Book 5 – “Conqueror Worm”
Book 6 – “Strange Places”
Book 7 – “The Troll Witch and Others” with art by P. Craig Russell and Richard Corben
Book 8 – “Darkness Calls” with art by Duncan Fegredo
Book 9 – “The Wild Hunt” with art by Duncan Fegredo
A while ago I read the first 4 volumes of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy series and really liked a lot of aspects of it! I’m not sure why I ever stopped, but seeing as I was planning on making a Hellboy cosplay outfit for some expos/Halloween later this year, I figured I should get back into it! So these 5 volumes were the ones I managed to snag from my sister, and I have to say, I do still very much enjoy this character and his stories.
For the most part, these volumes all follow one major arc for Hellboy, coming to terms with his identity and various prophecies or roles people want him to play in their grand scheme of the end of the world. Yet there are also little side quests and adventures thrown in there too, which are always very fun yet all too brief. Most of the iconography and mythology within the Hellboy series comes from various myths and legends of different cultures around the world. I like these volumes that I have been reading, for before each new addition or story there is a little explanation of the inspiration and making-of from Mike Mignola, which is both interesting to see the process but also illuminates the inspiration for some of the stories and the original tale behind it.
Overall the story is engaging and mystical: you never really know what’s going to come into play, and there are a few oddities to it too. Sometimes I get a little confused, partially because of the story itself and sometimes the artwork is a bit vague (though I do completely understand the difficulty in trying to visually tell a story and all the work that goes into its creation), and there is some ambiguity to the words and what some of the far-reaching implications may be that leave me at a loss. But overall, the art in itself is really beautiful and has a particular dark but emotive style to it which always draws me in: the various artists who contribute all have their own little flavor and quirks, but in general it stays pretty consistent to the mood and characters.
As far as the character of Hellboy goes, I really like him because, despite being the child of a demon and a witch and not-per-say human… I find his personality to be very relatable and real. He’s dry but funny, reluctant to face his destiny, and has a big heart that just wants to do good. There is a lot of boom-crash-smash-smash which isn’t always my style, but I do love that he’s a no-holds-barred Nazi-puncher! (Just like one of my other favourites, Captain America! A trend?)
So at the end of the day, I know some people may not like the art style or the large focus on monster mythology that the Hellboy series engages in, but for me, it’s perfect. Definitely a story and character I will need to keep reading in the future.