Friday, October 10, 2014

Booknote: Hellboy: The Crooked Man and Others

Mike Mignola, Hellboy, Volume 10: The Crooked Man and Others. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Comics, 2010. ISBN:  9781595824776.

This is a collection of stories starring Hellboy. The stories draw, in part, on traditional folklore. For example, "The Crooked Man" draws on Appalachian folklore and the work of Appalachian folklorist Manly Wade Wellman. This is one of the few stories Mignola says he has done drawing on American folklore, and it is a very good tale.

The tales all draw on the theme of Hellboy as a wanderer/adventurer, putting him in the classic traditions of the wandering hero in folklore. Each story begins with a short introduction statement by Mignola on what inspired him and how the story was developed. In addition, there is a short introduction to the volume by Gahan Wilson. Wilson's opening introduction is the fairly standard laudatory to the author stuff. Don't get me wrong: I think Mignola deserves plenty of praise. Now, the introductions to the four stories are what deserve a look as they provide some insights into the creative process. Also of interest is the essay on Manly Wade Wellman at the back of the volume. In addition to Hellboy fans, those interested in Appalachian folklore may want to look at it. Finally, the book has a sketchbook with notes from the artists involved in the volume.

If you like folklore tales and spooky narratives, you'll probably enjoy this. Fans of Hellboy will find a nice change of pace here. The tales invoke darkness and the creepy, drawing nicely on some local American folklore (in two of the tales) or other myths. The art bring a gothic feel to life.

I am giving this one the full 5 out of 5 stars.

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