Triskaidekaphobiacs Beware: House of Mystery Celebrates #13

House of Mystery #13 cover by Esao Andrews

Triskaidekaphobiacs beware – don’t go to the comic stores on May 6th. It is on that day that Vertigo releases House of Mystery #13. Triskaidekaphobia is a fear of the number 13, but you don’t have anything to fear from this issue. Vertigo’s turning the tables on the traditionally unlucky number with a special issue to celebrate.

Normally, ongoing series celebrate certain issues – the first (obviously), the twelfth (their one year anniversary), the 25th (silver anniversary), and so on… but for odd series, odd celebrations. For Vertigo ComicsHouse of Mystery, their magic number is 13 – and issue 13 is scheduled to come out this May 6th.

“I knew I wanted to do something special with the thirteenth issue almost since the beginning,” said writer Matt Sturges. “Sort of like an annual, but with issue thirteen because, you know, it's a horror book, right? At some point I got the idea to do it as a true anthology, with four stories by four different writers and four different artists.”

“In the regular series,” Sturges explains, “there's a main story that's ongoing with a short story worked in each month. But for this one, I wanted to do sort of an homage to the original series so the ongoing story gets put on hold for one issue. It also helps give our regular artist, Luca Rossi, a chance to take a breath.”

For their landmark thirteenth issue, Vertigo has amassed a star-studded list of creators to contribute to this issue, not forgetting stalwart writers Bill Willingham and Matt Sturges. Joining the two long-time collaborators is another friend, writer Chris Roberson, as well as superstar artist Eric Powell doing painted work and House of Mystery veterans Neal Adams, Ralph Reese, and Sergio Aragones.

“Needless to say, I'm more than thrilled to be writing for Ralph and Sergio,” said Sturges. “Ralph is a genuine comics legend having worked on everything from Superboy to National Lampoon and everything in between, including some of the best horror comics of the 1960's. He also -- and this is a totally weird fanboy thing for me -- illustrated some of my favorite books as a kid, the Choose Your Own Adventure series. My favorite that he worked on was Prisoner of the Ant People. I'm just saying.“

For Reese, it’s a long overdue return to the House and to comics. After over 3 decades doing comics, he took a break from the field only recently returning. But he’s back, and he’s excited for his story.

“Without giving away too much of the plot it is a contemporary story set in San Francisco and there will be a lot of monsters tearing the place up,” said veteran illustrator Ralph Reese. “Googam Son of Goom may even make an appearance.”

Reese is best known for his tortured and monstrous drawings, but Sergio Aragones is more playful while still keeping to the house’s name.

“Regarding Sergio, I've loved his work since I was a little kid reading Mad Magazine, and he often contributed funny "page 13" bits to the original House of Mystery,” Said Sturges. “We couldn't work it out such that Sergio's bit came on page 13 of the issue, so we simply changed it so that every page is page 13.”

But the creators invited for this special thirteenth issue celebration aren’t all familiar face – one is a new writer for comics, but a familiar face to Willingham and Sturges: Chris Roberson. Roberson’s friendship with Willingham and Sturges goes back to their writing collective Clockwork Storybook, but recently he’s made a name for himself with novels such as Here, There & Everywhere and End of the Century. Simultaneous to this he is also working on the Fables spin-off miniseries Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love… but today we’re talking about House of Mystery.

“’13th Time’s The Charm’ is a love story that spans the ages, with sword fights and shoot-outs, Egyptian princesses and Old west gunslingers, Chinese warriors and Depression-era flappers.”

“In other words, the same old, same old,” jokes Chris Roberson.

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