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Mystery Society Paperback – December 28, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steve Niles is one of the writers responsible for bringing horror comics back into prominence, and he currently works for the six top American comic publishers--Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, IDW Publishing, and Radical Comics. He is the creator of "30 Days of Night "and its six sequels, "Criminal Macabre", "Wake the Dead", "Alistair Arcane", "Freaks of the Heartland", and "The Lurkers "(all adapted or in development as feature films), and the writer of "Batman: Gotham After Midnight "and "Simon Dark". He lives in Los Angeles.

Andrew Ritchie is a historian who specializes in the history of the bicycle and bicycle racing. When doing research for his first book, [i]King of the Road[/i], he became intrigued by the life and struggles of Major Taylor, the unjustly forgotten African-American bicycle racer who was once, literally, the fastest bicycle rider in the world. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600107982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600107986
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Talvi TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this title and couldn't put it down once I started. It pays more than a little homage to mid century modern aesthetics, humor, dialogue, and setting (from the quirky TV Avengers to jingoistic 50s sci fi American gung ho military) but does so in a way that makes for a great story. To do so takes a special touch by both the storywriter and illustrator; both get it pitch perfect for me - fun but not silly, unique but not weird.

Nick and Anastasia own a failing mysteries bookstore and dream about what they would do if they had money to burn - and sure enough, they win the lottery and start the Mystery Society. This includes creating a secret home base, recruiting others (and those side characters are just as quirky and interesting!), and solving two major mystery arcs. The story is non linear and follows both the two main characters and two side characters as they solve their mysteries/challenges. Through it all, I kept having great memories of the late-1960s/early-1970s Bond with his wonderful gadgets and exotic locales (but without the annoying culture clash commentary). The dialogue was humorous but also with great pathos - we really got a sense of the characters and their dispositions. Heck, I even wanted to know more about the two side characters, Secret Skull and Verne (yes, THAT J. Verne), since their personalities were also so well defined. I also really appreciated that the author gave the illustrator room to create the story without an overabundance of thought bubbles. I also really liked the soft 1960s watercolor palette of the artwork - really beautiful and well done.

Honestly, I enjoyed just letting the tale unfold and the characters 'do their thing' without needing words to do so. In all, the combination of great storytelling, interesting characters, and superb illustrations make this a great read. It was great to have a graphic novel about mysteries that doesn't take itself too seriously but also keeps the tone just right.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
- "They call me... Secret Skull."
- "Really?"
- "I need a new name."
- "Seriously!"

So I haven't yet reached that level of fatigue where I've had it with putting Fiona Staples on a pedestal. As such, her and writer Steve Niles' MY?TERY SOCIETY (loved the question mark in place of the "S") is another comic book I say you should check out. This trade collection reprints the five issue run and presents as bonus material a 15-paged art gallery comprised of sketches, concept designs, and cover reproductions by Fiona Staples, as well as Ashley Wood's rough cover to issue #1.

This is Steve Niles' opting for a breezier approach to the horror genre. He takes it down several notches from the very grim doings in, say, 30 Days of Night Omnibus, Simon Dark VOL 01, and Criminal Macabre Omnibus Volume 1. In MYSTERY SOCIETY, the macabre and the twisty intrigue collide with a massive injection of fun.

It's as if Nick and Nora Charles had messed around with the occult and fought robots. Nick Hammond and Anastasia Collins are in love and fabulously wealthy and delight in trading repartee whether they're grocery shopping or sneaking into Area 51. Nick and Anastasia used to run a failing esoteric bookstore before they came into serious money. Since then they've founded the Mystery Society of which mission statement is to investigate odd phenomena to either prove or debunk, whichever way the respective cases fall out.
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Format: Paperback
Written originally for the Fantasy Literature review website Fanboy Friday! Comic Book and Graphic Novel Review Column

Mystery Society by Steve Niles (writer) and Fiona Staples (artist)

If you are looking for a light, funny read with beautiful art, you should check out Mystery Society by Steve Niles and Fiona Staples. The basic story sounds like it should be written seriously, but Niles turns to wit instead. The Mystery Society is a renegade group devoted to debunking myths (or verifying them), revealing military secrets, and exposing the lies of reporters (who have themselves been lied to, as one character points out). What’s amusing? The team includes not just psychic twin sisters with a mysterious secret and a woman bit by a ghoul who calls herself “Secret Skull,” but also the brain of Jules Verne housed in a robot body (with — I kid you not — a “butt jet”).

The relationship between the two main characters is what makes this book work so well. Nick Hammond and his wife Anastasia Collins talk like an old moneyed couple from a lost play by Oscar Wilde, but they are very much a modern nouveau riche pair with their recently acquired millions. Or perhaps the better comparison would be Dashiell Hammett’s noir novel The Thin Man and the wisecracking Nick and Nora Charles. With both male leads named Nick and the similarities between the couples so strong, I am almost surprised Anastasia’s name isn’t Nora. Their banter during dangerous missions is identical to their discussion over drinks. Everything is a laugh and not to be taken seriously.

Before becoming notorious leaders of the Mystery Society, they ran a used bookstore and lived above it in a small apartment: There they planned some really “like” cool stuff while “totally” high and giggly.
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