Writer: Mike Mignola
Artists: Richard Corben, Duncan Fegredo, Mick McMahon, Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá, Dave Stewart, Matt Hollingsworth, James Sinclair, Clem Robins, Pat Brosseau.
Editor: Scott Allie
Collection Design: Cary Grazzini & Justin Couch
Digital Art Technician: Christina McKenzie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Having never read a single Hellboy comic up until this volume, I’ll say right now that this is the best gift if you have somebody you want to know about Hellboy.
The short stories presented cover the earlier years of Hellboy’s existence, from the late 40’s, to the early 60’s, with a brief stint over the 80’s, and take the main character all over the world, in places such as Norway, Mexico, Ireland and Malaysia, dealing with monsters of their local folklores in ways only Hellboy can do: with punches and blows.
As an introduction to the to the so called Mignolaverse, the book works magnificently. From the first to the last, the stories ease you into the world of this character that, while familiar to those who have watched the movies, has much more to offer when not restrained to a Hollywood budget and standards.
As for favorite stories, I’m divided between the lyrical Midnight Circus, the collection of stories set in Mexico, or the award winning Crooked Man. This last one, set deep into the Apalachia, tales a tale about witches and their craft, deals with the devil and christian faith in a mixture that would fit right into an old school country song.
If I haven’t stressed this enough, here it goes again: this book is a find. The stories are a treat if you’re already a fan of the big red guy, and the perfect introduction if you have never heard of him before. The sketchbook pages are the cherry on the top, if you like the backstage details of comics.