Haunted Mansion #7
Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Laugh? I Thought I’d Die! And other stories
A comedian comes to Gracey Manor, and the secret of Ghost #1000 is explored.
Writers: Jon Hastings, Chris Reilly, Steve Ahlquist & Dan Vado
Art: Jon Morris, Stephanie Freese, Chris Grine, Drew Rausch
Letters: Eleanor Lawson
Editor: Jennifer de Guzman
Cover Art: Drew Rausch
Publisher: Slave Labor Graphics
Slave Labor’s wonderful Haunted Mansion anthology returns this month with four new stories, including the beginning of a new serial. “Laugh? I Thought I’d Die” by Jon Hastings and Jon Morris is first. In this mostly wordless story, a jokester named Ezra Gasser passes away, only to find he brings an unexpected quality to the Happy Haunts of Gracey Manor. Chris Reilly, Steve Ahlquist and Stephanie Freese follow with “On a Tight Rope,” which gives the backstory behind the famous “Stretching Room” painting of the girl on the tightrope dangling precarious inches above a pack of starving crocodiles. This is a really clever story, taking the girl – a seeming victim here – and turning the story on its ear.
In “3 of a Kind” by Reilly, Ahlquist and Chris Grine, we again see the backstory of a stretching room portrait, the three men slowly sinking into quicksand. The trio of compulsive gamblers follow their vice into the depths, and like many of the ghosts of Gracey, may not even realize when their time has come.
Finally there’s the gem of the collection, “The Misery of the Manse Part I,” which picks up on a storyline that concluded last issue. Gracey Manor has long been the home of 999 spirited spooks. The question has always lingered, however, what would happen if a 1,000th ghost moved in? The question, as answered by Dan Vado and Drew Rausch, is that the mansion itself would be swallowed up by the Earth, hurtled along on a mysterious journey. As the ghosts inside the mansion try to figure out what’s happening to them (a story that cleverly plays on the history of the Manor story Vado wrote in previous issues), the living people who saw it swallowed up investigate the same mystery, and one of them goes much further than you’d expect.
This is a very strong issue, particularly the final story, and fans of the Haunted Mansion will have plenty to make them come back for the next installement.