It’s been a while since I’ve read any Hellboy, and I had forgotten how great this series is. Mignola really seems to be having fun with these stories. He packs so much action, fantasy, folklore, and fun into these tales that it really is a wonder to behold. Even through pages of talking heads and exposition, Mignola makes it interesting – whether it’s the cadence of a character’s speech or just the fanciful nature of the dialogue – and I find it completely engaging.
Even with the emphasis on plot and the fantastical elements of these narratives, Mignola doesn’t forget about the characters. He knows Hellboy and Abe and Liz and all the others, and he plays them off each other well. It would be easy for the story to trump the characterization, but Mignola manages to balance things and has me wondering where he went with all of these great characters.
And has an artist ever been more suited for the stories being told? The way Mignola paints his blacks (with apologies to the Rolling Stones) and the manner in which he delineates the ancient architecture all adds to the atmosphere of these tales. The imagery has a gothic feel to it that is perfectly suited to the narratives, along with being pitch-perfect for this world Mignola has created.
If you want something haunting and exciting for this autumnal season, you would have trouble doing any better than Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. After re-reading these older books, I am now going to seek out the later volumes to see where he has taken “the big red guy” and the rest of the BPRD, and I cannot wait.