"Hellboy: Weird Tales" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written and Illustrated by Various
2008, 265 Pages
Graphic novel released on November 26th, 2014
As was the case with the recently released Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., there is a wealth of untold stories regarding the character of Hellboy that is just waiting for the right person to come along to unearth them. We've seen a bunch over the years, including my personal favorite, House of the Living Dead, in which he fights vampires with a group of Mexican wrestlers. It's safe to say that any Hellboy adventure is going to be a little odd, so it's apt that a collection of short stories featuring the character is called Weird Tales.
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This new hardcover collects the two previously released Weird Tales volumes and adds in some short tales from The Wild Hunt. It features a massive list of creators, including but not limited to: Mike Mignola (obviously), J.H. Williams III, Eric Powell, John Cassaday, Ron Marz, Gene Colan, Evan Dorkin, and so much more. The list is damn impressive. Each creator puts their own spin on Big Red, telling a unique non-canonical story that ranges from the silly to the outright bizarre, but always quite a bit weird.
There is not a bad comic within these pages. Any fan of Hellboy, new or old, will find a lot to enjoy. I can seriously sit here and list out every story because they're all good, but I'll try to stick to a few favorites. Love is Scarier than Death by Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III picks up with Hellboy accompanying a beautiful young agent as she tries to hunt down a goatman (half man, half goat) that has been murdering couples in the area for a decade. The plot is fun because she's clearly hitting on Big Red and he's clueless. What really sells it is Williams' gorgeous artwork. It's dripping with nostalgia with a painted style and light colors, and Hellboy depicted almost as an innocent teenager with a heart of gold.
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The funniest story is a tossup between Abe Sapien: Star of the B.P.R.D. by John Arcudi and Roger Langridge and Midnight Cowboy by Eric Powell. The former is a day dream by Abe where he's the dashing hero and Hellboy is a clumsy oaf, while the latter stars a young Hellboy as his pet dog eats some alien goo from Area 51 and turns into a monster. Both are hilarious and capture that fun tone that the character always has even in the darkest of moments.
There are a few tales that tug on the heartstrings, and all of them include some form of monster that usually gets punched right in the face. Weird Tales is the perfect collection for anyone curious about Hellboy or the Mignolaverse in general. It gives you a taste of what to expect from all corners, including Lobster Johnson and the B.P.R.D., with a massive list of big name creators. Plus, it includes possibly my favorite word balloon in modern comics with the dialogue "Zombie orchestra!"
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