Despite loving every story I’ve read, I never actually sat down and read any in-title Hellboy stuff. I’ve read a bunch of BPRD stuff and some Hellboy one-shots, but I recently got Hellboy volume 1, “The Right Hand Of Doom”, and sat down for a read.
Let me tell you, it’s amazing. I mean so much is crammed into it and despite being an earlier example of Mignola’s writing, is spot-on. If you’re a casual HB fan and have seen the movies and maybe read a few stories here or there, “The Right Hand Of Doom” is in fact the basis for the first film’s story, though it’s far more in-depth and there are several differences that make it infinitely superior (and I say this as a fan of the film franchise).
The story’s pretty basic. We get a little background on our otherworldly protagonist, a supernatural investigator and demon of hell raised by men to be good. There’s a curse, a supernatural threat from the far reaches of Earth, evil Nazis and wizards, and frogs. What more do you need?
And yet, this isn’t just a straight rock-em-sock-em romp. I mean sure, there’s a lot here, but there’s also a story here with serious dialgogue and an attempt to tell a modern horror story. It’s as much Lovecraftian horror mystery as it is a monster smash and bash, which is why it works so well.
A lot of titles have sprung up in the same sort of vein as Hellboy since Mignola’s character first debuted in 1993. And a lot of them are really amazing too, I’m not knockin’ anyone by any means because I know that not only are those creators drawing on HB, but also of the same spirit of adventure and mystery that made Mignola create the big red dope. But there’s a reason that the character has continued to maintain a comics and pop culture presence, because he’s really awesome. And “The Right Hand Of Doom” is a fantastic example of that.
Anyway, yeah, whatever. Even though I liked Hellboy a lot before reading this, now I’m even more sold on the franchise.