There are a few certain elements that, when combined properly, guarantee one a near-perfect comics reading experience. These are story and visual elements that, like carbon, behave as a sort of binding polymer to the medium of comics, that work best in this particular medium and generate a sort of internal light - nay, a beacon!! - to all others navigating the choppy waters of sequential art.
Those elements are, in no particular order or importance: big guys, tentacles, robots, and Nazis. With that in mind, HELLBOY reads like a damned periodic table of comics elements.
The product of a mystical Nazi experiment cut short by the Allied march to Berlin, Hellboy is a sort of one-man X-File that handles the strange and spooky top-secret jobs (usually with legitimate roots in traditional folklore and myth) that the government don't know how to deal with. HELLBOY is a clever pastiche in both thought and execution, providing creator Mike Mignola with a canvas perfectly suited for his particular bent: it's too smart to be accidental, too clever to be dumb, and too fun to be taken seriously.
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.