Published: March 11th, 2009 Written by: Mike Allred, Frank Miller Art by: Mike Allred, Laura Allred
Dark Horse, Image Comics (reprint), 323 Pages
Michael Allred created something special, unique, quirky and cool with Madman. And since I own a lot of the floppies from the earliest issues, I’ve wanted to revisit them from the beginning. While I don’t have them all, I did pick up the collected editions during a sale on Comixology.
I really enjoyed the first volume, so I figured that reading the second one was long overdue.
This sort of picks up where that one left off and this collection covers multiple story arcs but everything here happens in order and builds off of the constantly evolving narrative.
These issues came out once the series moved from Tundra to Dark Horse. What’s cool about that is that this was able to have a cameo by Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. It’s really neat seeing the two characters come together, even though it just happens in one issue and is short-lived. I’m not sure if this series has anymore minor crossovers in the following volumes but I liked seeing Allred and Mignola’s universes overlap, even if it was just briefly.
The art in this one feels more crisp and more polished. The first volume was initially in black and white but this one comes to life with incredibly vibrant colors that just work so well with the line art and give this a cool, pulpy look that made it stand out from what was the norm in the ’90s when this was originally produced. That’s really what made me take notice of the original floppy copies back then.
In the end, this expands the mythos and made me love this world even more. This series is hilarious and strange in the best way possible.
Rating: 8.5/10 Pairs well with: the other early Madman collections, as well as SCUD: The Disposable Assassin, the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. comics and The Goon.
Published: April 26th, 2016 Written by: Mike Mignola Art by: Mike Mignola, various
Dark Horse, 151 Pages
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this trade paperback but I like Hellboy and I like stories that take place in Mexico. Add in some lucha libre elements and I’m definitely sold!
This is an anthology collection of short stories that cover a five month period where Hellboy was in Mexico.
Overall, each chapter is a pretty cool and amusing tale. We see our hero enter the lucha libre world, as well as battling all sorts of supernatural monsters.
You don’t really need to read this in any sort of order with the regular series of titles, as it sort of happens on the side. But for fans of the series, this is certainly worth a look, as it features that great Mike Mignola art and writing style and the setting makes this a pretty unique and refreshing read within the larger Hellboy tapestry.
This did fly by though, at just 151 pages, and it made me wish that there were more Hellboy in Mexico stories to tell or that some of these would’ve been expanded upon more.
Rating: 7.25/10 Pairs well with: other Hellboy comics.
From Strip Panel Naked’s YouTube description: On this episode I wanted to look a fight sequence from Hellboy, The Wolves of Saint August, and look at how Mignola, Sinclair and Brosseau tackled it. On re-reading the Hellboy Omnibus, this sequence struck me in particular because of it’s starkness in contrast to the rest of the standalone issue, and the striking use of yellow in one of the final pages. So I explore a little of the craft behind it, and what makes it work in context.
Published: February 3rd, 2004 Written by: Pat Brosseau, Mike Mignola Art by: Mike Mignola
Dark Horse, 146 Pages
I wish I would have read this closer to when I finished the previous volume but my comic book queue is massive and it got somewhat disheveled a few months back when I acquired a ton of new stuff from a friend moving.
Anyway, this is a new story, the second in the actual history of Hellboy. Still, this builds off of the first volume and even though he’s dead, Rasputin returns in spiritual form to band together his Nazi followers, who have idolized him like a religious figure since the old days.
The three main villains here are actually the same as the trio that was featured in the first Guillermo del Toro Hellboy movie.
Overall, I love Mignola’s art style and the tone of these stories. I also love Lovecraftian horror and this just hit those notes in the right way.
However, I found this less exciting than the original miniseries. I think that’s because this isn’t as much of a self contained story as it is being used to world build now that Hellboy is evolving into a regularly released comic for Dark Horse.
In the end, this is still a strong chapter in the franchise and it only makes me want to keep reading the series.
Rating: 8.75/10 Pairs well with: other Hellboy and B.P.R.D. related comics.
Published: May 29th, 2019 Written by: Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson Art by: Paul Grist, Mike Norton, Dave Stewart, Paolo Rivera (cover)
Dark Horse Comics, 24 Pages
I’ll be honest, I bought this strictly for the cover.
Still, I’m a Hellboy fan so I at least knew that I’d most likely enjoy the whole comic.
For the most part, this was a good read. It doesn’t seem to mean much in the grander scheme of things but it entertained me for a bit and it even threw in a bit of lucha libre to sweeten the pot.
The art was good throughout and the story was energetic and fun.
But man, I just couldn’t take my eye off of the cover and I’d buy a poster print of it in a heartbeat.
And that’s it. This is a one-shot. There’s not much to say without ruining the story. Ultimately, it doesn’t seem important and maybe this should have felt like it had more of a reason to exist but whatever.
So I’ll keep this one short and sweet because the comic was short and sweet.
Rating: 7/10 Pairs well with: other Hellboy comics.
Published: 1994 Written by: John Byrne, Mike Mignola Art by: Mike Mignola
Dark Horse Comics, 130 Pages
It’s been a really long time since I have picked up a Hellboy comic, even though I’ve been a massive fan of the character since the ’90s. This was also the first time that I read his debut story.
This four issue story arc was the basis for the plot of the first Hellboy film. While it’s not the exact same story, it features Rasputin as the villain, as well as large, tentacled, Lovecraftian monsters and a very similar origin story for the title character.
While it may sound as if I am trying to oversell this, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction is perfection in the comic book medium.
Featuring the incredible duo of comic book legends John Byrne and Mike Mignola, this earliest Hellboy story was superb on every level. The writing was terrific, the dialogue was fantastic and Mignola’s art style creates a perfect tone for this tale.
When things are this good, I want others to experience them fresh. So I don’t want to spoil too much and would rather others go pick this up, read it and be as surprised and impressed by it as I was.
Now this may not be everyone’s cup of tea and my opinions are my own but I think it’d be hard to deny that this is a solid comic book, through and through, and it does exactly what it set out to achieve.
That being said, I can’t wait to jump into volume two.
Rating: 10/10 Pairs well with: other Hellboy and B.P.R.D. related comics.