Book Review – Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, edited by Christopher Golden

Summary

Sixteen of the biggest names in weird literature come together to pay tribute to Hellboy and the characters of Mike Mignola’s award-winning line of books! Assembled by Joe Golem and Baltimore co-writer Christopher Golden and featuring illustrations by Mike Mignola and Chris Priestley, the anthology boasts sixteen original stories by the best in horror, fantasy, and science fiction, including Seanan McGuire (October Daye series), Chelsea Cain (Heartsick), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series), and more! The new writer of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., iZombie co-creator Chris Roberson, pitches in as well, and Chris Priestley (Tales of Terror) provides a story and an illustration!

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrors

Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, released on August 29, 2017, is the latest anthology of Hellboy short stories, once again edited by Christopher Golden. It’s funny the way things have turned out, with me having jumped to reading the newest one after having just gone through the first one back in August. When I read Odd Jobs the experience came as a great surprise. I picked it up as a novelty, wanting to see how a change in medium would feel for the character and the world, not expecting how much I’d love it. This precise experience is not something that could happen a second time. I’d been curious of how well a new collection would fare, considering it is now the fourth one produced and long after the first.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/10/25

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsI am a single short story away from finishing Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors. Though I tried, I did not manage to finish it off before today. Needless to say I will be finishing it off before today concludes, and a review will follow soon after. I’m enjoying it as I did Odd Jobs, though the stories feel less unified by a central concept. Nevertheless, they demonstrate that writers still have plenty of mileage with the character. The final story is called “Tales of the Worm Lord” and I’ve got a good feeling about a title like that.

StarWarsFromACertainPointofViewI read another several stories from From a Certain Point of View, which has moved us along far enough to reach Mos Eisley. Some of the stories are getting rather creative, such as the story “Not For Nothing” by Mur Lafferty, which is written as a chapter out of the biography of the band that was playing at the cantina where Luke and Obi-Wan met Han and Chewbacca. I’ve put this book on hold now, however, to focus on getting others completed.

TheBlackVortexLastly, I’m a few issues into The Black Vortex by various, the Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men crossover I discovered I needed to pick up so I wouldn’t lose whole swathes of storyline. It’s been fine so far, though I haven’t gotten further than chapter two, which I read in Through the Looking Glass. At this point I sadly feel like I’m only finishing up this run on general principle.

Recently Finished

Nothing finished for this week, but I’m hopeful there will be more than one entry under this heading come next week.

Reading Next

UzumakiAs a surprise acquisition I managed to get a copy of Uzumaki by Junji Ito, a notorious horror writer and artist from Japan. It is specifically a deluxe hardcover, containing all three volumes of his limited horror series about a small coastal town afflicted not by a monster, spirit, or malevolent entity, but by spirals. I haven’t read much of his work, but I’ve seen plenty of his art and it is wonderfully chilling. A friend has been recommending this book for ages, so I expect a lot from it. Hopefully it shall be the perfect skin-crawling read in the final days before Halloween.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/10/18

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsI’ve recently started going through Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, another prose collection edited by Christopher Golden, having finished a couple of stories in the collection so far. They were both quite good, the first told from the perspective of another agent on a case with Hellboy as they venture to an island of horrors in the South China Sea between Vietnam and the Philippines, looking for a kidnapped girl. The other takes place in New York City, where Hellboy deals with a strange phenomenon that is killing people, which he slowly learns perhaps shouldn’t be stopped.

StarWarsFromACertainPointofViewIt’s been slow goings with Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, which is my intention. I’ve only read two more stories since last week, each about different denizens of Tatooine; a Jawa and a Tusken raider respectively. Each offered a closer look into the lives of these seemingly planet-bound species that have become iconic to the series. I liked how the latter was only tenuously tied to the events of A New Hope, telling its own intriguing little story, while an unusual amount of weight was put onto the Jawa’s role in the former story.

Recently Finished

TheNightmareCollectiveI finished The Nightmare Collective over the weekend, an anthology of horror stories edited by PlayWithDeath.Com, which you can read my full review of here. As a whole the collection was surprisingly good. I’ve read/listened to a lot more short horror fiction than I normally do in the past year and have come to recognize a lot of common tropes and cliches that I don’t like. It was good to see a collection willing to take its time, be original, and keep the right details close the vest.

HellboyWeirdTalesVol2I also finished Hellboy: Weird Tales Vol. 2, a comic collecting various artists together that I’d been trying to get my hands on for a while now. I liked it a lot more than the first volume, which contained artists that used more cartoony art styles in the stories they told. I like the more dour art style the series is known for, and while I can certainly have a sense of humour about it, ultimately I can do without it. The artists in this collection did a better job of capturing a darker visual style.

Reading Next

ItDevours!Yesterday I received my copy of It Devours! the new Welcome to Night Vale novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. For those who don’t know, Welcome to Night Vale is a narrative podcast created by the two authors. I love the visual design of the book itself and can’t wait to get to reading it, though I’m determined to finish up other books before I get to it. It’ll certainly be my next big read though.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/10/11

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

TheNightmareCollectiveI’m in the middle of a number of books now, The Nightmare Collective, a horror anthology edited by PlayWithDeath.com, being the one I’m giving the most attention to. As a $0.99 horror book on Kindle I honestly wasn’t expecting much, but I’m happy to report there have been some really good stories in here. A lot of them have great pacing and they’ve been good at avoiding predictability for the most part. The story “The Feral One” by Kyle Yodlosky struck a particular cord with me for how wonderfully bizarre it was.

StarWarsFromACertainPointofViewI also couldn’t resist starting Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, a new anthology from Del Rey featuring more than 40 authors for a collection of 40 stories to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars. Each story is told from the perspective of a background character in A New Hope. So far I’m really enjoying how they tie into moments and sequences in the film, which the book goes through chronologically. I’ve read three stories so far and I haven’t even gotten onto Tatooine yet.

TheNewPrinceOfPowerLastly I’m reading The Incredible Hercules: The New Prince of Power by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, et al, the follow-up book to the Hercules series I’ve been reading over the last year and a bit. There have been some nice chapters dealing with the aftermath of the finale book, though it all seems a little silly considering what I know gets restored in future stories. Nevertheless, a fun read thus far, seeing all the characters from across the last several volumes coming back, as well as continuing the story of Amadeus Cho.

Recently Finished

Guards!Guards!I finally finished Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett over the weekend — check out my review here — which took me disappointingly long compared to how quickly I was able to get through Neverwhere. Alas, I am a little behind schedule. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this book. The Discworld is a great fantasy world as a whole, but there is something about Ankh-Morpork itself as a city that is a lot of fun to dive in to. I love the ridiculous yet functional way everything is run through guilds, including legal thievery. I love the cast, who were the first I ever came to know of in this series, and it feels weird that I won’t be encountering them again for another eight books.

Reading Next

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsI’ve got a pretty set schedule for October still, so next on my list is Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, the new short story collection edited by Christopher Golden. I’m planning to start it shortly after I finish The Nightmare Collective, which should be any day now.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/09/27

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

Guards!Guards!At the moment I’m about a third through Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, the eighth Discworld novel and the first to feature Sam Vimes and the Night Watch. I like it a lot so far. We get a closer look at the inner-workings of municipal institutions and guilds in Ankh-Morpork than we’ve gotten thus far, which further explains how the Night Watch has been dwindled to a meaningless cluster of rag-tag guards, rather than any sort of actual law enforcement service. It’s humorous as usual, but looks like it will also have a lot of heart too. I’ve read the follow-up to this story, so I’m excited to see how the Watch will start to rise above their meager status.

Recently Finished

NeverwhereOver the weekend I finished reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, a review of which is forthcoming. While it’s not one of my favourite books by Gaiman, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. I cannot help but find myself engrossed by his writing style and the personality he injects into all of his characters. I particularly liked the blend of magical realism with stark reality, turning the world of “those who fell through the cracks” into a literal yet surreal place hidden under London, whilst not abandoning some of the dreary reality of those who find themselves at such a place in the world.

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyOriginalSinI also read Original Sin by Brian Michael Bendis and Ed McGuinness, the fifth volume in the run of Guardians of the Galaxy books I’ve been reading. Half of the book revealed events that took place before this run began, so I knew little of the context that would have allowed me to appreciate it. It was enjoyable nevertheless. The latter half continued where the last book left off, specifically concerning Venom’s symbiote reacting strangely to being away from Earth. I wish there was a little more to it, but I really liked what they revealed about where the symbiote originally came from and its true purpose.

Reading Next

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsOctober is just around the corner, and while I haven’t finished my planned reading quite yet, my line-up of spookier books is becoming more set. One such that I have planned is Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, a Hellboy short story collection edited by Christopher Golden. This book actually just released at the end of August, so I’m especially looking forward to digging into something so new.

Book Review – Hellboy: Odd Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Summary

In 1994, Mike Mignola created one of the most unique and visually arresting comics series to ever see print: Hellboy. Tens of thousands have followed the exploits of “the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator” in comics form, and in the novel, Hellboy: The Lost Army, written by Christopher Golden. Now, fans of the comic can enjoy the world of Hellboy as seen through the eyes of some of today’s best writers.

HellboyOddJobs

Hellboy: Odd Jobs is a 1999 anthology of Hellboy short stories edited by Christopher Golden. It gathers noted horror writers of the time to tell their own stories about the character, including a story by the duo of Golden and creator Mike Mignola, as well as a special cartoon by Gahan Wilson. The book presented a new opportunity for me: I haven’t ever read a book of prose adapting a comic book character before. Novel and comic book spin-off of movies and TV series are quite common, but novels and short stories supplementing comic book series doesn’t seem nearly as prominent. It felt a little risky. Hellboy is strongly defined by Mignola’s iconic art style. With that absent, save for a single illustration at the start of each story, I wondered how well these authors could capture the spirit of the character.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/08/16

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

HellboyOddJobsI recently started reading Hellboy: Odd Jobs, an anthology of short stories edited by Christopher Golden. I’d been focusing on getting some other books read, so I’ve only read one story so far. It captured the spirit of a single-issue Hellboy case quite well, though for a large chunk of it the story felt rather unremarkable. What did work well was how it dealt with its monster, Medusa, integrating more obscure aspects of her mythology into where she comes from. I also really liked how it depicted being petrified by her, and the subsequent reversal of stone back to flesh and blood. The visual evoked by worn and broken statues returning to what they once were was unsettling.

Recently Finished

PyramidsI finished reading Pyramids by Terry Pratchett a few days ago, which I posted a review of yesterday. This novel was much more interesting than I expected it to be, though admittedly that stems from knowing almost nothing about it. Unlike others in the series that I’m looking forward to, I read this one because it was next. Nevertheless, it tells a thoughtful tale of belief, ritual, identity, and how becoming too engrossed in accompanying traditions can prevent us from moving forward.

 

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyAngelaCoverI also finished Guardians of the Galaxy: Angela, the second volume in the series that ran from 2013 to 2015. Unlike the first volume, this was rather disappointing thanks to Marvel’s unfortunate tendency to tie independent series to their yearly events in half-assed ways. I had to look up information for their Age of Ultron event series as well as Infinity to have a frame of reference for what was going on. Angela was an interesting addition to the team, but I’m soured that I couldn’t just get an extensive Guardians of the Galaxy story instead of dealing with the leftovers and sidelines of other storylines.

Reading Next

DarkDiscipleI’ve finished watching The Clone Wars, so Star Wars: Dark Disciple looms in my near future. The only thing that makes me hesitate is my desire to watch the unfinished episode arcs available on the Star Wars website. I’m on a kick with this franchise right now, and knowing there’s more story (even if the animation is horrifically incomplete) is actually alluring to me right now.

Otherwise, I’ve been thinking more about the classics I wanted to get through this year like The Golden Ass by Apuleius and The Aeneid by Virgil. I especially need to get the latter of the two read so I can finish the connected trio of epics, even if The Aeneid was written far later and was basically propaganda to help legitimize the Roman Empire.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/08/09

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

PyramidsAt the moment I am only reading Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. It’s a welcome change of pace from the other novels of his I’ve read this year. I liked Sourcery and Wyrd Sisters, but it’s fun to see him working from a clean slate again with a novel’s characters and setting. The story is focused on a region of the Discworld based on Ancient Egypt, specifically a parody of the West’s interpretation of that period in history. The main character, Teppic, is the King’s son who was sent away at a young age to the city Ankh-Morpork to learn at the Assassin’s Guild. Upon his father’s passing he returns to to the Old Kingdom to take upon his rightful place as King, a position that his rich education as an assassin makes him ill prepared for.

Recently Finished

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyCosmicAvengersCoverI finished reading Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers, and I’m a little disappointed with how it turned out. The character establishment was great, as was the art, but it’s only three issues long in terms of story, telling a very basic plotline to introduce the characters, followed by a series of vignettes that flesh out each member a little further. It serves as a great introduction for new readers, I’ll give it that, but I wanted a little more meat to this book. Hopefully volume two will be more substantial.

Reading Next

HellboyOddJobsAs I come closer to finishing watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars I also come closer to reading Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden. Can’t really say how soon that will be, except that I will likely start it before August is completed. In the mean time, I want to start reading Hellboy: Odd Jobs, a collection of short stories edited by Christopher Golden (that’s an oddly similar name. Apparently no relation to Christie?), who was tasked with assembling horror writers to contribute to this anthology of prose about Mike Mignola’s iconic demonic character. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Hellboy translates to prose, specifically how these writers go about portraying an inhuman character, which I hope to learn from for my own creative endeavours.