Hellboy has a long history in comics, but it’s one that’s splintered — tales that dip in and out of timelines and jump around his history of fighting to keep his adopted home safe from the supernatural. It’s understandable if you might be unsure just where to start, or what the best stories are. But a new collection is hoping to help you out.
Kotaku has an exclusive first look at Dark Horse’s new Hellboy Universe Essentials series, a collection of trade paperbacks that gathers the must-read stories from across the history of Mike Mignola’s iconic, demonic anti-hero. Designed to offer the quintessential Hellboy experience for newcomers, or a collection of the highest highs for diehard fans, Essentials will be a four-part series highlighting short stories from across four key corners of the Hellboy comics universe.
Hellboy himself will naturally be the focus of one Essentials entry, with others covering the worlds of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence (BPRD for short), vigilante extraordinaire Lobster Johnson, and Sir Edward Grey the Witchfinder. Each collection features stories hand-picked by Mignola himself to offer a taste of decades of work he and legions of other creators have done with the character.
“In some cases — B.P.R.D. and Witchfinder — it was pretty easy to select the one “essential” book,” Mignola said in a statement provided to Gizmodo. “Hellboy was more complicated, as there is so much ground to cover. In the end, we chose to go with a collection of short stories rather than a single graphic novel, to give more of an overview of the character. We chose certain stories that say important things about his background, but also some that just show what he does and how he does it. A couple of stories are in there just because they are my favourites.”
Each release in the series will also feature brand new cover art drawn by Mignola and coloured by his longtime Hellboy collaborator Dave Stewart. The first look at the covers to Hellboy Universe Essentials: Hellboy and Hellboy Universal Essentials: BPRD are making their debut on Gizmodo today.
The Essentials line will kick off with Hellboy Universe Essentials: Hellboy in July 2021, with each entry in the collection costing around $20.