Hellboy fans have plenty of reason to give thanks this week as Dark Horse releases a hardcover collection of Hellboy: Weird Tales Volumes 1 and 2. Is it good?
Hellboy: Weird Tales Hardcover (Dark Horse Comics)
Of course it’s good. It’s a collection of short Hellboy tales from a plethora of comic’s greatest writers and artists. The only drawback to this volume is that there’s no real cohesiveness to the stories. That’s obviously to be expected with this type of anthology, but the mythology and evolving interactions within the Mignola’s universe is one of its best aspects.
Think of it this way: A typical story in the Hellboy universe is presented like a gourmet dinner, filled with various courses that all lead to a well-planned and satisfying experience. This anthology, on the other hand, is more like a box of chocolates: A variety of exotic flavors varying from incredible to average depending on your tastes.
What sets this anthology apart from others, however, is the lack of coconut filling…in other words none of the stories suck. Even the ones that didn’t really hit the mark with me were still enjoyable on some level (and were over after just a few pages). But the great ones…oh man…there is some really good stuff in here.
Below are a few of the ones that stood out for me:
Baba Yaga’s Feast: Mignola spins a truly warped and twisted fairy tale complimented perfectly by Guy Davis’ pencils.
Midnight Cowboy: A hilarious tale from Hellboy’s youth that is both lighted hearted fun and a bit terrifying.
Hot: The story Randy Stradley is good, but jaw dropping artwork by Seung Kim is what really shines in this one.
Stillborn: Limited dialogue doesn’t keep this one from delivering a story that is equal parts terrifying and heartbreaking.
The Dread Within: A much appreciated look at things from Liz Sherman’s point of view, sprinkled with just the right amount of dark humor along with a heaping helping
Downtime: Anyone who has a break room with a mischievous copier and/or drink machine will love this one.
Professional Help: You’ll laugh and cry at the same time.
Keep in mind these are just my favorites. For another reader, they could very well be different. All of them, however, are well crafted and short. If you’re looking for a perfect sampler of Hellboy goodness, this is where you need to start.