Mignola on Hellboy in Hell

Mike Mignola has an awesome interview up on Newsarama.  In it he talks about the direction that Hellboy in Hell is going to take over the next 10 issues, the structure of Hell, his relation to Satan, and so much more.

He calls this his “most important book.”

I’m impressed so far, and can’t wait for the title to reveal more and more of Hell!

Mike Mignola on Newsarama.

B.P.R.D.: Vampire #1 (March – 2013 – Dark Horse)

B. P. R. D.: Vampire #1

Mike Mignola might just be the busiest comic writer alive. His name is on no less than 4 titles from Dark Horse right now. It is increasingly apparent that he has become the face of Dark Horse and the evolution of B.P.R.D. from its humble Hellboy roots to a must-have in every horror buffs pull.

B.P.R.D. (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Development) Vampire is a direct follow up to the series B.P.R.D.: 1948. It is post WWII and Professor Trevor Bruttenholm has moved the relatively new agency from a New Mexico air base to its eventual home at a mansion in Fairfield Connecticut. Hellboy is just a scrap of a lad at this point. The mythology and backstory of B.R.P.D is getting a serious fleshing out by Mignola and his mates Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá.

I really enjoy the way Mignola and DH present this property. B.P.R.D. became a monthly book after several mini-series but DH has never abandoned the idea of mini-series by doing spin-offs. I enjoy being able to obliquely re-enter the Mignolaverse occasionally, like visiting an old friend. It also keeps DH in my regular pull, which seems a lot smarter way of competing with the new 52 multi issue arc madness, currently clogging it up.

Along with this mini-series is a second publication, Abe Sapien which I am completely jazzed about picking up on Wednesday. Abe is hands down my favorite B.P.R.D./Hellboy character although Johann Krauss runs a very close second. Hopefully either Gabriel or I can squeeze out a review of it but just in case, you heard it here. We know, it’s AWESOME! (Yes we do!! -gl)

No surprises artistically, Moon and Bá are back and inking their cool style we expect from these books. The story here though, is Dave Stewart. Stewart has become one of the industry’s best colorists. Using a color palette that is more Mark Rothko than comic style, he paints these pages in an almost Mondrian-like way, using gradients to their fullest extent and blocking out complimentary colors for a visually pleasing feel. You can see the impact in the noted lack of dialogue throughout; very smart, very artistic and very pleasing to the eye.

In Vampire, we are getting a better look at minor character, Simon Anders. The writers give us some casual hints about his true nature, well, it is called Vampire and I’m only guessing here but… I am intrigued with the story though, it starts with a wooded scene involving a couple vampires (no duh!). The story is paced a lot slower than I would expect from an issue #1 with very little reveal. I have to say though; I am intrigued to see how it plays out and am anxious for issue #2. Mignola, Moon, Bá and Stewart are building a mood in which to tell their tale. My guess is it’s a vampire hunter’s tale and uh, yeah, give me lots of that please!

B.P.R.D Vampire issue #1 (of 5) is currently available from Dark Horse Comics.

Next Time:  Morbius: The Living Vampire #3

js

Hellboy: In Hell #2 (January – 2013 – Dark Horse)

Hellboy: In Hell #2

Hellboy continues his journey into the depths of hell.  Led by one of the three apparitions that is supposed to visit him and take him through to the bottom.  The first stop is Pandemonium, formerly the seat of power in Hell.  Where he is taken to see his throne, his crown and his ring of power, but the place is strangely empty.  Because all of the princes, knights and dukes of Hell have all fled, knowing that Hellboy that is on the way.  But Hellboy wants none of it, he makes it clear again that there is nothing that he wants less than to take the throne of Hell.  He wants to move on but not before the spirit suggests that he sneak into the depths of Pandemonium and kill the sleeping Satan.  Which he does.  Then taking the arm of the spirit they move.

The second spirit comes and takes him to the river Cocytus, wherein dwell the souls of the damned.  Not real horrible people.  Just the normal damned, those who just didn’t live good lives.  From that river the Fisher of Souls pulls them out, and on his anvil molds them into figures of soldiers.  Warriors in the army of Hell that only Hellboy can raise to defeat both Heaven and Earth.  Again Hellboy indicates that he wants nothing to do with the power that could be his, so they move again, and the spirit has a truly haunting place to take Hellboy.

The place where he is born, and through the spirit Hellboy watches his own birth, and the attachment of his arm.  He gets to hear his father’s hopes and dreams for him, and when he snaps out of the vision there is someone there to welcome him home.  His brother.

Just like the first issue, it uses the structure of A Christmas Carol to move Hellboy through the depths of his birthplace, and through the depths of the things that have molded who he is.  In some ways it also seems to almost mirror the story of Christ’s temptation by the Devil, as both refuse the power given to them by their adversaries.  Mignola has this title nailed.  Hellboy is everything that he could be and should be as he ventures deeper and deeper into Hell, and the sparse artwork combines with Dave Stewart’s shifting color pallets (which use a different scheme for each location that Hellboy is in) to create a truly haunting book.  It continues to be excellent, and I don’t doubt for a second that it will be amazing till the end.

Next Time:  Creepy #11

gl

Hellboy: In Hell #1 (December – 2012 – Dark Horse)

Hellboy: In Hell #1

Hellboy is dead, and when you are the son of the Devil you go to Hell when you die.  Well in this case The Abyss, which is kind of like a Hell’s waiting room full of bugs.  I haven’t read Hellboy in quite some time, so the reasons why he dies, aren’t known to me past the brief bit of exposition about it at the start of the issue, but frankly that is all you need to be sucked into the story.  You don’t even need that, you mostly just need to know that Hellboy is dead and on his way into Hell.

Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart have created what may be the most beautifully sparse issues of Hellboy I have ever seen.  The panels are black black black, with muted heavy grays, browns, and strange greens and purples.  It really truly gives the feel of an other worldly place.  A spirit has followed Hellboy into the Abyss and aids him in fighting off giant Lovecraftian insects, only to then be confronted by an old enemy Eligos.  The two of them escape to a seperate place where the spirit says that it can bind Eligos.  Hellboy is cast away from the place so the spirit can do its work and finds himself in front of a puppet show of A Christmas Carol, conveniently setting a framework for the next issue.

This is a hauntingly beautiful looking book, and the tone of it is fairly somber, even the sarcastic shtick that is the trademark of Hellboy is seemingly muted (maybe I’m just projecting that into the book), he has some one lines but largely he is questioning, almost lost or out of his element.  This feels like it is going to be Mignola’s Inferno, like he if finally at a place where Hellboy can make a truly spectacular journey into who and what he is (ideas that have been explored fairly deeply over the course of the comic, but that can always be dug deeper into).  I like the feel of it so far, and I hope that it takes the direction that it seems to be taking.  This book truly excites me.  I have nothing but gushing compliments for it.

I feel like a true testament to how good a book is, is if you want to go back and read all of the old issues.  This makes we want to dig deep and start collecting from the very beginning of Hellboy.  I want to take that journey again, I want to move from semi super hero fighting alongside the B.P.R.D. to what looks to be the start of a very personal journey, all alone, into the depths of Hell.  This is just superb and I can’t wait to spend more time in Hell.

Next Time: Morbius: The Living Vampire #2