by Mike Mignola with John Byrne
reviewed by Shawn Reynolds
I love oversized hardcovers. The art envelops you in a way trades or a single issue comic just can’t. You can easily fall into the story and become a part of the action. It is analogous to seeing a movie in a theater versus seeing it at home (at least this is true for those of us who don’t have a fancy widescreen plasma TV). Last week volume one of the Hellboy Library Edition came out and I took notice.
As shocking as it may be, I have never read any Hellboy or for that matter anything by Mike Mignola. That’s not to say that I haven’t drooled over his books. I love his art style, but for whatever reason I just never picked up Hellboy. But I could not resist a fancy new hardcover that contains not one story, but two (volume one includes "Seed of Destruction" and "Wake the Devil"). There is also a section of sketches in the back with commentary by Mignola.
So far I’ve only had a chance to read "Seed of Destruction". The story is basically about the mystery surrounding the Cavendish family. You are introduced to an unusual cast of characters: Hellboy, Elizabeth Sherman and Abe Sapien. The more you find out about them, the more you want to find out about them. Anytime one of your questions is answered it brings to light even more questions. It is the perfect first story arc. It has a balanced mix of history and fantasy. I’ve always enjoyed stories about World War II. I think that is one of the reasons I enjoy Indiana Jones.
The art in the book is beautiful. It is somber and dark which fits the mood of the story perfectly. I love Mignola’s line work. It is rough and elegant at the same time. It feels immediate yet intentional. The colors (done by Mark Chiarello) pop, especially against the black page.
I look forward to delving even farther into the world of Hellboy. The previews for Hellboy II: The Golden Army look awesome. And Dark Horse is putting out a Hellboy book for Free Comic Book Day, which is May 3rd in case you haven’t heard us mention it. FCBD is going to tons of fun!