When I’m asked for comics recommendations, people often bring up “The Big Two”, Marvel Comics or DC, as a starting point. We’re talking Iron Man or Superman. Thor or Batman. Sometimes that’s the right route to take, but other times, a suggestion outside of this much focused-upon segment of the comics medium is the more suitable and interesting course to follow. One suggestion I often make is the work of my personal favorite, artist/writer Mike Mignola (pronounced MIN-YO-LA).
Mignola began his career in the early 1980s, working as an inker and penciller for both Marvel and DC, on comics such as Alpha Flight, Rocket Raccoon, and the Incredible Hulk, eventually finding his idiosyncratic footing with a number of well-regarded Batman mini-series and one-shots, including Batman: Gotham By Gaslight, a retelling of the Jack the Ripper murders.
In 1993, Mignola took a chance with a creator-owned book he didn’t expect to survive more than a few issues. Published in 1994 as Hellboy: The Seed of Destruction by Dark Horse Comics, this character launched an entire story-telling universe that now spans seven unique titles, over two decades, and normalized the publishing of mini-series of stories, rather than the continuous comics “run”.
The great majority of Mignola’s work, often referred to as the “Mignola-verse”, is available in-print, and through Hoopla, at The Seattle Public Library, 157 items in all. If something’s missing, try filling out a purchase suggestion. Still not quite convinced to try comics? Well, as I always say, “Like art and reading? You’ll probably like comics”.
“From the Pages of Hellboy”:
“A half-demon occult detective who may or may not be the Beast of the Apocalypse”. Folklore, fairy-tales, monsters, pulpy action, it’s all there in this series.
“The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense”, a spin-off following the secret government agency where Hellboy was raised and trained.
This series follows Hellboy’s fellow outcast and BPRD agent, Abraham “Abe” Sapien, a fish man with no memory of his past.
A supposedly fictional hero of Hellboy, this series is an homage to pulp heroes of the early 20th century. “The Lobster” is a vigilante fighting the mob, robots, and supernatural enemies in 1930s NYC.
A supernatural agent of Queen Victoria, known as “The Witchfinder”, Sir Edward Grey investigates and battles both the supernatural enemies of the empire, as well as mystical secret societies who seek to gain their power.
A WWII story whereby a U.S. soldier battles paranormal Nazi foes by means of a mystically powered energy suit (supernatural pulp Iron Man?).
Mignola’s riff on Frankenstein, with the monster wandering through supposedly lost underground civilizations, seeking to find redemption.
~posted by Mychal L.