Saturday, August 29, 2015

Review: The House of Daemon

I've had this book a few weeks now but I'm eventually catching up with doing my reviews so please excuse its lateness. 

Hibernia Comics have been producing some excellent reprint albums of classic 1980s British strips and their latest release, The House of Daemon, is one of the best. With scripts by John Wagner and Alan Grant, and art by José Ortiz, you know you're in for a treat. The serial originally appeared in Eagle Nos.25 to 47 in 1982 to 1983 and this book collects the run. 

The story is an atmospheric supernatural tale of a haunted house, but it goes beyond the usual 'ghost story' tradition to plunge its occupants into nightmarish otherworldly situations. There are quite a few twists along the way and although the horror has to be reigned in to a certain extent (because it appeared in a children's comic) it's still quite creepy and a good 'all ages' horror comic. 

The art by José Ortiz is perfect for the horror theme, creating the right tone and menace throughout, plus of course his mastery of the human figure is superb. Sometimes collections like this feel a bit 'choppy', because the episodes were never designed to be read in one book, but with writers as skilled as Wagner and Grant the serial flows perfectly. It would actually make a very good movie, but as a comic it also stands on its own as a fantastic story. 

The reproduction of the strips is top class too. Although the pages are scanned from the comics, not the original art, they've reproduced perfectly, with sharp blacks and subtle grey tones. 

The House of Daemon is available from Hibernia Books here:


Idstone said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Lew. The repro was a fiendish thing, as the greywash art is sublime but needs a lot of attention to reproduce well, particularly from scans of the printed comics. Fortunately, those early issues of the Eagle were printed on good stock so a lot of subtlety was preserved anyway, even on 30-year-old comics, but there were still plenty of late nights on this one!

Also, one of the most terrifying things about this tale? The price Elliot pays for construction of Villa Cassandra - I doubt you'd even get a nice two-bed flat for that nowadays! ;-)



Lew Stringer said...

Ah, the things that go into production that we never see. You did a great job anyway Richard. The results are remarkable considering the source material, and digital printing is easily on a par with litho these days. Looking forward to future productions!

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