Reading is my favorite hobby, hands down. Books are love to me. I am an avid collector, and paper books will always edge out e-books with me.
It was really interesting to read the comic for Hellboy after seeing the movie first and so many years ago. It's no secret how much I love Hellboy. I am eternally grateful to the Guillermo Del Toro movie (made with Mignola as his concept and art designer) for introducing me to this wonderful character and world where dark folklore has a vivid life (with some added humor). I think that seeing the movie first did affect my rating. I hate to say this, but I think the movie was more dramatic in many ways than the graphic novel. Maybe that's a good thing that Del Toro and Mignola collaborated so well to make such a fantastic cinematic vision that cemented unforgettable imagery in my brain. Having said that, I did enjoy this graphic novel version.
The storyline is actually quite different in several ways. It was darker (if that is possible), and Professor Bruttenholm (pronounced Broom)'s fate is harder to accept in the graphic novel (I felt it was more poetic in the movie). Having said that, the graphic novel should stand alone, and should be respected for what it is, especially considering that this is the first full-length collection in the series (a few preliminary shorts notwithstanding), and a very strong foundation for a series that has branched out into so many different media (I am still keeping fingers crossed for a TV show).
Hellboy is quite a leading man. His origins are as dark as one can imagine, but he rises above that to be more. That's a moral in itself. Another way in which the movie excels because you can see that pathos played out in the excellent acting of Ron Perlman as Hellboy in the movie and in his relationship with his mentor, who is played by John Hurt. (Okay, stop talking about the movie!!) Anyway, his wisecracks and his power punches add some levity to the dark storyline. Hellboy does get beat up a lot in this book, and I love the line "Gonna be sore in the morning." I love this big, red guy.
Also appearances by Liz Sherman (who has her own angst to deal with), and Abe Sapien. Together, the make a good team.
The villain is nasty with a capital N. His master plan very dark and foul, but he had Hellboy all wrong, because Hellboy is no one's tool. and neither is Liz Sherman.
I do feel that this graphic novel suffered from having insufficient dialogue/text. The panels tell a lot of the story, which isn't bad. Again, I think it comes from having watched the movie first. Ultimately, I have to give this 4.5 stars, not only because of what's there in this graphic novel, but what it has created in the creative arena, and the impact that this series has had on my literary life. Not a small one.
I stand by the assertion that Mignola is a literary hero of mine. I will not be moved from that.