And Then I Read: HELLBOY, THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS

HellboyMidnightCircus

Image © Mike Mignola.

Lately the world of Hellboy seems to be concentrating on his childhood, and if anything I like it even more than his adult adventures. The hardcover format for this book signals it’s meant to be something special, and it is. It’s written by Mignola alone and with the entire art by Duncan Fegredo. Both are excellent.

Hellboy is just a few years old in our measure, but already seems to be a young teenager at least mentally, if not so much physically. He’s already a magnet for the kind of supernatural beings we would call hellish and demonic, and some of them are presenting a very odd circus to attract the boy and draw him into their influence. I’ve always thought circuses were creepy, and this book certainly plays that right up! There’s a power struggle going on over the boy, clearly, though he seems oblivious to it, and perhaps his innocence is a kind of protection. When Hellboy’s escape from the Bureau’s compound is discovered, a search party is sent out, but will they be in time? Fegredo alternates between traditional comics line art, brightly colored by Dave Stewart, and spooky wash drawings for the circus itself with much darker coloring. Oh, and since he keeps reminding me, I should point out that the lettering by Clem Robins is perfect for the book, full of life and character. I enjoy all the Hellboy material, but this book is a standout, and can be enjoyed without knowing too much of the back story, though that certainly adds value.

Highly recommended.

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