Hellboy: Weird Tales 8

Quick Rating: Odd in a Very Good Way
Title: Various

Writer: Jill Thompson, Akira Yoshida and Kia Asamiya, Evan Dorkin, John Cassaday
Artist: Jill Thompson, Kia Asamiya, Evan Dorkin, Gary Fields with Michelle Madsen, John Cassaday
Color: Dave Stewart, Sarah Dyer, Nick Derington
Letters: Clem Robins, Jason Hvam
Editor: Scott Allie

Hellboy deals with a monstrous toy company, WWII fighter pilots, and a bevy of odd skeletons. The wonder of anthology comics is that they allow readers to uncover new aspects of familiar creators and to discover wholly new creators.

I have long been a fan of Jill Thompson. Scary Godmother is one of the greatest comics out there. And any project with her name on it is a must-have. So, you can imagine my glee upon seeing her name on this issue. The story is beautifully painted. Unfortunately, it does not offer much on the plot side. I’m not always a big fan of one-joke tales (even good-looking ones). I usually do like it when stories break down that fourth wall, but this just cried out for a touch more.

On the other hand, I have not been a fan of Evan Dorkin’s work, but I can’t give a reason other than being a bit put off by what little I have seen. Hey, Milk and Cheese might be my thing, but I don’t know. Here, I thought he did a fantastic job and I am probably going to seek out some more of his work.

Kia Asamiya is a Manga artist, perhaps best known to American audiences for his work on the Star Wars Manga adaptation. His studio has also produced Silent Mobius, Nadesico, and Steam Detectives. Although I’d actually read some of those, he still felt new to me. And I loved his work in Weird Tales. Enough so I have to go back and check those out again.

Why do they include pin-ups in comic books? If the point is to try out a new artist, then does the artist need to be tried out before the whole world? Does anyone actually cut them out and hang them on their wall? Are there college dorm rooms out there tastefully decorated in Top Cow portraits and beer cans wedged across the ceiling? Why not include a text page containing some non-contextual description? Surely, a Hellboy pin-up does not qualify as cheesecake or beefcake (perhaps pancake, for those who have read their Mignola).

May, 2004

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