House of Mystery

The House of Mystery  is the name of many horror , fantasy , and mystery Comics anthologies published by DC Comics . It had a companion series,  House of Secrets  . It is also the name of the titular setting of the series.

First series


House of Mystery  started out as a horror anthology, featuring tales of the supernatural and supernatural-themed mystery stories. With the growing backlash against American horror comics in the mid-1950s , the series of quietly was the adventures of the Comics Code Authority and its restrictions on horror-themed storylines (banning stories dealing with such supernatural fare as werewolves and vampires) revamped into dealing with sci-fi type monsters and other mystery-type suspense that were permitted by the comic code.  [1]


In the mid-1960s, the series was revamped to include super-hero stories. From  House of Mystery  # 143 (June 1964) through # 155 (December 1966), ” J’onn J’onzz, the Manhunter from Mars ” headlined the book, as his back-up feature of  Detective Comics  was moved to  House of Mystery  . This was followed by the introduction of ” Dial H for Hero ” in issue # 156 (January 1966),  [2]  which took over as headliner until # 173 (March-April 1968). The Martian Manhunter was again relegated to back-up status during this time.

Return of horror

Cain and Gregory move out in the final issue of  The House of Mystery  , # 321 (October 1983). Art by Michael Kaluta .

With issue # 174, EC comics veteran Joe Orlando was hired by the  House of Mystery  .  [3]  As the Comics Code Authority has been challenged by both DC and Marvel over content restrictions, the series has returned to its overt horror themes. The first issue under Orlando would be reprinted issue of old horror / suspense stories, as the new direction would truly begin with # 175 (July-August 1968). The issue would have a new face to the series, Cain , the “able care taker” of the House of Mystery who would be sure that all the stories would be in the series before their cancellation.  [4]  Cain would also host the spin-off humor series  Plop!  and later become a recurring character in Blue Devil  and  The Sandman  .

Artist Bernie Wrightson’s first professional comic work was the story “The Man Who Murdered Himself” which appeared in issue # 179 (March-April 1969).  [5]

Under Orlando’s stewardship, the series won a good deal of recognition in the comics industry, including the ” Shazam Award for Best Individual Short Story (Dramatic)” in 1972 for “The Demon Within” by John Albano and Jim Aparo , and the “Shazam Award for Best Humor Story” in 1972 for “The Plague Poster” by Steve Skeates and Sergio Aragonés .  Limited Collectors’ Edition  # C-23 (Winter 1973) featured reprints of  House of Mystery  stories.  [6]   House of Mystery  # 224 (April-May 1974) to # 229 (Feb.-March 1975) were in the 100 page Super Spectacular format.  [7]

The series was in the Comics Dollar format for issues # 251 (March-April 1977) to # 259 (July-August 1978).  [8]   House of Mystery  by T. Casey Brennan (# 260, 267, 268 and 274) and Scott Edelman (# 257, 258, 260, 264, 266, 270, 272, 273). Orlando’s tenure as editor ended with # 257 (March-April 1978).  [3]  Karen Berger became editor of the series with # 292 (May 1981),  [9] her first for DC Comics.  [10]  Under Berger, the series experimented with long-form storylines in the  … Vampire  serial created by writer JM DeMatteis .  [11] “I … Vampire” revolved around the heroic vampire , Andrew Bennett, who sought to defeat his nemesis and train lover Mary, the Queen of Blood. This series began in # 290 (March 1981) and would be last until # 319 (August 1983), two issues before the title ended with # 321 (October 1983).

Since 2006, DC Comics has reprinted stories from the original run:  Showcase Presents  volumes have been published, reprinting the series from # 174-194, # 195-211 and # 212-226 respectively. A shot in color,  Welcome Back to the House of Mystery  , featured by Alisa Kwitney in Cain wraparound by Neil Gaiman and Sergio Aragonés , under the Vertigo Comics Imprint. The first issue from 1951 was reissued as a  Millennium Edition  bearing the Vertigo imprint.  [12]

Elvira’s House of Mystery

In 1986-1987, DC comics published a new series,  Elvira’s House of Mystery  . It lasted 11 issues plus a special. The series Was a follow up virtually Reviews towards the original series, with famed horror movie hostess Elviratasked with finding by the House Cain, though she spent much of her time making fun of _him_, Introducing horror stories similar to the original series. One issue of this series, # 3, has been released without any further comment.

2008 series

Main article: House of Mystery (Vertigo)

DC ‘s Vertigo imprint began in May 2008, written by Lilah Sturges and Bill Willingham . It’s all about a different story, told by people trapped in a “purgatory-like house.”  [13]  [14]  The series ended in October 2011 with issue # 42.

The House

The House of Mystery exists in the DC Universe, just north of Louisville, Kentucky, where it was built and almost immediately abandoned by Col. Braitwaithe before the American Civil War,  [15]  and in The Dreaming . Very little is known about the House of Mystery in general. The architecture is indeterminate and changes periodically. The same holds true for the inside of the house: the rooms constantly shift, and one never enters the same room twice. The House of Mystery lies in the same graveyard as the House of Secrets, its companion. Abel resides in the House of Secrets, Cain makes the House of Mystery his abode.

Cain is not the only person residing within the House; In addition to boarders , including Mister Mxyzptlk , Elvira took shelter within the House. Her brief stay in the House of Mystery is notable for two reasons: first, the House of Mystery is established as the same House throughout its publication history. Three distinct personalities of the House are shown: the original horror House of Mystery, a dark humor “House of Weirdness” -style which harkened back to Cain’s stint in  Plop!  , and the current version of the House of Mystery in Kentucky. The second reason is the timing of Elvira’s stay. She took up residence during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Elvira, tasked by the House of Mystery to Cain, took place during a brief period of time, while Cain was relegated to the goal of jokes during occasional cameos.

The House of Mystery possesses sentience, along with mystic powers. It has possessed someone before, and merged with the House of Secrets briefly. This is a constantly changing face of the House of Mystery. It was torn down in the metafictional  The House of Mystery  # 321, but its existence was restored during the Crisis.

Batman entered the house in  The Brave and the Bold  # 93, tripped on a floorboard, and would have had a shot at his gun. He never actually puts Cain, who instead narrates a story about him in Scotland, which climaxes in a castle describes him as “a house of mystery” rather than “the House of Mystery.”  [16]  Superman teamed with Cain against Mister Mxyzptlk, who was attempting to take over the House, in  DC Comics Presents  # 53.  [17]

The House of Mystery Appears Mainly in various Vertigo titles, Especially Those tied into Neil Gaiman ‘s  Sandman  ; It has appeared briefly in  Resurrection Man  . Something called the House of Mystery appeared in  52  # 18, where it seems to have been used for some time as a basis for a team of detectives called the Croatoan Society, which counts both Detective Chimp and Ralph Dibny as members. It is unclear if the Croatoan’s House of Mystery is meant to be the original House of Mystery, post- Infinite Crisisversion of the original House of Mystery, or simply a different location with the same name. Cain’s name appeared on this house’s mailbox, implying some sort of connection to the original House.

The House reappeared in The New 52 in the  Dark Justice League  pages , being used as a base for the team. The House is shown to presently belong to John Constantine , who claims to have won the key to a poker game against Doctor Occult and Father Time . John Constantine takes his time to the House of Mystery of the changing rooms and feels that the house has tricks on people and the superheroes that enter it.  [18]

Collected editions

  • Showcase Presents : Martian Manhunter  Vol. 2 collects Martian Manhunter stories from House of Mystery # 143-173, 592 pages, May 2009,ISBN 978-1401222567
  • Showcase Presents: Dial H for Hero  Vol. 1 collects Dial H for Hero stories from  House of Mystery  # 156-173, 288 pages, April 2010, ISBN  978-1401226480
  • Presents Showcase: The House of Mystery
    • Volume 1 collects  The House of Mystery  # 174-194, 552 pages, February 2006, ISBN  1-4012-0786-3
    • Volume 2 collects  The House of Mystery  # 195-211, 552 pages, March 2007, ISBN  1-4012-1238-7
    • Volume 3 collects  The House of Mystery  # 212-226, 552 pages, January 2009, ISBN  1-4012-2183-1
  • The Steve Ditko Omnibus  Volume 1 includes stories from  House of Mystery  # 236, 247, 254, 258, and 276, 480 pages, September 2011, ISBN  1-4012-3111-X
  • I … Vampire  collects I … Vampire stories from House of Mystery # 290-291, 293, 295, 297, 299, 302, and 304-319, 320 pages, April 2012,ISBN 978-1401233716


Two novels were written by Jack Oleck and illustrated by Bernie Wrightson , both published by Warner Books .

  • Tales From The House of Mystery  # 1 ( ISBN  978-0446752268 )
  • Tales From The House of Mystery  # 2 ( ISBN  978-0446752565 )

In other media


  • The House of Mystery appears in  Justice League Action  episode “Trick or Threat.” Cain the Caretaker narrated how Klarion the Witch Boy turned John Constantine, Batman, Zatanna, and Doctor Fate into the Helmet of Fate. After Klarion’s defeat and the House of Mystery disappearing, John Constantine finds the key to the House of Mystery on the ground.
  • In the live-action television series  Constantine  , the title character lives in a magical safehouse with various similarities to the House of Mystery, though it is stationary in Atlanta and does not possess to ability to move through space.


  • The House of Mystery appears in the movie  Justice League Dark  . In this version the magic of the house is a body in the form of Black Orchid .


  1. Jump up^  Irvine, Alex ; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). “1950s”.  DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle  . London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley . p. 67. ISBN  978-0-7566-6742-9 .  When the Comics Code Authority was formed in 1954 …  House of Mystery  was suddenly forced to re-focus itself as a suspense and sci-fi title.
  2. Jump up^  McAvennie, Michael “1960s” in Dolan, p. 116: “Dave Wood Writer and Jim Mooney artist put young Robby Reed in touch with the mysterious H-Dial.”
  3. ^ Jump up to: b  Joe Orlando (editor) at the Grand Comics Database
  4. Jump up^  McAvennie “1960s” in Dolan, p. 130: “Editor Joe Orlando decided that the House of Mystery was in need of renovation.”
  5. Jump up^  McAvennie “1960s” in Dolan, p. 132: “‘The Man Who Murdered Himself’ in House of Mystery was … the first DC story by Berni Wrightson (who left the” e “off his first name to distinguish himself from a famous diver.”
  6. Jump up^  Limited Collectors’ Edition  # C-23at the Grand Comics Database
  7. Jump up^  Eury, Michael (July 2015). “Look at DC’s Super Specs”.  Back Issue!  . Raleigh, NC : TwoMorrows Publishing (81): 24-25.
  8. Jump up^   Romero, Max (July 2012). “I’ll Buy That For a Dollar! DC Comics’ Dollar Comics”.  Back Issue!  . Raleigh, NC: TwoMorrows Publishing (57): 39-41.
  9. Jump up^  Karen Berger (editor)at theGrand Comics Database
  10. Jump up^   Irvine, Alex (2008), “House of Mystery”, in Dougall, Alastair,  The Vertigo Encyclopedia  , London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley, p. 88, ISBN  0-7566-4122-5 , OCLC  213309015
  11. Jump up^  Manning, Matthew K. “1980s” in Dolan, p. 193 “Writer JM DeMatteis unveiled vampire / vampire hunter Andrew Bennett with the help of artist Tom Sutton in The House of Mystery # 290.”
  12. Jump up^  Millennium Edition: House of Mystery # 1  at the Grand Comics Database
  13. Jump up^   Furey, Emmett (April 19, 2008). “NYCC: Vertigo – Welcome to the Edge” . Comic Book Resources . Archived from the original on April 21, 2008.
  14. Jump up^   Renaud, Jeffrey (May 6, 2008). “Sturges is Big Brother of Vertigo’s House of Mystery  ” . Comic Book resources. Archived from the original on May 10, 2008.
  15. Jump up^  Kuppergerg, Paul (w), Perlin, Don (p), Tanghal, Romeo (i). “The Devil Strikes at My Old Kentucky Home!”  House of Mystery  252 (May-June 1977)
  16. Jump up^  O’Neil, Dennis (w), Adams, Neal (p), Adams, Neal (i). “Red Water Crimson Death”  The Brave and the Bold 93 (December 1970-January 1971)
  17. Jump up^  Mishkin, Dan (w), Swan, Curt (p), DeZuniga, Tony (i). “The Haunting Dooms of Halloween!”  DC Comics Presents 53 (January 1983)
  18. Jump up^  Lemire, Jeff (w), Nolan, Graham; Drujiniu, Victor (p), Drujiniu, Victor (i). “Enter The House Of Mystery …”  Dark Justice League 14 (January 2013)

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