When Hellboy burst on to the comics scene, I was immediately thrilled.
First, I knew someone would eventually make the connection and I’d have a bad-ass nickname.
Second, ignola’s art and unsettling atmosphere + demon baby + giant hand of doom = Yes Please.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 – The Phantom Hand & The Kelpie has two stories in it – both from Hellboy’s youth, both set in England, and both with the typical horror and comedy elements we expect from Big Red.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 – The Phantom Hand & The Kelpie (Dark Horse)
The first of these stories works in the standard Hellboy story set: Creepy s--t is happening, Hellboy shows up, s--t gets real. As this is a pre-teen Hellboy (and HUGE for his age) he tends to lead with his face when investigating said creepy s--t:
Ever since they cancelled Addams Family, Thing has been picking up guest roles.
For those of you that are not as familiar with ‘ol Horn Head, In the first story we see him get the usual treatment from the creepy creature: namely, he gets the snot beat out of him. For pages.
Hellboy’s super power is really taking a punch more than anything. Well…and being the creature that will end the world, blah blah blah, but still.
Hellboy takes more shots to the face than a Rocky Movie Marathon.
The benefit of the 1953 stories, is we get to see young Trevor Bruttenholm, in his paranormal prime, investigating right alongside his young and dumb protege.
The second story builds on Trevor’s backstory, with a touching tale of Trevor’s first paranormal investigation involving this lovely creature:
“Nice horsie! Want a carrot? My undying soul?”
Is It Good?
Hell yes. (I had to. I’m so sorry)
The double feature is great. There’s action up front, some spooky reflection in the rear, and if you’ve never read a page of Hellboy — this is not a bad place to start. The wider lore and backstory isn’t needed but if you enjoy it, this might be your ticket to the big backlog.