREWS
On Sale October 13, 2010
Vertigo, 48pg., Color, $4.99 US, Mature Readers
DC / Vertigo Comics’ 2nd House of Mystery Halloween Annual hit stores on October 13th. This year’s version is a treat of a horror anthology. Let it be known right away that this is most definitely for mature readers. It deals with some disturbing subject matter and has obscene language.
The basic “ties that bind” everything together are a group of children who were cursed by an old gypsy lady to repeat Halloween night for an eternity because they played a prank on her. She apparently turned them old and zombie-looking as well. Each of the five stories in the comic feature the cursed gang either in a major role or just in the background somehow.
The introduction story has the group showing up at the House of Mystery and meeting all the patrons at the costume get-together. The host of the party is a sadistic-looking character named Cain. The group is offered the chance to have their curse lifted by one lady who thinks she is an enchantress, but apparently one of them isn’t too keen to be released from it.
The second story gives us the background on each of the cursed members of the trick-or-treat gang. They are given visions of of what could be if they let their individual pasts and childhoods go. This opportunity is given by Madame Xanadu, who is a psychic / fortune teller who has her own series.
The next story, entitled “Bonfire Night,” featured an actual long-time character who has his own comic series – Hellblazer’s John Constantine. He is reflecting on his past with a succubus who won’t leave him alone. He details for us how his first relationship with a girl when he was 13 was brought to an end and how he took revenge on the person who caused it. Strangely enough, it has an obvious reference to Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta (which was another comic series with DC / Vertigo) through the burning of a Guy Fawkes mask. The cursed gang were just in the background of this story, sort of like “Where’s Waldo?.”
The next story was an izombie tale entitled “The Devil’s Lake.”, which had the atmosphere of the section of Creepshow 2 where the people are trapped on the raft with a monster after them. The monsters weren’t the same but it had the feel of that story. I’m not familiar with the regular izombie series, so I didn’t really know what to expect. This story had a pretty cool (although too predictable) ending to it. The trick-or-treaters were seen in this one standing on the shore of the lake pointing and laughing at the kids who were out in the canoe.
The last short has the cursed gang running into two demons. One of the little creatures tells the group he can deliver them from the world of the Apocalypse if they’ll just sell their souls to him. The cursed group grow impatient as the fiend searches for a world to send them to through one of Lucifer’s Gates and take it out on the pathetic imp. Vertigo’s Lucifer appears briefly at the beginning of the story.
The annual also features a section where each contributing writer, artist, inker, and letterer share their own little Halloween story. It’s very cool to hear personal stories about the beloved holiday. This part gave the book a real nice touch to end with. DC / Vertigo Comics’ 2nd House of Mystery Halloween Annual is a must-have for fans of anthology tales and special book collectors.
Source: DC Comics