cover image Hellboy: Weird Tales: Volume One

Hellboy: Weird Tales: Volume One

Mike Mignola, , et al. . Dark Horse, $17.95 (124pp) ISBN 978-1-56971-622-9

Mike Mignola's popular character Hellboy is headed toward the big screen, and Mignola's turned him over to an array of creators to produce short stories, collected in this volume. Hellboy is a devilish looking paranormal investigator with a sense of humor, and his adventures are infused with a spooky gothic horror, sarcastic wit and a sense of movie serial fun held over from the 1940s. Hellboy's basic concept is broad, allowing creators room to play with ghosts, demons, foreign landscapes and a well-designed character who lends himself to a multitude of interpretations from dead serious to wacky. The collection of 13 stories has no duds, and quite a few excellent pieces. Of the more successful ones, a few stand out. Bob Fingerman's hilarious slapstick version of Hellboy has him investigating a soda machine that ate his dollar. John Cassaday contributes a solemn and cinematic story about a ghostly circus that pays off with a dramatic ending. And Andi Watson tells a seemingly serious birthday story with a touching finale. Roger Langridge and Eric Powell keep things light, both contributing funny, lovingly rendered stories that treat Hellboy and the paranormal as fertile ground for jokes. This entertaining collection is accessible to even the Hellboy neophyte, and highly recommended for adventure comics lovers. (Dec. 2003)