The House of Daemon Published by Hibernia Press
Available on Comicsy £9.00
Written by Alan Grant and John Wagner
Illlustrated by José Ortiz
Letters by Steve Potter (episodes 1-3, 9, 11, 19 and 22-23), Jack Potter (episodes 4, 6), Paul Bensberg (episodes 5, 7-8, 10, 12-18 and 21) Peter Knight (episode 20)
Originally serialised in Eagle comic issues 25-47
(September 11th 1982 – February 12th 1983)
The House of Daemon created by Alan Grant,
John Wagner and José Ortiz
Hibernia have a reputation of bringing British Comic classics back to life in quality reproductions. I have reviewed several of the previous publications from Hibernia and here is another.
House of Daemon replaced The Tower King in the British anthology comic Eagle. starting in issue 25.
The writers are a famous pair of British comic heavyweights. John Wagner and Alan Grant brought us Judge Dredd and introduced the world to Judge Death. They’ve entertained us with stories in British comics and US comics alike. They are working together on Rom of the Reds published by Blackhearted Press
The artist is Spanish artist Jose Ortiz who illustrated the preceding story, The Tower King and The Thirteenth Floor in another British Anthology, Scream.
I haven’t read this story since I read it in Eagle in the 1980s. As I said in the introduction to this article it replaced The Tower King and as that had been one of my favourites it was with mixed feelings that I greeted The House of Daemon. After reading the first episode I loved it.
In many ways this story is reminiscent of TV shows such as Hammer House of Horror or The Twilight Zone. And that’s great.
The story is about Elliott Aldrich, a wealthy owner of a building company, and his wife, Cassandra. Elliott has built a dream house as a gift to his beloved wife. Unknown to him it has been inhabited by a creature of evil named Daemon.
Daemon attacks Cassandra and Elliott calls on a renowned specialist in the paranormal, Doctor Cormack. Cormack brings along two students, David and Rhonda, to investigate.
Elliott, Cassandra, Doctor Elliott and his students and Fenwick, one of Elliott’s employees, are sucked into the nightmarish world of The House of Daemon.
The script is fast flowing and to me the only thing that dates it is the fact that each episode reminds the reader with a few panels containing the same detail as the end of the previous episode, the dialogue isn’t always identical. This was typical of comics aimed at children at the time, comics had been like this for many years.
There are a number of different settings in the story that are separate acts in the story. One of my favourites was the odd future war scenario that occurs in the kitchen of the house, I always thought there was a potential spin-off story where we saw whether any of that future was real.
When reading this it is important to remember it was aimed at a young market. There are few comics aimed at the same market today that aren’t glossy magazines that are licenses of TV, Film or Games. So when seeing the art younger (and here I mean under 30) readers might expect it to be aimed at teen to adult market. That said I see no reason why adults won’t enjoy it, it isn’t just my nostalgia that made me enjoy reading this.
The storytelling of Jose Ortiz is highlighted in the introduction by Mike Perkins. He hits the nail on the head. Storytelling is the most important part of comic art, it is not those poster-like single pages that certain US publishers insist on putting in to their comics three or four times an issue. Yes those are pretty pictures but comics are for reading, not pinning on a wall.
Jose Ortiz was an exceptional artist. I was always thrilled to see his work turning up in comics I read. His characters are always very well designed and easily picked out in group shots even at distances. Their anatomy is usually believable and if that varies it is usually due to something being other than normal. The characters clearly act out their scenes with suitable expressions and body language. It is really, really great work.
There is a very nice ‘thank you’ to Letterer Jim Campbell at the end of this book. Letterers are often over looked by Reviewers, I’m guilty of this many times. Of course not noticing a Letterer’s work usually means that the job has been done well. You can read an Interview I did with Jim Campbell.