Hellboy In Hell #1 Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Writer/artist: Mike Mignola
HELLBOY is dead. And he is going to Hell.
If you’ve been following the Hellboy series up to the latest issues (collected in The Storm And The Fury trade paperback), you’ll know that Hellboy buys it in the end, getting his heart ripped out by the evil witch Nimue who swore to drag him into Hell with her.
But wait. Just because he is dead, it doesn’t mean our big red friend’s story has ended. Well sure, he’s as dead as a doorknob in the “real” world (in which his former pals in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Development, or BPRD for short, have gone international), but his story continues with the brand new Hellboy In Hell series, where we will finally see what Hell has in store for the World’s Greatest (Dead) Paranormal Detective.
The best part is that Mignola himself is writing and drawing the book and character for the first time in almost half a decade.
Holding court during a panel at the recent San Diego Comic Con, Mignola spoke at length about his return to the character he created. “Hellboy In Hell will be a regular book – the first four issues are monthly, then we’ll do one-shots,” he said, adding that there will also be several stories featuring a much younger Hellboy working with the BPRD in the past.
Hellboy In Hell #1 really is everything you want a Hellboy book to be, with lots of action featuring the Big Red slugging it out with an old hammer-wielding foe and some large tentacle-y creatures while cracking his trademark one-liners; flying naked guys (don’t ask), and even a puppet show of A Christmas Carol thrown in for good measure. It’s an engaging, sometimes trippy read that highlights just how much Hellboy (and Mignola’s art) has been missed all this time.
If the recently released first issue is any indication, then throwing Hellboy into Hell is probably one of the best things to have happened to the character. Unconstrained by the trappings of the “real world”, it gives Mignola the opportunity to go wild with his imagination.
This new freedom also means he can do practically anything he wants without worrying about realism; including more fables or myths from other cultures, like he did with The Penanggalan short story, which was based on Malaysia’s own penanggalan ghost.
In an interview with Comic Book Resources (comicbookresources.com), Mignola said that the main characteristic for his “Hell” is that it’s made up of everything he wants to draw.
“(With Hellboy), when Hellboy went to Japan, Japan kind of had to look like Japan,” he said in the interview. “Everything (in Hellboy In Hell) is a distorted version. I don’t trip over things like, ‘How ... do you draw a Buddist temple?’ I can just make up my version of that. It’s very liberating to me as an artist.”
With the launch of Hellboy In Hell, BPRD surpassing 100 issues recently and a new title called BPRD: 1948 (focusing on the early days of the bureau), as well more Lobster Johnson and Edward Grey: Witch Hunter books coming up, it truly is an exciting time to be a Mignola-verse fan. – Michael Cheang
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