This handsome collection of the first two Hellboy arcs is comparable in splendor to DC’s slipcased Absolute gatherings of Sandman and The Dark Knight. Arc one, Seed of Destruction (1994), is Hellboy’s origin story (but see Hellboy Junior, 2004, for his prehistory), revealing how Nazis were behind it all, though they were being used by that old Russki bogeyman, Rasputin. The somewhat longer Wake the Devil (1997) shows Hellboy putting the kibosh on the worse-than-Nazis scheme Rasputin got rolling in Seed. Scott Allie introductorily opines that Hellboy isn’t the red demon we know and love ’til Wake, but Mignola’s Ben Shahn–meets–the Austrian Secession–meets–Mervyn Peake style is uniformly magnificent. –Ray Olson
About the Author
Mike Mignola’s fascination with ghosts and monsters began at an early age; reading Dracula at age twelve introduced him to Victorian literature and folklore, from which he has never recovered. Starting in 1982 as a bad inker for Marvel Comics, he swiftly evolved into a not-so-bad artist. By the late 1980s, he had begun to develop his own unique graphic style, with mainstream projects like Cosmic Odyssey and Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. In 1994, he published the first Hellboy series through Dark Horse. There are thirteen Hellboy graphic novels (with more on the way), several spin-off titles (B.P.R.D., Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, and Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder), prose books, animated films, and two live-action films starring Ron Perlman. Along the way he worked on Francis Ford Coppola’s film Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), was a production designer for Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), and was the visual consultant to director Guillermo del Toro on Blade II (2002), Hellboy (2004), and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008). Mike’s books have earned numerous awards and are published in a great many countries. Mike lives in Southern California with his wife, daughter, and cat.