It’s not hyperbole to say that Hellboy is the most iconic comic character created in the medium’s modern age. Sure, a new generation of caped-and-cowled crime fighters have expanded diversity of mainstream publishing, but their burden hasn’t matched the sysiphean heights of what cartoonist Mike Mignola attempted and accomplished. Through 57 core issues, a slew of one-shots and a beautiful, melancholic swan song, the titular demonic nomad has escorted readers through hundreds of years of horror. From Nazi pulp to eldritch atrocities, Appalachian legends to Eastern European witchcraft, Mignola went as macro as possible to explore every era of things that go bump in the night and why humanity should treasure each and every one.
The character has maintained a strong presence even after Mignola wrapped his stint both writing and illustrating the character in Hellboy in Hell #10, released in June 2016. Mignola still advises and co-writes any modern adventures of his crimson paranormal investigator, but a slew of other scribes now bear the weight of the character’s severed horns. Christopher Golden has been especially prolific, co-writing tangential projects Joe Golem and Batlimore, as well as penning the Hellboy novels The Lost Army, The Bones of Giants and The Dragon Pool. He’s also edited three short-story collections that dip their hoofs into the overarching universe, appropriately titled Hellboy: Odd Jobs, Hellboy: Odder Jobs and Hellboy: Oddest Jobs.
Tomorrow, Golden and publisher Dark Horse return with another prose collection, An Assortment of Horrors, featuring short stories from Chelsea Cain, Jonathan Maberry, E. Lily Yu and a host of other terror tellers. Golden also offers insight into the titular character’s continued legacy, proposing that the most interesting aspect of the demon is that he’s not a demon at all, but completely human. “It’s how much he loves his adoptive father, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm…how much he wants to make the old man proud, even after the professor is gone. It’s the ordinary-Joeness of him, the weariness of his soul as he gets older, and the joyful innocence we see in stories about his youth,” Golden explains. Also: the guy with a rock fist loves himself some pancakes.
Check out Golden’s full introduction below, and stay tuned for more coverage of Hellboy and his upcoming film from director Neil Marshall.