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

www_wednesdays

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

www_wednesdays

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.