on 19 October 2008
This book contains many of the Hellboy short stories (previously collected in the TPBS "The Chained Coffin" and "The Right Hand of Doom"), collected for the first time in chronolgical order.
If you've never read any Hellboy, you're in for a treat. Forget what you think you know from the movie. This isn't dumb hollywood action. This is beautiful, subtle storytelling, dripping with folklore and fairy tale, with the unique pacing that only Mike Mignola's sublime illustration can provide. Oh, and there's plenty of dumb action too...
Some of my favourite Hellboy stories are in here, from the dark gothic werewolf tale "The wolves of St August", to the absurd fan favourite "Heads" to mention just two.
My only critism of this beautiful book... why, oh why did they not include all of the front covers?!?! The first library edition had the covers for all the issues (admittedly in frustrating black and grey), and I've got to say, this is one of my big pet peeves with TPBs. I want to see the whole cover for each individual issue, as it was released, with the logo, the date, the price, everything, and in colour. Mike Mignola rarely draws these days, so it'd be great to have all the differnet covers, trade covers and variants collected. Oh well, maybe they'll release them all as a separate book or something.
But anyway, I love Hellboy. You should too.
on 30 August 2015
there aren't sufficient superlatives to describe how good this edition is.
The quality of the cover, binding, paper stock... The artwork jumps off the page at you, in no small part due to the incredible artwork of Mike Mignola but I think this larger format really helps you get into every last tiny detail of each panel. Details that no matter how many times you've read Hellboy you probably missed!
If I didn't have to eat and pay rent I would have bought all of these at the same time!
on 18 June 2011
After reading the paperbacks I knew I loved the comic itself, but I was frustrated with the quality of the binding. Enter this version; solid, big, nice quality. Nice stories, too.
on 30 March 2014
I already had french hardcovers for Hellboy, but as soon as I heard about these gorgeous library edition, I dreamed about it!
THe cover itself is a wonder, it is made partly of black fabric, golden fonts, and a gorgeous watercolour.
What to say about Hellboy? this is one of my favorite graphic novels. Mike Mignola's drawings are just so inspirative. It always reminds me of Classical Hammer monster movies. The Hellboy series are rich in characters from folklore and litterature. I always love to see what Mr Mignola will make out of them. Big Red's adventures will keep you awake at night!
THe conqueror worm is one of my favorite stories, but again, I don't want to spoil you the discovery if you are new to Hellboy's world!
When Hellboy isn't saving the world from imminent destruction, he's doing a lot of little odd jobs across the world.
And by "odd jobs," I mean brief paranormal cases involving fairies, flying hunters, homunculi, "pamcakes" and disembodied heads. "Hellboy Volume 2: The Chained Coffin and The Right Hand of Doom" collects two volumes' worth of the demon anti-hero's assorted adventures, ranging from a fairy changeling to a devilish plot to conquer the world. All in a day's work.
Assorted short stories take Hellboy all over the world, and confronting many different problems -- a baby kidnapped by the faery folk, underground fiends, the malevolent witch Baba Yaga, a werewolf trapped by a centuries-old curse, the Saint Leonard worm (a dragon), a spectral huntsman followed by berserkers, a Japanese house full of bouncing heads, a seance gone horribly wrong, and the supervampire Varcolac.
And Hellboy heads to the ruined church where he was found -- only to dream of a dying witch, her holy children and a devil that sought the witch's "chained coffin." Turns out it has something to do with Hellboy's own origins. Not to mention an ancient, mysterious drawing provided by a priest of the "right hand of doom" -- which looks suspiciously like Hellboy's own hand.
And two bigger jobs loom over Hellboy -- after losing her fire powers to a strange homunculus, Liz Sherman is slowly dying. To save her, Hellboy sets out to find the homunculus, only to find that his crazed megalomaniac "elder brother" is planning to use Kate to bring a new, vast homuculus body to life.
And a demon (which looks suspiciously like a housefly) sealed into a box is stolen from a secret compartment, and is soon "serving" a human master. Turns out they want to lure Hellboy to that place, in the hopes of stealing the evil, apocalyptic powers that he has already renounced.
Mike Mignola is awesome at full-length graphic novels, but his shorter works are even better -- these are lean, compact little action stories with nothing more or less than they need. And it's sort of nice to see Hellboy's more ordinary cases -- if you can call these ordinary -- with foes like a changeling, a werewolf, the fairies and even a dragon.
Mignola's writing doesn't suffer from the shorter format, especially since he happily adapts some folktales to fit his world (legends, fairy tales, saints). There's wonderfully sick dialogue ("I'VE LOST MY ARRRRRRMMM!" "I'm sorry. Really. But... do you really need it? I mean, you're already dead and we've gotta go...") and some poignant moments (Hellboy musing on his "destiny"). Naturally, also plenty of bloody, horrific moments including a a chapel haunted by werewolves, a vampire that can "eat the moon," and a man turning into a giant lizard.
Hellboy is basically your average investigator in most of these stories -- he goes in, gets the job done and fixes things (occasionally being mistaken for Father Christmas). He's a nice straightforward kind of guy with a gruff manner, but Mignola reminds us at times that he has some unhappier facets ("You know how I live? I never deal with what I am").
And Mignola gives us some glimpses into where the "favorite son" may have come from, and the destiny he is still determined to avoid forever. It's pretty ghastly at times. At the same time, we get the hilarious "Pancakes" story, in which Hellboy's reluctant first bite leads to, ahem, hell-raising results.
"Hellboy Volume 2: The Chained Coffin and The Right Hand of Doom" collects many of Mignola's brilliant briefer stories, with a full range of Hellboy's smaller-scale cases.