HOUSE OF PENANCE Print the leg­end

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! Pub­lisher dark Horse Comics Writer Peter J To­masi Artist Ian Ber­tram

This is a true story, sort of. Sarah Winch­ester, heir to half of the Winch­ester Re­peat­ing Arms Com­pany, spent 38 years con­tin­u­ously ex­pand­ing her man­sion, to both house and drown out the spir­its of ev­ery­one killed by Winch­ester ri­fles. At least, that’s the leg­end, and while it was prob­a­bly em­bel­lished over the years, it’s that ver­sion which Peter J To­masi and Ian Ber­tram have run with for this su­perb hor­ror comic.

The leg­end is al­ready a fine piece of gothic nar­ra­tive – a woman in fear of the past builds a labyrinthine house filled with re­dun­dant stair­cases – and the book gets full value out of it. Sarah, though quite mad, is a sym­pa­thetic hero­ine, des­per­ate to make amends but also es­cape her fate, and her re­la­tion­ship with one of the labour­ers is touch­ingly por­trayed.

Ber­tram’s art­work has an uneasy sense of in­sta­bil­ity and de­cay, but most strik­ing are the blood-worms which writhe through floor­boards and coil around necks, in­vis­i­ble to the char­ac­ters. The sense that Sarah walks in blood ev­ery­where she goes is pow­er­fully con­veyed. There are two is­sues left at the time of writ­ing – wher­ever this goes, it’s go­ing to get worse. Ed­die Rob­son

Su­per­nat­u­ral cre­ator Eric Kripke says the house par­tially in­spired him to give Sam and Dean the sur­name Winch­ester.

Ev­ery­one dreaded Granny’s kisses.

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