I didn’t get my first comicbook until my junior year of high school when I was about 17. Those comics, Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus (written by Mike Mignola and illustrated by Jason Armstrong) enthralled me. I mean, I will confess that the series had its flaws and faults but I appreciated it for that. It was a pulp comic parody, the art was fun and it was a miniseries so I could have ended collecting the comics right there without wanting to collect more.
I didn’t stop collecting though because it introduced me further into the BPRD and Hellboy universe. I’d loved the first movie before picking up the comic or even knowing it was based on a comic and I still love the movies after that. From there I got The Killing Ground, The Warning and The Crooked Man arcs. Mignola’s world had grabbed me and wasn’t letting go. I started reading and almost memorizing the lines of the Wikipedia pages and pretty soon I considered myself a know-it-all for the series.
The news of the second movie coming out pumped me up and it held up to my hype and intense (and unworthy) scrutiny. My mom being a pastor had expressed some questioning based solely on the title and from what she saw of the first movie. She did love the second movie though and with good reason. The monsters were fantastic, the scenery was bizarre and breathtaking. It was faithful to the series.
Time came and went, I left for college and eventually I found myself watching the animated movies that were on par with the actual movies in terms of writing quality, if not better. The movies took place in the comic continuity instead of the movie one. They told stories that were better than you’d expect from direct to DVD films and the animation was well done.
Since getting my comic shop job I’ve had time to acquaint myself with the actual comics spending most of Halloween doing just that. The world Mignola created is great and full of mystery, the characters actually interact and they aren’t in 10 places doing multiple stories at once. I don’t like seeing 8 covers with Emma Frost doing things when they are all events influencing the entire world. I don’t like seeing 8 Deadpool titles. I like it when the world is contained or if there is crossover that it naturally occurs.
Maybe I don’t speak for all comic readers because I started so late. Maybe I don’t “get” what the major comic imprints are doing. Maybe I don’t want to admit that comic companies know how to make the fanboys buy stuff and they exploit it but it is true.
I respect Mignola for being above it all, for getting me to start buying comics through his universe and by not really pandering the ways other comics do.
If you want a good starting point for Hellboy or BPRD, grab the trades or a one shot or just about anything. It is fun stuff to read. It is wonderful stuff to look at. Even collecting it isn’t half bad.