10 February 2014

Faster than a DC Bullet: The Houses of Mystery and Secrets, Part X: House of Mystery: Love Stories for Dead People

Comic trade paperback, 119 pages
Published 2009 (contents: 2008-09)
Borrowed from the library
Read December 2013
House of Mystery: Love Stories for Dead People

Writer: Matthew Sturges
Artist: Luca Rossi
Inker: José Marzán, Jr.
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Todd Klein
Short Story Writer: Bill Willingham
Short Story Artists: Tony Akins, Andrew Pepoy, David Petersen, Henry Flint, Bernie Wrightson, Kyle Baker
Short Story Colorist: Alex Wald

More House of Mystery means more frame story and more short stories. This volume uses its short stories to fill in the backstories of the other residents of the House of Mystery, trapped along with Fig Keele and its mysterious bartender. We find out the history of Ann the pirate, as well as Cressida, whose loves are always fated to be killed by supernatural horrors (or be supernatural horrors), so she has grown callous and cold. And we get a flashback to Abel sneaking into the House after Cain lost it. Huzzah for Goldie!

Meanwhile, the frame story advances as Fig's father appears and Fig discovers the fate of a previous resident of the House. The story feels like it's moving more than in the first volume, which is good.

There's also some largely unrelated short stories, such as the beautifully drawn war between cats and birds. My favorite part, though, is a small inset panel in the middle of the scene where Cressida seduces Poet, showing two insects on the floor, watching a third:
"Oh, Brutus-- see how gracefully he carries that morsel."
"Mark my words, young lady. He will one day be known as a great hero to our peoples!"
It's a perfectly timed, humorous reminder that we're all the heroes of our own stories.

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