Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 113

Hellboy In Hell

by Mike Mignola
Genre notes: paranormal investigation, existential chaos/angst
2 vols + the 9 earlier vols + expanded universe
ISBN: 1681120801 (Amazon)

Hellboy ended in 2016. And apart from some rare bumps in the road (always due to Mignola's collaboration with another artist or writer), the series has essentially just been the best comics. The series started off in a rough place, with bold beautiful art from Mignola, but also with janky, overheated, silly writing by John Byrne. By the time of the second Hellboy story ("The Wolves Of St August"), Mignola took over the writing and the book became the most amazing thing. And then it got better. And better.

And then, six years ago, Hellboy died. And went to hell. The final two volumes are just him wandering the non-heavenly afterlife and coming to terms with what his tie to destiny is or isn't. It's somber, funny, and bizarre. And gorgeous.

Hellboy (when done by Mignola) has always been a masterclass in comicbooking. His page design, his illustration, his tone balance, his writing. It's all nearly indistinguishable from perfection. Hellboy's concept is ridiculous pulp nonsense: a paranormal investigator who is actually from hell! But Mignola takes that and makes it not feel like pulp but Art and Literature. And as Mignola wraps the book with both a bang and a whimper, the reader will be forgiven for wanting to take it all in again as soon as possible. Sublime work.

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