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Dark Horse: House of Penance #1 Review

Written by Chad Tucker on Wednesday, April 13 2016 and posted in Reviews

Dark Horse: House of Penance #1 Review

“If you continue building, you will live. If you stop you will die.” –Nameless Boston Medium, circa 1883

Source: Dark Horse

Writer: Peter Tomasi

Artist: Ian Bertram

Colorist: Dave Stewart

Cover Artist: Ian Bertram


Price: $3.99

Pages: 32

Value per Page: $0.12


From Dark Horse's Website: "The Winchester House—famous for its original owner's bizarre compulsion to incorporate a multitude of architectural curiosities. But as the bereaved Sarah Winchester's workers toil on stairways to nothing and doors to nowhere, a mysterious stranger arrives . . . and he could make Sarah's demons all too real."

Well, I don't know about you guys, but I love the story of the Winchester Mystery House. *Turns out lights, turns on flashlight* As the story goes, in the early 1900's, the Winchester Estate was haunted by all the ghosts of the victims of her family's rifles. After the death of her infant daughter and husband, Sarah Winchester became convinced that she was cursed. She sought a variety of psychics and spiritualists for help, and was advised the only way to appease the spirits was to move west to build a new home, and to make sure that construction never stopped. And for the rest of her life, they continued to build that house. There was no master plan, and even the servants needed a map to navigate it. It was full of architectural oddities, such as doors that open with a wall on the other side, rooms that could not be accessed, and stairs that lead to nowhere. She continued the construction right up until the day she died in 1922, at the age of 83. The Winchester Mystery House still remains, some say haunted to this day... *Clicks off Flashlight*

I love that story, so I'm all in on this one. My hat goes off to Peter Tomasi for picking one of the greatest American ghost stories as the basis for the book. His writing does not disappoint and he captures the mystery and insanity of Sarah Winchester's demons as easily as he captures the stress of her daily laborers. Ian Bertram's art serves its purpose well, painting a dark and gritty picture of the goings-on of the workers. I was a little put off by the inhuman appearance of some of the characters in the book, but as I read on, I quickly began to imagine that this is what the world looks like through Sarah's eyes.

I don't know what part this Mysterious Stranger has to play as this is only the first comic in the miniseries, but as a horror fan I can't wait to find out. If you enjoy Horror comics and the story of the Winchester Mystery House, then this book is something you would probably enjoy. Be forewarned, the house has killed before, and if it wakes up, it may kill again. *Evil Laughter*

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