Art Highlight: “Elvira’s House of Mystery” Issue 5, Page 4 (Festival of Dread Special)
Welcome to a special Festival of Dread edition of Art Highlight, a recurring segment where The Splintering contributors showcase a piece of original art from their collection. In honor of this month’s theme, I am spotlighting a page from the anthology series Elvira’s House of Mystery from DC Comics.
DC Comics was the home to several popular horror anthology series in the 1970s. Titles like House of Secrets and House of Mystery are still popular amongst back issue collectors, but there were also titles such as Weird War Tales, Weird Mystery Tales, Tales of Ghost Castle, and so many more. DC attempted to revamp this format in the 1980s and did so by combining it with one of the most popular horror movie hosts at the time, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
Elvira’s House of Mystery ran for a total of 11 issues between 1986 and 1987, as well as one Christmas special that was released just as the series ended. In that short timeframe, fans were treated to some really fun horror stories by some of the best talent in comic books. Artists such as Brian Bolland, Denys Cowan, Graham Nolan, Dave Stevens, and José Luis Garcia Lopez along with writers Mike Baron, Robert Kanigher, and Joey Cavalieri were just a few of the names that contributed to the series.
Issue #5 of Elvira’s House of Mystery showcased three short stories. The third of which, titled The Clockwork Dragon was written by Robert Kanigher, with pencils by Dick Ayers and inks by Tony DeZuniga, both of whom are comic art legends with credits and creations too vast to list. In this seven-panel page, we see the main two characters of the story along with the titular Dragon.
There are so many things I appreciate about this page of art. First and foremost is the duo that created the art itself. Dick Ayers and Tony DeZuniga each spent decades in the comic book industry and are beloved by those that knew them or their work. Secondly, the composition of the page. Look at how much of the page was used to create the images you see. A seven-panel page is not something you see often. Finally, that shock you see on the face of the final panel is what does it for me. Yes, the dragon appears in five of the panels, but it’s the expression on the face in the last panel that makes me excited to be the caretaker of this piece of comic book history.
Thanks for taking the time to look read this special Festival of Dread edition of Art Highlight. Please let us know in the comments below if you remember this short-lived comic book series, or if you have any fond memories of Dick Ayers or Tony DeZuniga’s work.
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