A ways back, when I was comfortable with constantly calling myself a "Virgin", I had a little tryst with Hellboy. I couldn't quite believe it myself. It all started with the BPRD. The look and feel of those comics stood out amongst the rest, I wanted to know what was inside them. I sat there, with the B.P.R.D and Hellboy side-by-side, trying to decide which one to pick. It was Hellboy's "The Crooked Man" that really got me. The art, the storytelling, and well, that Hellboy! He's just so disarming, so chill. Juxtaposed to his striking, unusual appearance, he's just sooooo attractive!! (Not in that way. Don't dress up like Hellboy and come over. I won't answer.)
This week I walked into the comic book shop and, well, if it couldn't be Ultra (and yes, my friend, I WILL get to Ultra), all I could think about was Hellboy. He was on my mind. I wanted to see him again.
Trust me - other prospects were on my mind as well. More Blacksad, more Girls...I've got other stuff on my plate. But I was remembering my romance with Hellboy, so I asked if he happened to be at the beginning of a series at the moment. It turns out he was.
Hellboy: The Storm # 1
Written by Mike Mignola
Art by Duncan Fegredo & Dave Stewart
Published by Dark Horse Comics
"The Storm" issue 1 is beautiful. Fegredo and Stewart really capture that feeling of England through the drawings of the landscape, the interior of the church and the character of the people. Now, I have to tell you, although this was a good read all on its own, I had to ask for a little help. I didn't totally know what was going on. Is Hellboy really the King of England? And when he recaps his drinking escapades as a result of all he's been through - was that a recap of recent events? Was it of the whole entire Hellboy series so far?
But you know what? It doesn't matter. Yeah, I said it. It doesn't matter to me that I had to ask for clarification. What was once "upsetting" to The Virgin Read, ( i.e. that a new reader would have a hard time jumping in and becoming a new full-fledged comic book audience member), I am not seeing as a hinderance this time. Rather, I want to know what's going on and what happened before. Now, I may not be the type to go out and buy all the previous issues to catch up. But I will strike up a conversation with my local comic book know-it-all and get caught up, so that I can keep reading. (I will also pretend, for the know-it-all's sake, that what gets struck up is a "conversation" and not, in actuality, a "monologue".)
So that's just what I did. So after I learned that Hellboy really is of royal blood, and that he's been a little eff'd up after realizing that he seems to be turning into everything he vowed he'd never be, he's trying to clean up and get back to the business of being the guy I know and love, I reread "The Storm". The little things still hit me as strongly as they did earlier (I was so worried that Helen was going to be dead when the car goes flying off the highway), and the giant-fighting-man-thing that goes after them still blew my mind. Whoa. That guy is big. But re-reading it, knowing where it's coming from, knowing what those flashbacks (where Hellboy is trying to pull the spear out of his chest, what the deer-head men meant as they threatened him) made the comic even better.
And then, there's the pig at the end. I had no idea of the significance of that character, what those pages meant, and I was about to write it off completely. But this time, I asked my adorable, handsome, amazing friendly neighborhood comic book genius (legal obligations met), and he filled me in on the pig's whole story. And even though I knew the whole thing, and had read it once...when I read that page again, I felt so sad when I came upon the words "No mercy for you, pig". I know Gruagach (the pig) is not a great dude, but I look at those tears and feel heartbroken. That's some raw pain, and it didn't even cross my mind that it was an evil little man-pig I was feeling sorry for.
Now that I'm all caught up - I HAVE to go on, right? Right! And when I was at the comic shop, I found out that the third issue of The Storm comes out tomorrow. So stay tuned: i'll be putting something up tonight about the second issue (it's up now!), and then I'll go to the comic store and pick up issue three on my way home tomorrow.
I've never done anything like this before, but while I imagine hundreds of other people have, I'm pretty excited. See you later!
-Nina Stone, 2010