Mike Mignola and John Bryne’s Hellboy: The Library Edition, Volume One

41agfbhithl-_sy344_bo1204203200_The volumes in this format, six as I write this look at the first one, look larger than they actually as they’re nine inches by twelve inches. The covers are black matte finish with gold lettering on them. Rather classy looking!

Fair warning: they do collect every bit of dust to them. A glossy finish would have prevented this, or having a dust jacket. Yes, that’d driven the price just a bit but Absolute Planetary has a glossy finish, a dust jacket, and a slip case. All that for just ten dollars more which makes them a much better deal for your money.

What you get here are the story lines collected in the first two trade editions (apparently no longer in print) which are Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil. They been reviewed already, so go here for a look at what they’re about.

What I’m interested is do they make sense as a visual medium for Mignola’s splendid stories. And the answer there is a resounding yes! First, you get a one-sheeter as the publicists call it by Scott Allie who both explains how these edition coming to be and what each story is about; you also get story intros by Alan Moore and, far more impressive for me, Robert Bloch, a horror writer who’s not nearly as well-known as he should be; there’s an afterword by Mignola; and finally there’s an impressive sketchbook of the characters by Mignola.

So I hear you asking somewhat impatiently, how does it look? Magnificent, simply magnificent. Printed on black glossy paper, Mignola’s artwork never looked better. The registration work’s so good that I only spotted one page out of the nearly three hundred where the printing was blurred. I can’t say where that mistake as I haven’t re-read them for a few years, but you spot it easily enough as it blurs the lettering there to the point was you can’t read that text.

Speaking of the lettering, it’s also stunning. Again Mignola does his own lettering and it wouldn’t surprise me if it got touched up for this edition. Coloring was done impeccably by Mark Chairello and Matt Hollingsworth which, of course, is stunning.

If you’ve not read Hellboy before, these are the way to do it as it gives you the very best experience you’ll have. And any serious fan of Mignola should have these as well. Yes, the next five are every bit as impressive!

(Dark Horse, 2008)

About Cat Eldridge

I’m the publisher of Green Man Review and Sleeping Hedgehog.

My current reading is the Wylding Hall novella by Elizabeth Hand, Simon R. Green’s Night Fall, and listening to Rita Mae Brown’s Crazy As A Fox.

I’m listening to a whole bunch of new Celtic and Nordic new releases but I’ll dip in my music collection for such artists as Blowzabella, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and Frifot as the weather stays nasty.