Hellboy Weird Tales is a Wonderfully Weird CollectionNovember 24, 2014
One thing is for sure, this was a great collection to look at. In what is essentially a showcase for artists, Hellboy Weird Tales is just what you would expect in a compilation book/graphic novel. There are some good stories, some outstanding stories and some not so good stories. Truth be told, the same can be said for the artwork but in this case, the art is much better overall.
First, the good points. As I already mentioned, the artwork is the real showcase here and all the various styles are quite easy on the eyes. Hellboy fans might have become used to the Mignola way of depicting their favorite anti-hero but this collection of tales is more about having a good time more than anything.
It’s interesting to me to see just how much a different artistic impression of a character can change how you view them. From heroic to cowardly to good and then evil, these tales show all the characters in the Hellboy universe in a different light and pardon the pun, but it was a helluva lot of fun.
The same can be said for the actual stories, except in these instances the written word can be a little more difficult to distinguish without and images to accompany them. Still, it was interesting to see what kind of settings and circumstances the writers choose to place these same characters.
However, it’s not all giggles and good times between the pages of this collection.
Hellboy Weird Tales is probably the perfect title for this collection as many of the stories and artwork are not just weird, but downright goofy. This is going to be very hard for some people to digest, especially if they are used to the very distinctive work done by Mignola.
I understand the lighthearted nature and artistic heavy tone of this collection but after a few stories, the humor and goofiness of the stories begins to get a bit boring. Granted, there are more serious entries and the tone of others are still rather grim but this is Hellboy, and in the end it was hard for me to get past the history and embrace some of the entries in this collection.
Remembering that the artists and writers were essentially paying homage to the big red guy in their own way did make me go back and re-read some stories with a more patient and less critical eye. As the talent did not have a lot of time and pages to work with, I must say reading these tales a second time gave me more of an appreciation of what was being accomplished here.
Still, there were some very bland entries in this collection and some that just did not feel right at all, no matter how much creative freedom both writer and artist had. The only good thing about his is that the stories are short enough that you can quickly get through them and move on to something else.
Some of my favorite stories include ‘Big Top Hellboy’(a collection of intelligent circus ghost), ‘Midnight Cowboy’(Area 51 tale with a young Hellboy), ‘The Children of the Black Mound’(a combination of religion and a youngster from history) and ‘Abe Sapien: Star of the BPRD’ (Abe is the hero and Hellboy nothing but the muscle? Hilarious!)
This was a difficult collection to read and review for a few reasons, the biggest being how totally different it is from the Hellboy we have all come to know and love.
For some hardcore Hellboy/Mignola fans, this might not be up your alley but still, give it a try. You might like how these talented artists go about celebrating the world of Hellboy in their own unique way. At the same time, if you are new to the Hellboy universe, I’d read a bunch of Mignola’s work before tackling this so you better understand where the history of this character really lies.
In the end, this is a celebration of all things in the Hellboy universe and for that reason alone I would recommend it. Weird Tales might be weird and then some, but at least it has a lot of fun at the same time.