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Cress: Come on, Poet. Dazzle us with one of your eloquent theories about why we're stuck here and why little Rina-bean gets to leave this sinkhole instead of me. Men always have theories about everything.
—Issue 1, "The First Drink's On The House."
Bethany "Fig" Keeler is running away from her burning house and the two figures who are chasing her. In her hands are the plans for the house of her dreams -- not her dream house, but the house of her literal dreams, the titular House of Mystery. Once she gets there, she not only finds that it's being used as a sort of interdimensional pub house, but that she can't leave as well.
There are other occupants of the House that can't leave, either: Harry, the bartender, Cressida, the melodramatic waitress, Ann Preston, the pirate queen bouncer, and Poet, a Purple Prose spouting poet and short-order cook. A previous occupant, Rina, just left via a mysterious coachman. The patrons of the House of Mystery can come and go as they please (to all their various worlds, magical or otherwise), but they can't even get back out the front gate.
An interesting comic from Vertigo by Matthew Sturges (Jack Of Fables) and Bill Willingham (Fables) that combines an overall storyarc with an anthology, since all the patrons of the House of Mystery have to pay with stories. Strongly connected to The Sandman. The series lasted for 42 issues (July, 2008-December, 2011) and two Annuals.
- Alien Geometries
- Anthology Comic: With a twist!
- Big Bad: The Conception almost certainly, and possibly Cain as well
- Cain and Abel: The versions from The Sandman. They make a short appearance in the beginning, where it turns out that Cain's home, the House of Mystery, has mysteriously vanished.
- They also appear again and again, as Cain tries to find his house.
- Later on, Cain reclaims the house as co-owner with Fig, reluctantly allowing it to remain an inn.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The Thinking Man, Cain.
- Cloudcuckoolander: "You're being prepared for a journey. A journey that will take you through the space between where you'll take on a race of magical time-traveling aliens who want to remake the universe as an infinite work of art. Or, you know, something like that. The ham's not always specific."
- Comedic Sociopathy: Almost half the cast.
- Completely Missing the Point: Played with: Jordan's story is about how he was almost late for work because he put on the wrong shoes. What he fails to mention is his world is filled with giant bugs, dragons, homeless zombies, Elder Gods and vampire cats, but he did mention that he was a terrible story-teller.
- Hungry Sally appears oblivious to the fact that she can't regain her figure by eating because her maggot offspring ripped her insides out.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Genevieve started out like this (admittedly as somewhat of a Deadpan Snarker as well) when she first pursued various Cresses on various worlds, until she finally got a few, then proceeded to start dating as many as she possibly could, only to get caught. Yet another reason why the Cress of this story may be so grumpy.
- Ann also has one, who turns out to be a dragon.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Daphne, a witch princess.
- Face Full of Alien Wingwong: See below, re: "The Hollows." Also, Miranda and the Bete Noir.
- Face Heel Turn: Rina, who leads the Thinking Man's Army and Administrator Ceorel right to the House in exchange for the Conception to improve her homeworld. Is later Driven to Suicide when she decides that people like her don't deserve to live in the better world, only for Administrator Ceorel to reveal to the Thinking Man he made none of the changes she asked for.
- Gargle Blaster: "Okay, here's your 'Something With A Lot of Alcohol In It.' That's the actual name of the drink, and I should add that if you drink more than two, you'll probably die."
- Genius Loci: The House itself.
- With Harry as the place given human form.
- Inn Between the Worlds: apparently one of several, all created by a race of people who can travel between worlds at will. Both Fig and her father are members of this race.
- In Soviet Russia, Trope Mocks You: "In Hell...the bacon eats you!" Said by Ann.
- Jerkass: Cress, although since everyone she's ever loved has died or turned into a monster, she may be somewhat justified.
- Also Fig's Dad, who's a Deadpan Snarker pathological liar who is described by his daughter as a "giant, gaping, manipulative douchebag."
- Magic Versus Science: Daphne's people are at war with the "Thinking-Man's Army," who appear to be robots.
- Magnificent Bastard: Johnny Spats
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: "Fucking vampire cats!"
- Also Jordan's idea for a movie, which featured a gorilla ninja (or ninjorilla) who is also a pirate captain and an astronaut fighting dinosaur wizards in space as well as zombies, robots, his Soviet twin brother, and Hitler. And it's only the first movie in a trilogy...
- Jordan mentions ninja pirate zombie robots a lot.
- Ontological Mystery
- Pirate Girl: Ann Preston
- Spin-Off: Though the House of Mystery title predates it, the Vertigo imprint reboot borrows (the Vertigo version of) Cain from The Sandman.
- Well, Sandman borrowed Cain from The House of Mystery in the first place, but yes, his role in this title plays with elements of the character introduced by Gaiman.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: the captions on the story "The Thirteenth Hour," which constantly insist that there is no truth to the claim that various landmarks in San Francisco have any occult meaning at all (given that this is accompanied with images of monsters destroying the world, this is somewhat doubtful).
- The Voice
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Enrico Canepazzo is the world's greatest living process server.