Nothing brings out the dark monsters of the night than the month which climaxes with All Hallows Eve. When better than, for Dark Horse to release the newest original cast horror book from Mike Mignola. Mr Higgins Comes Home is a love letter of sorts to all those Hammer vampire movies, and as stated in the preface, Mignola’s personal favourite, Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers. In this latest tome, Mignola is joined by artist Warwick Johnson-Cadwell a fellow monster fan.
Mr Higgins is a vampire book and like all good vampire stories there is an air of reluctance in the hero. It seems that Mr Higgins is happy, happy being a relative term in this instance, in seclusion and in no way wants to return to the castle of his wife’s demise. Yet the courage of two vampire hunters inflame his resolve and quicker than you can say “I have seen many a strange thing already Count”, Mr Higgins sets out on his personal quest.
Mike Mignola has taken step back from his artistic origins, focussing mainly on scribing a number of the Mignola-verse books for a number of years now. It has taken me while, if I am honest, to truly appreciate Mignola’s writing as I am a huge fan of his art. Still, Mignola has won me over, by achieving a few things. Firstly, consistency. Mignola has worked with a number of writers over the last few years including Christopher Golden. This may have served as an apprenticeship of sorts, learning from a very talented horror writer. This can then translate into solid storytelling as it merges into Mignola’s own artistic leanings. Which leads me to my second point. As an artist, Mignola is aware that panels need to drive the reader through the book, leading to a crescendo. Using this knowledge, Mignola is able to do create the same beats in his writing. Finally, knowing the story, knowing the beats helps whomever is the artist on choice for the book, allowing for a greater understanding of what Mignola wants to see for the story.
Warwick Johnson-Caldwell is the artist of choice for this book, with a style that I am unfamiliar with and I have to say, did take me by surprise. Still, I have seen enough Mignola-verse books to understand that the art can be unique to say the least. For those expecting a “standard” style of art you may well be disappointed. But the art is part of the charm of this book. Johnson-Caldwell utilizes an odd perspective on characters and backgrounds that help maintain the horror vibe of a world that is kind of recognisable, but isn’t. Johnson-Caldwell provides the colors which again adds to the unique feel. If there was a comparison to the art, it would the older text books with its inherent simplicity. I mentioned my love of Mignola art; the book is well served by a cover from the master and his coloring partner in crime Dave Stewart.
Way back in 1983, my parent divorced. At the time, the UK only had three TV channels Friday night on BBC2 was horror night. My mother and I used to sit on the couch, watching the classic horror films from Nosferatu to Frankenstein’s Monster all the way up to some of the Hammer classics. Thank you Mike Mignola and Warwick Johnson-Caldwell for feeding my own personal nostalgia.
Mr Higgins Comes Home is released on October 25th
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 4 Stars
Written by; Mike Mignola
Art & Colors by; Warwick Johnson-Caldwell
Cover by: Mike Mignola & Dave Stewart
Published by; Dark Horse Comics