I’ve been reading and enjoying Mignola’s HELLBOY comics since they began, and Dark Horse Comics does a fine job with their trade paperback collections, an excellent way to read Hellboy stories. All are written by Mignola, this book contains several short stories drawn by Mike, and two longer ones drawn by P. Craig Russell and Richard Corben. It’s interesting to see how the essence of Hellboy comes through those diverse art styles (though Russell’s style isn’t that far from Mignola’s). I suspect that Mignola did thumbnail layouts for the other artists, as the page designs seem very close to what he does himself, and being a writer-artist, it would make sense. All the stories here are fun, though “The Vampire of Prague” with Russell art being the standout for me. Both Mignola and Russell tend to distill their art down to essentials, with no wasted lines. Russell brings a slightly more fanciful feel, but it’s still great, spooky stuff. And can I give a shout out to whichever of them thought of this wonderful sound effect?
The Corben collaboration is equally interesting, as Corben’s style has much more detail and rendering, but with strong figures and lighting to keep everything clear. And his Hellboy is also quite effective.
Some of these stories refer to other bits of Hellboy lore, so this may not be a great place to start with the character, but if you’ve already enjoyed other Hellboy stories, you’ll love this one too.