"Mr. Higgins Comes Home" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Mike Mignola
Illustrated by Warwick Johnson-Cadwell
2017, 56 Pages
Graphic novel released on October 18th, 2017
Professor J.T. Meinhardt and Mister Knox are vampire hunters. They aren’t particularly good at their job. That’s not going to stop them from targeting a huge festival of the undead at Castle Golga. Fortunately for them, they’re joined by the strange Mr. Higgins, who has been in the castle once before and has a very interesting secret.
There are some really great concepts at work in Mr. Higgins Comes Home, however they feel rushed and thrown together. This is partially due to the size of the book, clocking in at 56 pages. If this was a longer form graphic novel or a mini-series, it would have more room to breathe. As it stands, the two vampire hunters bumble through the adventure as little more than comedic relief in their own tale.
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I doubt that comedy was what writer Mike Mignola and artist Warwick Johnson-Cadwell were going for though. Part of this comes through in Johnson-Cadwell’s artwork, especially the designs for Meinhardt and Knox. The former looks like Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau while the latter is kind of like a human potato. They come across as very cartoonish.
That affects the book as a whole too. I will admit that I’m not a big fan of Johnson-Cadwell’s style. The figures are often positioned awkwardly, as if they were paper dolls positioned in a two-dimensional space. People are misshaped, with limbs that are too small or too large for the body.
The more I think on it, the more I wonder if this was intended to be a horror / comedy. There are several laugh-out-loud moments, several stemming from the fact that Mr. Higgins just wants to die. At one point, the three men are arguing about weapons and they find they only have one bullet between them. Higgins’ eyes light up because he hopes to use it on himself.
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Meinhardt and Knox are ineffective vampire killers and don’t actually do anything of substance. They’re lured to the castle into a certain trap because the head vampire asks them nicely and they’re too polite to say no. Once there, it’s Higgins that does all the real work, while the two of them run around hoping to avoid death.
Mr. Higgins Comes Home is definitely a unique vampire story. It’s unlike anything else I’ve read from Mike Mignola, but I’m not necessarily sure that’s a good thing. As a comedy, it’s not bad, almost like a bizarre Abbott & Costello routine. As a horror story, it leaves much to be desired.