No Mystery Why D.C. Comics' The House of Mystery Did So Well In The 1970's

Updated on July 6, 2017

"Do you dare enter THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY?"

Long-time fans of comics and sequential art remember that iconic tag-line well.

Ask a modern-day comic book fan what D.C. Comics is known for and the common — and mostly appropriate — answer will be "superheroes." The publishing house that brought the world Batman, Superman, The Flash, and Wonder Woman does boast a truly amazing collection of iconic heroes.

D.C. Comics did publish a great many titles outside of the superhero sphere. For decades, D.C. Comics published a host of popular horror and war comics well into the early 1980's. Of the supernatural-oriented scare books, The House of Mystery was the flagship book for many years.

Of course, there were scores of other horror anthology books published by D.C. Comics during the Bronze and Silver Ages. Ghosts, House of Secrets, The Unexpected, and Tales of Ghost Castle were among several titles produced by the iconic comic book house.

With so much of the same talent working on all the books, the various anthologies were not much different from one another. Of them all, the long-running The House of Mystery title remained the top horror anthology D.C. Comics created.

A Fun Little Vampire Tale

The three volumes of Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery reprint issues #174 through #226 of the book. Fans who pick up these collections can relive a large part of the 1960's and 1970's tales published in the comic.

One very simple — and fun — tale is "House of Horrors" written by Jack Oleck and illustrated by Nestor Redondo and published in The House of Mystery #197 in December 1971.

Frank's new girlfriend Anna lives in a creepy old house on top of a hill. After driving her home after a date, he notices two people moving a COFFIN into the old house. Frank becomes highly suspect of the goings-on in ye' old house and starts to poke around to figure out what's behind the mystery of the coffin.

Anna is not too thrilled with his idiocy and he is embarrassing her in front of her brother and sister whom she lives with. Frank is undeterred and drags the law into the mess.

Frank even brings the law into the situation as he claims the family are hiding a VAMPIRIC secret! Brother Jan does own three wooden coffin-like crates and they are filled with dirt...for the purpose of growing rare mushroom indoors!

Is Frank crazy or are the three siblings really vampires?

You have to read the story to find out.

Basic, traditional monster stories like these are a lot of fun to read. The reader keeps guessing until the end of the tale to find out what the answer to the mystery is.

And there was no need to excessive violence or exploitation to grab the reader's attention. All that was required was a great deal of suspension of disbelief and a desire to read a very fun horror tale.

A House of Mystery for the Me Decade

House of Mystery was not a title born of the 1970's. The comic book debuted in 1951 during the horror boom fueled by E.C. Comics and Tales from the Crypt. When public opinion turned against horror comics, The House of Mystery survived by drastically toning down its horror content.

In the 1960's, Warren Publishing revived unapologetic horror comics in the form of Creepy Magazine and Eerie Magazine. D.C. Comics returned its anthology books to horror territory albeit in accordance with the comics code.

The House of Mystery's 1970's output it worth examining because the style of the comic tales works quite well. The quality of the writing was not juvenile nor did it wallow in excessive violence. The spirit of the book remained true to the fun "old time" comic books once embodied while also presenting homages to the classic horror movies that were a staple of television from the late 1950's through the early 1980's.

Sadly, reruns of old horror movies were slowly losing steam in the 1970's and the hardcore monster fanbase was shrinking. Many of D.C. Comics' horror anthologies seemed to also lose steam in terms of sales.

"Me Decade" comic book fans who needed a horror anthology source did have one throughout the 1970's. The House of Mystery delivered the (Comics Code approved) goods and a nice alternative to the superhero-heavy spinner racks of the era.

The Mystery Concludes

The quality of the writing in The House of Mystery remained strong past the 1970's and into the 1980's - but not strong enough. Issue #321, published in October of 1983, was the final issue of the first series. The House of Mystery and host Cain would return again in later years. Things were never the same as the glory years though.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hobbylark.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hobbylark.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)