Saturday, September 30, 2017

Mr. Higgins Comes Home

 Another instant classic from Mike Mignola.

  While not related to Mignola's legendary HELLBOY mythology, you can easily picture MR. HIGGINS COMES HOME taking place in the same universe.

 This beautiful hardcover original graphic novel is Mignola's love letter to classic Vampire cinema, a debt that he acknowledges in his dedication. He gives a special shout-out to Roman Polanski's THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, which he calls his "all-time favorite vampire film", and it shows: The first half of the book is almost a retelling of that film, as a vampire-hunting professor and his assistant travel through The Carpathians en route to the castle of Count Golga, an ancient, evil vampire who is hosting a Walpurgisnacht get-together for a few dozen of his satanic brethren. So far, very much like the Polanski classic....

 The similarities end with the introduction of Mr. Higgins, an old man who fell victim to Count Golga and his wife decades ago, and has been suffering through a self-imposed exile locked in a nunnery, pining away for his late wife, who was taken by The Count. After making Mrs. Higgins a vampire, The Count and Countess subjected Mr. Higgins to unspeakable acts, ultimately transforming him into a werewolf, a condition he has suffered through for decades, unable to think of a way to end his cursed life. Professor Meinhardt and his assistant
arrive and offer him a bargain: If he leads them through The Count's castle, to his hidden coffin, they will kill The Count, and then end Mr. Higgins' cursed life with a silver bullet. To say that things don't go according to plan would be an understatement....

 Much like the Polanski film, MR. HIGGINS COMES HOME is a black comedy that pays homage to its Horror roots a little too well: I don't find either particularly funny, but I can appreciate their bizarre absurdity while I drink in their rich gothic atmosphere. This is your typical, creepy Mike Mignola tale, leavened somewhat by Warwick Johnson-Cadwell's beautifully cartoony art. If Mignola had illustrated this book, it would have been pure it stands, it's a nearly perfect blend of Horror, satire, gore, monsters, and love for the genre classics that have come before. I wish it had gone on just a bit longer, because I had a blast reading it.

 Dark Horse Comics provided a review copy.