Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mignola

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Title: Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories
Volume: 1
Writer(s): Mike Mignola
Illustrator(s): Mike Mignola, Richard Corben, Duncan Fegredo, Mick McMahon and many more.
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Format: Paperback – Omnibus
Release Date: June 5th 2018
Pages: 368
Genre(s): Comics, Horror, Fantasy
ISBN13: 9781506706641
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Previously on Hellboy:
Hellboy Omnibus Volume 1: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola
Hellboy Omnibus Volume 2: Strange Places by Mike Mignola

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As part of Dark Horse Comics latest reprints, Hellboy received a heavenly treatment that will undoubtedly help introduce the character to new readers, but also allow longtime fans an opportunity to dive into the dark and mythical world of Mike Mignola without having to figure out where to start and what to read next. This new line of omnibuses features a total of four hefty volumes that recollects the story of Hellboy and his adventures 50 years after his occult birth and all the special paranormal missions he was sent on as an agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) in New York. Alongside these four volumes, two extra volumes recollecting short stories that highlight Hellboy’s time prior to the original comic book run are also released and this right here is the first of those two volumes.

The fun thing about Hellboy is that he has faced an outstanding number of creatures throughout his career. The adventures he’s had throughout his career are however not explored in the main series. Most of the things he’s seen and dealt with are things of the past, and some of them do however find themselves haunting him here and then countless years later. In this first omnibus that collects 16 stand-alone stories of Hellboy, readers get to experience some of the dangers that have haunted many, and solved only by the B.P.R.D., and especially by Hellboy himself. With the collaboration of so many different writers/artists, Mike Mignola offers us a look at some stories that rose him and his collaborators to fame, such as “Hellboy in Mexico”, “The Crooked Man”, “Double Feature of Evil”, “The Corpse” and many more. These adventures that take place between 1947 and 1961 give fans an even deeper look at Hellboy and his problem-solving skills.

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Unlike the main storyline where it sometimes can get quite hard to understand what’s going on with all the lore being thrown at the reader quickly and without guidance, these short stories are a lot easier to follow. Each story doesn’t necessarily follow each other, but they all have a structure that has a start and an ending. In fact, each of them teases us of the occurrence of a strange phenomenon somewhere in the world with details on what the whole mystery is about, with of course a touch of supernatural. Hellboy is usually always the one that has to deal with it, and while he arrives on the site hoping that there’s nothing wrong, he’ll quickly realize that things will always go to the dogs when he’s called upon. And in his case, it might not necessarily be dogs, but most ly vampires, zombies, ghosts and what not. The mythology in each story that’s incorporated and adapted by Mike Mignola within his own universe is truly entertaining and there’s always something ugly that ends up going head-to-head with Hellboy. And let me tell you, it always ends with an exchange of fists that never leaves anything undisturbed.

What I truly appreciated about this collection is the number of different collaborators on it. While Mike Mignola’s artwork will always be iconic and associated to Hellboy, it’s the various different take by different artists that makes this such a unique experience. One of my favourite artwork was done by Duncan Fegredo in the short story called “The Midnight Circus”. The story features a young Hellboy (see the picture below with all the monkeys and lion) who wishes to be treated equally among humans and runs away into a mysterious circus where haunting yet beautiful things occur. The fact that the artwork varies from one story to another really makes it easier for the reader to appreciate the story and the art while never finding themselves bored or overwhelmed by a particular style. Although, I have to say that being bored might be a bit tough with Hellboy’s short and sharp humour always kicking in.

This first omnibus collecting short stories is definitely a lovely look at Hellboy’s earlier adventures, but also all the humour, mythology and horror that embodies his very life as a half-demon.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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Hellboy: Sword of Storms is the first animated Hellboy movie released in 2006! It’s loosely based on the comics by Mike Mignola, but you still get Ron Perlman as the voice actor behind Hellboy!

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22 comments

  • So, an animated movie. Was it worth watching? The trailer makes me want to go out and watch it RIGHT NOW! but I’ve learned that sometimes trailers aren’t quite honest. I know, shocking right?

    And I just checked and my library has Storm of Swords but not Blood & Iron.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately, I can’t answer that since I haven’t seen it. I’m saving the live-action and animated movies for after I read the whole omnibus collection, even if you most likely don’t need to since it looks like it’s loosely based on the comics (or barely…). Based on what I’ve heard of the animated movies though, it seems like they’re pretty good but didn’t get the amount of praise that it should have (underrated, in other words). Sort of stole my punch with Blood & Iron there! I was going to feature that one in my next Hellboy review hahah I don’t know why your library doesn’t have it though. Maybe they didn’t know, or just assumed that it wouldn’t be popular enough based on the amount of times Sword of Storms got requested.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Paul. He’s definitely a fascinating and bad-ass character, but he’s not easy to appreciate in his comic book stories (it’ll take some time). Ideally, I would have said the first volume of his original run (Seed of Destructions) would be the place to start, but based on my own experience, I don’t think that volume alone would ever be enough for anyone to appreciate the character and his story. The best option would definitely be the first omnibus I reviewed also called Seed of Destructions. The omnibus edition contains the first couple of volumes of the main series, making it much easier to have a better idea of the character. Hopefully when you get the chance to explore Hellboy, you’ll find something to enjoy in all the things he goes through! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • One really has to love these reprints they are doing. Dark Horse really has released some very high quality products over the past few months 😊 The art for this looks incredible, but as I mentioned previously I know I won’t be getting into this anytime soon: just a little bit too much other stuff that I still need to catch up with. Stil…it looks amazing and as always this was a terrific post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep! They have some of the best series/stories out there, alongside Image Comics and IDW. Totally understand, and I doubt I’ll be able to convince you to jump into Hellboy’s universe anytime soon too. It really has to take some sort of personal immediate interest to want to try these out. Maybe the soon-to-release live-action reboot of his movies will make you want you see what his original story was like. Who knows. 😀 Thanks for ready as always, Michel!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dark Horse really is a great publisher. The Star Wars comics license they had produced some of the greatest storylines ever created for that universe. Not saying that Marvel isn’t doing a good job with the current line of comics, but Dark Horse was much better at it.
        Well, I really do love the character of Hellboy, but it’s more that I still have so many things lying around, that I just don’t want to add yet another thing to my endless list lol 😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ve had the chance to read some of those Star Wars Dark Horse comics myself! They really are something huh? I haven’t had the chance to see the Marvel line-up nowadays, but the Dark Vader one did get a lot of praise though. 😮 Have you ready many of the Dark Horse or Marvel Star Wars comics?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Absolutely. My favorite Dark Horse comics line is Dark Empire. With the coming of the new movies, it’s unfortunately not canon anymore, but it’s probably the best Star Wars comic series that I have ever read, and one that I highly recommend.
            As for Marvel…well…to date I own all the new comics that Marvel has released since they took over the license…erm..yeah…those are a lot of comics lol. Haven’t read them all yet though😊😊

            Liked by 1 person

  • This does look quite good! I have to say I’m not a Hellboy fan by any means but I can appreciate a good comic 🙂

    Lots of collaborators in one book can be quite hit or miss for me… It’s not even that I require a homegenous style, sometimes a mash up of very different styles is actually much better, but it can also feel like a messy quilt made by someone’s blind grandma 😂

    It’s nice that each story can be appreciated individually and is easy to follow along. For non-fans, that would certainly pose as a problem.

    I’m really happy you enjoyed this one, Lashaan, and of course I’m always looking forward to your thorough and incredibly insightful reviews, which this one was no exception! Keep up the amazing work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being open-minded is definitely a formidable quality. 😉 I wouldn’t say that Hellboy would be at the top of my recommendation list, but it definitely has a wonderful world to explore and enjoy if it piques one’s curiosity (all the Lovecraftian, horror stuff, mixed with humour/sarcasm).

      Oh no, I totally understand, but it really depends on what the volume was meant to be. If it’s supposed to be one consistent story-arc, then it’s rare that I’d ever like seeing the artwork suddenly change (which was in fact the case for one of the comic books I’ve recently read and will be reviewing hahah). It was a lot easier to appreciate the change here since each story wasn’t necessarily following each other.

      Thanks as always for your incredibly kind words, Sophie. Don’t know where you find all that kindness. Only explanation is the presence of a pretty big heart. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I actually want to try Lovecraft sometime soon, possibly on Halloween. It’s one of those authors I keep hearing about but don’t know very well, which is a shame…

        Aw, stop it you! I just happen to know some awesome bloggers who make my job super easy, is all 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  • I like the idea of the short stories. Many battles and creatures from Hellboy’s past are referred to in the main story. Yet never any detail. Love the depth the short stories bring. I loved the movies. Maybe some creatures from the past will be in the future movie. ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. It’s really fun to see how these characters/creatures for all kinds of folklore are merged into Hellboy’s universe and teased here and there. The short stories really help, you know, flesh some of them out, but especially to have fun with Hellboy’s character. Oh, with today’s technology, I’m really curious to see what they plan on doing in the new Hellboy movie to come! 😀

      Like

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