Re-entering ‘The House of Daemon’- a cult British comic classic.

16 Jul

Readers in the UK will need no encouragement in discussing the weather. As a recognised national pastime, discussion of the elements has currently been given an extra source of vitriol (always the spice in any on-going argument) by the sheer grey gruesomeness of this island nation’s cloud cover. Summer isn’t sunny; alright, so we’re not the Costa Del Sol, but July 2012 has been especially grim. Despite the attempts at some distracting nationalistic colour in the shape of the Queen’s Jubilee and Wimbledon’s first British finalist in over seventy years, I’m thinking that most Brits are feeling literally under the weather.

So, as this is the perfect weather for sitting in and having a good read, and in the mind set of monochrome, let’s unearth this gothic jewel from many a thirty something boy’s past…from a time when comics played a big part in kids’ lives, and we were entertained by far more subversive and creative fare than arguably those on offer to a current generation…..I give you “The House of Daemon”, from the early 1980s incarnation of Eagle comic, scripted by John Wagner and Alan Grant (of 2000 AD fame), and beautifully illustrated by Spanish artist Jose Oritz.

As this fits the Serendipity blog’s popular Arts remit, I thought it’d be nice to cover comics more (without attracting an overly obsessed geek tag!) With that in mind, ‘The House of Daemon’ is a fine place to begin. As fellow blog Those We Left Behind mentions, “Running for 5 months from issue no.25 (September 11, 1982) to issue no.47 (February 12, 1983), this was a creepy and bizarre horror tale, one of the best Eagle produced.”

Genuinely macabre and surreal, this story truly deserves resurrection and reappraisal. It really stuck in my mind, and it’s a privilege to share some scans of this cult classic, coming from the periodical that produced Dan Dare (here as an ancestor of the 1950s original) and Doomlord. In “The House of Daemon”, a title worthy of Hammer, Wagner and Grant scripted a story to really get under the skin of the young readership. Wealthy builder Robert Aldritch builds his wife Cassandra a dream cliff top home, only to discover it plagued by paranormal activity. This activity increases to the point where Robert and Cassandra become imprisoned in their home, which becomes an Alice in Wonderland-esque dream environment, with each room a world in itself (like a nightmarish version of ‘The Crystal Maze’). The malevolent overseer of this nightmare is the titular Daemon, who turns out to be a 26th century sorcerer, who has travelled back 500 years to escape his prison (the future house as you ask). Confused? You will be, as we enter…The House of Daemon!

Enjoy the scans…and I shall soon return with more Gothic in the form of the next Dracula blog and some distinctly un-gothic photographic tales from Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

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