HELLBOY summarizes like comedy, reads like pulp and looks like gothic. Each volume is another ornate balancing act, like Rube Goldberg made writer. Mike Mignola never makes it look hard, having created a weird little genre unto himself, equal parts H.P. Lovecraft and Hal Hartley.
In THE RIGHT HAND OF DOOM, the comedy is a bit stronger, laced through the collection of shorter stories involving pancakes, floating heads and fistfuls of old mythology wrapped in new punchlines. But the larger pieces, which concentrate on unraveling the question of what Hellboy's giant stone hand is for while never giving too much away, still break out of their tentacled nightmares to give a slightly bloodied chuckle.
Mignola wades around in Japanese folktales and dusty, ancient-sounding texts and finds things the language lacks words to describe, seemingly for the sheer pleasure of giving a bit of flesh to the odd things rumbling around his head. The art is never less than utterly amazing, with Mignola's jagged style seemingly going further out there than it has before, breaking the barrier of quality. HELLBOY better than being original and improved each time out, is a book unto itself, never sharing the same kind of oxygen that all the other books out there do.
Christopher Sebela lives, works and sleeps in Kansas City, MO. When not laying out newspaper pages or writing quasi-subversive headlines for a tiny upstart company within a huge publishing syndicate, he pimps his muse as a freelance writer or labors in vain crudely editing reams of footage. He has no idea why he has a website, but he does: thoughtpeach.com.