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House of Penance, the comic meets history – Review

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Published on Mar 14, 2018

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When I read a comic, you are always looking for the spark that started the creative process of the author, the first step towards the birth of the comic. When I heard the name House of penance, the title of the comic book Peter J. Tomasi has done the re-emergence of an old reading about the places ‘weird‘ in America, that for americans is their folklore.

The House of Penance referenced in the comic, published in Italy by Oscar Ink actually exists, as well as the history itself, that the soul of this unusual graphic novel has a historical root of trust, recently also revived at the cinema with The widow Winchester.

The Winchester House, the house of penance, know that in this volume, is a building that was built in the city of San Jose by Sarah Pardee Winchester between 1884 and 1922.

This mansion is the entry in the american myth, because his work was carried on continuously under the guidance of the widow Winchester, who in the space of a few years lost before the adored daughter of Annie and then her husband, William Winchester, son of the founder of the famous factory of arms.

This series of bereavements brought the woman to the madness, as we might say today, a state of mind which convinced her that her family was cursed, a sentence which would escape only if he had done penance for all the pain and death brought into the world by the weapons Winchester, thanks to the influence not just reliable of a spiritualist.

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Inevitable that a figure like this particular, the victim of a similar story to become fertile ground for a contemporary legend. Tomasi has chosen to tell the story of this tragic figure, taking of freedoms, in particular from the chronological point of view, without, however, affecting the essential element of the figure of Sarah Pardee Winchester's madness.

House of Penance has as its centerpiece a particular vision of madness, or better perception of the madness. The behavior of the Winchester is definitely beyond every limit is understandable, as is his company.

A woman that has been taken away everything from life, all that remains is madness, we could think of. And yet, She chooses instead to believe in his mission of redemption, penance for the sins of his family.

And no matter whether even his own sister to see her as crazy, she hears his call, he sees it on a daily basis, to the point of being almost physically tormented.

In the give depth to the historical dimension, Tomasi uses this evocative combination of history and story popular to give to the House of Penance, a base narrative from ghost story, with an influence of the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe that you can breathe in the dialogues and in the construction of some sequences.

The complicated relationship of family between the Winchester and its employees, all ex-criminals or men with a violent past, is a dynamic element intriguing, a powder keg waiting to explode, giving the story a sense of inescapable, creating in the reader an expectation of emotional that grows with the reading. The arrival of the assassin Warren Peck, is the element of rupture that sets in motion the process that will lead to fulfillment an inner journey as much of the killer because of the woman.

The madness of the House of Penance is balanced perfectly by the poignant delicacy of the monologues of Winchester and to the spirits of his loved ones, as opposed to its vaneggiamenti delusional in some tables seem to explode rabid and without apparent reasons, understandable only to those who feel a moral imperative that grips the soul.

At certain points, the floor in the dreamlike and delirious merges with reality, pushing the reader into a spiral in which the depth of the narrative Tomasi becomes explosive, thanks to the talents of Ian Bertram to the designs and colors of Dave Stewart.

House of Penance manages to convey this feeling of fatality, and delirium thanks to the plates that bend the perspective, making the interior of the Winchester House in order to make us feel in the maze of a distorted view of Sarah. Given the nature of the building, Bertram shows us dead-end corridors and stairs improbable, a nightmare of architecture that reflects the mind of the woman.

The characters of House of penance, are represented by strokes, often unreal, but that reflect the character, emphasizing their emotions and the vicissitudes to which they are subject. Particularly striking Sarah, whose apparent alienation is reflected in a face inhuman, disproportionate and dominated by the two eyes of the gigantic, which show the depth of his madness.

The colors of Stewart so vivid and rich shades are the finishing touch of a graphic novel that manages to convey all the force of its narrative at every table. Smart also the use of onomatopoeia, with the beating of hammers echoes always in the house, so similar to the sound of the gunfire of the weapons that have cursed the family Winchester. A reminder for Sarah, and for the workers, that their violent past becomes now a present of atonement.

Oscar Ink manufactures the mini-series of Dark Horse in an elegant volume, solid, and graphically satisfying with an attention to detail and a solidity that makes uncomfortable reading this volume, 176 pages.

The House of Penance is a perfect remake of a classic popular american legend that leads to a story, a narrative that seems to have piqued the authors with in these years, as we have found in Manifest Destiny.

Read the House of Penance is an experience that is challenging and fulfilling, capable of influencing as a ghost story and excite with a finish that is extremely cathartic.

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