Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hellboy: House of the Living Dead

Written by Mike Mignola
Art by Richard Corben

Over the last couple of years, I've found myself getting very bored with Hellboy stories set in the current continuity.  The trilogy with Duncan Fegredo, which resulted in HB's death, did very little for me.  The current Hellboy in Hell series has me contemplating dropping the title completely, as it seems to be all pretension, scenes of HB falling through floors, and boring prophecy.

Then I pick this one-off graphic novel up, and remember just what makes this character work well in the first place.  House of the Living Dead is a follow-up to the excellent Hellboy in Mexico one-shot that was also drawn by Richard Corben, and that established that for a while in the 1950s, Hellboy was a Mexican luchadore.

This story picks up on the time where Hellboy was hanging around Mexico, fighting, and drinking himself to oblivion every night over what had happened to his friend Esteban, who had been turned by vampires.  It is while in this state that a man approaches him, and gets him to come to Dr. José Luis Kogan's creepy castle, where he has a Frankenstein monster he wants Hellboy to fight.  The rest of the comic is a bit of a tribute to the Universal movie monsters, as HB has to deal with this monster, a werewolf, and a couple other surprise appearances.

The story is a lot of fun to read, and lacking any of the prophecies that seem to follow Hellboy around everywhere.  Corben's art is always wonderful, and is worth the price of admission on its own.

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