September 27th, 2011



I know this is going to sound crazy, but I've never read Hellboy. I loved the 2004 Guillermo del Toro film (but hated the 2008 sequel), and yet I never picked up the actual comics. Until now, anyway.

One of the many benefits of moving in with someone is that your library grows twice as big, and in that expansion one might find many new and wonderful things to read. Case in point, Alexa collected Hellboy graphic novel collections for a while and has about half a dozen of them in her possession. Today I picked up the first collection, Seed of Destruction, by Mike Mignola and John Byrne.

I was surprised to discover it's quite different from the movie in a lot of ways, but I really enjoyed it anyway. The art is simply amazing, and the story includes so many of my favorite things--monsters! black magic! paranormal investigation! fights! more monsters!--that I couldn't help falling immediately in love with it. Mignola and Byrne's debt to Lovecraft is enormous and on full display. We've got secret rites to open a gateway to another dimension and bring back colossal, evil godlike entities who once ruled the Earth, here called the Ogdru Jahad; we've got frogmen like right out of Innsmouth; and we've got the Sadu-Hem, servant of the Ogrdu Jahad and their foothold in our world, a creature that looks a lot like Lovecraft's description of the Elder Things, only bigger and more tentacular.

Did I mention monsters? There are lots of them, including Hellboy himself, a wisecracking demon with anger issues and a right hand that, for some reason he doesn't know, is made out of stone. In one of the short comics in the back of the collection, Hellboy fights a gorilla that's being mind controlled by a Nazi head in a jar. How can I not love this?

I will definitely be reading more of Hellboy. I just wish I hadn't waited so long to start!