Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mingola is about Hellboy’s is short stories from his discovery in 1947 with stories through to 1961. My knowledge of Hellboy is based solely on watching the films. I think it was a bit of a mistake to have me go in Hellboy timeline Order than the publication order, there’s very small amount of establishing the character or much characterization at all. So I will skip the second volume and might revisit this volume after I have read 1-4 of the omnibus. The stories vary in length from 2 pages to 48. The stories consist of two genres comedy and horror. I liked half of the stories, some felt like repeats of stories I had just read. The art is fantastic I love, love what is done with shadowing and I love the uniqueness of the art of Hellboy. Almost half the book takes place in Mexico in 1957 and I feel the art was the best here. The Mexico stories were hit and miss. I felt the stories worked best when they relied on humor. The Crooked Man The Troll Witch, The Chained Coffin, Double Feature of Evil, and Pancakes were my favorite stories. The Double Feature of Evil was the stand out stories for me, really unique stories that were unlike any other in the book.

The Plots: Hellboy eats Pancakes for the first time and Hell knows he’s not coming back. Young Hellboy breaks out of the research and defense headquarters to go to a circus, but it is not an ordinary circus but one of ghosts. Hellboy investigates paranormal activity in Mexico, gets lost, becomes a wrestler. Hellboy gets married but it is bride is not among the living. Hellboy goes on a quest to bury a man to stop the curse of the crooked man. Hellboy must rescue a stolen baby from goblins. Hellboy must confront a haunted house that pays for the souls it takes.

What I Liked: The humor was great, I laughed out loud as Hellboy has an old pirate corpse on his back looking for a sacred burial, they stumble on to treasure that the corpse wants and get in an argument on what the corpse would need with it. There was burst of great action, that was fun. I loved the art, it is so unique and the shadowing was amazing. I liked the use of muted colors. The mini story of Sullivan’s reward was so great it was creepy and had humor, that is the only story that will stick with me for a while after reading this.

What I Disliked: The Midnight Circus was pretty lame. since nothing happens, and it was really hard to follow the bad guys motivation. A couple of the stories were carbon copies of the other with slightly different ghost. Character development was severely lacking.

Recommendation: I can not recommend this collection, there’s a couple stories you could casually breeze through but there is little to no development with the Hellboy character or any other character. I rated Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mingola 3 out of 5 stars. This was close to being rated a two but the last two stories pushed it over the edge.

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