To say that Hellboy is a cultural icon in the world of comics would be somewhat of an understatement. For over 20 years, the man who unfortunately wields the Right Hand of Doom has been a fixture in the industry, an ever-present defender of the world from the monsters and magic that look to control it, and a stalwart fan of both pulp action heroes and pancakes. Things we can all relate to, obviously.
Understandably so, the Hellboy lore (or Mignolaverse, if you will) is dense. Creator Mike Mignola, and other writers from time to time, have thrown so many different flavors of myth and legend into their shared universe that one might get a little panicky trying to parse it out. How did the mysterious fish-man Abe Sapien come to be? Was Lobster Johnson even real, and if so, why was he so important?
Unfortunately, this article has none of those answers. But, the Hellboy Omnibus editions are here to help. The first volume of the Hellboy Omnibus editions is releasing on May 9th, and while this won’t give you a whole lot of insight into the workings of the BPRD or the tragic tale of Koshchei, what they will do is dial the Mignolaverse all the way back to 1, and get you started with the man who was there from page 1. These new editions, collecting the main story of our hero Hellboy, start from the beginning – chronologically speaking.
The first Hellboy Omnibus, aptly titled Seed of Destruction, covers the big red guy’s adventures from 1994 to 1997, roughly following his first big interactions with the greater forces that threaten the universe and his oft-refused destiny as the key to the apocalypse. For those who might already be familiar with Hellboy’s story, that might not sound like the right chronological order – after all, Hellboy was born during the end days of World War II in-universe, and this is starting in the 90s. What gives?
The secret is, there will actually be TWO Hellboy Omnibus series. The first, the normal Omnibus editions, will run for four volumes, starting from the Seed of Destruction arc, leading through the second volume, Strange Places, following into a third volume entitled The Wild Hunt, and finally collecting Hellboy’s adventures during the Hellboy in Hell arc.
The second series collects all of Hellboy’s aforementioned adventures between his creation in World War II and his missions in the 90s, in books that Dark Horse is calling the Hellboy Short Stories collections. There will be two of these, each collecting around 20 or so years of Hellboy’s career with the BPRD, full to the brim of shorter arcs and one-shots, which of course tie further back into the main plot of the original series.
All of these editions will be releasing throughout the coming months of 2018, and likely into 2019 as well. Time will tell if Dark Horse intends to collect their other series and characters into affordable and easily-understood Omnibus editions, but if so, I highly recommend checking them out.
Written by Michael