‘Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1955:’ Advance Trade Paperback Review

I recently reviewed the first collection of Hellboy comics from legends Mike Mignola and John Byrne. Walking down that memory lane was highly enjoyable. Each issue featured serial-style, occult-based action. While other characters went on these missions with Hellboy, many of them either died or ended up outside of the splatter zone. One thing was for certain: Each time, Hellboy ended up at ground zero dealing with the worst of the worst and focusing almost solely on punching things and cracking wise.

Mignola made a smart move with his demon boy creation. Teaming up here with Chris Roberson to flesh out the story, he expanded the universe by incorporating the B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) on a more permanent basis… and for this volume, setting it in 1955, so we get to see Hellboy work with his “dad” who we only get to see briefly in the first Hellboy story ever.  

This is my first time reading B.P.R.D., and I came at it with complete ignorance as to how many issues and how far along this collection actually was. Apparently, there are a lot of BPRD series, all with low issues counts. Despite my jumping into the deep end, I was immediately impressed with the fact that Mignola and Roberson don’t avoid the social issues of the time, jumping immediately into the fray with a scientist of color who is treated with less respect than a big, red demon. It grounds the world and sets up themes for stories later in this collection.

The great thing about the stories presented here is that they take their time, playing out almost like dramas but with supernatural elements, and because of the time period being used, everything carries that much more weight. I feel like serials set during WWII to the pre-Cold War days have an authenticity to them than serials that take place with modern technology do. Those people with special powers feel that much more special, and the dark arts feel that much more mysterious.

I’m glad I read this collection. I love Hellyboy. I love the world. I love the other characters with supernatural powers, and if the next collection is to be released, I look forward to returning to the world once again. It also seems like there will be some B.P.R.D Omnibuses in our future. I’m on it like poster puddy on a wall.


Creative Team: Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson (stories), Shawn Matinbrough, Brian Churilla, Paolo Rivera, Joe Riveria (artists), Dave Stewart (colors), Clem Robbins (letters), Scott Allie, Katii O’Brien (editor)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.


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