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House Paperback – June 13, 2007


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Paperback, June 13, 2007
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (June 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560978554
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560978558
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 6.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,591,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Simmons's first solo work is a moody, claustrophobic, haunting tale, told completely without words. Three teenagers meet in the middle of the woods to explore an old mansion and discover its secrets. Their curiosity and fascination with the mystery of the abandoned place is quickly replaced with dread and rising panic. Simmons takes full advantage of the page to dwarf these characters with their surroundings. Their emotions are expressed by the growing distance between them, as one girl draws enviously away from the burgeoning romance between the other two. The pen and ink drawings are filled with wonder: discovering an underwater town, watching the sunset from the roof. But it is no coincidence that in the latter half of the book, the black on the pages overwhelms the white as the house literally swallows them whole. With a simple story, Simmons has stretched his abilities as an illustrator to create a creepy comic that is quick to read but slow to shake. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up—With a cover depicting a menacing portrait of an old man, House is forbidding from the outset. The wordless story begins with an eerie calm that is reminiscent of the opening scenes of a horror movie. Tension builds as readers wait to find out what will go wrong. Three teens meet at an abandoned mansion in the woods and explore dusty hallways and moldering rooms. Two of the friends kiss, and the awkward discomfort and isolation of the third add to the unsettling air of the adventure. The house slowly gets the better of the explorers as one by one they are separated, injured, and become lost in a maze of dark passageways. At first glance, their problems do not seem insurmountable, so their sudden change of fortune is almost as disquieting as the unfortunate result of their curiosity. The illustrations begin as a few black lines on a field of white, gradually becoming darker as the scenario becomes more grim. The dark shadows trap the characters on the page, and the final scenes are almost entirely black, with only pinpricks of light illuminating the lost friends. Recommend this one to fans of cult horror movies and horror novels, and to those who prefer their graphic novels wordless.—Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 29, 2007
"House" is a new graphic novel published by Fantagraphics. It is unique in that it is a true graphic novel as the story is told without benefits of dialogue or captions. To pull something like this off you need two things: You need a good story and an artist who is capable of relating it without the need for dialog. In this case, the book is written and drawn by Josh Simmons and he is largely successful in his efforts.

The back of the book describes the characters as teenagers but they look a bit older than that. The male character in particular looks like an old hippie to me but oh well...I'll go with teenagers. The three friends are out on a hike in the woods when they stumble across a massive deserted old mansion. Simmons here shines as he dwarfs the characters with the size of the mansion, showing it at different angles to really give you a sense of how expansive it is. I also like how Simmons contrasts his two female characters with one dressed in white and the other in black, which also serves to describe their personalities as well.

The three explore the mansion through its empty hallways and rooms. This was more than a house. The long corridors with the numerous, similar doors and tiny windows on them, marks the place as possibly an old hospital or maybe an asylum. Unfortunately, we don't find out anything more about the place, which is a bit disappointing. The picture on the cover of the book is from a painting on the wall in one of the large rooms, but again, we learn nothing more about. The male and the female character have an attraction to each other that seems to have just blossomed. The female in black looks on with jealously.

They find an old, hidden stairwell and begin to descend into darkness and this is when the true terror begins...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gusto on August 19, 2011
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I didn't find anything too compelling here in both story and artwork. I found the first half much more interesting than the last, when I was hoping it would be just the opposite. I was also hoping for a more supernatural story, but this is really just a cautionary tale about old staircases. It was over in 10 minutes, and I really can't recommend it. There is a reason you can buy it for 75 cents.
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3 friends decide to investigate an abandoned old derelict mansion in the middle of the woods. They walk about the massive, empty rooms admiring the beautiful architecture fused with the dilapidation of years to create it's own sense of gothic majesty. They then enter a room with a grim picture of an old man (the front cover painting) and one of them notices a sealed off though not well covered portal. They crawl into it and discover darkened and bleak corridors. It is here, in the deep underground darkness that they become separated and find their own challenges to overcome (or not). And in the darkness - are they alone?

Josh Simmons draws beautifully and manages to convey a strong sense of narrative without words in this short but satisfying graphic novel. Black and white, he uses black paper to convey an overwhelming claustrophobia and horror. I really enjoyed it and would recommend any fans of Thomas Ott and Shirley Jackson that they will not be disappointed, this is a haunted house story as good as any other.
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By Giampaolo Greco on October 14, 2008
This graphic novel is about three young persons, a man and two girls, exploring for fun a decrepit building in a remote abandoned village, until they loose their way back. At the beginning their stories intertwine in a lightly described juvenile experience of a budding attraction and its dynamics in a group of three: jealousy, exclusion, indifference, set in the bright light of a mysteriously empty nature. Soon though, the characters fall into three separate narrative lines, in which each one has to confront fear and despair alone. The simple wordless drawings make you feel their heart-beat rushing into terror and anger and then slowly, when hope fades, their breadth getting dimmer and halting. The way the flickering breadth of life is portrayed by repeating the same image again and again with subtle changes or by slowly reducing its size is masterly simple and effective. The darkness and the void, feelings of being lost, the unbreakable claustrophobia of being alone in confronting your own destiny. These emotions are narrated without words and well, it's worth to pay attention.
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I had originally seen an advertisement for this book in Rue-Morgue Magazine. The ad didn't say much other than that a small group of teens explores an abandoned hospital and discovers it's depths which take them deeper and deeper into darkness. It also mentioned that this book did not have any words, only pictures. I ordered the book and sat down with it as soon as it arrived. I didn't put it down until I had finished it. I have to admit, I didn't think that I would be attracted to this type of book. I loved it. Also, I recently noticed that Rue-Morgue Magazine awarded this book with their graphic novel of the year award for 2007.
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