Fans of the Hellboy graphic novels will lap this up. I suspect those who’ve not read Hellboy will want to check out the graphic novels after reading this.
This is definitely a “Two-thumbs Up” for me.
NLB Call No.: HEL -[HO] (classified as Horror genre)
Edited by Christopher Golden
Illustrated by Mike Mignola
Introduction by Frank Darabont
This is not a graphic novel, despite the cover saying that Mike Mignola is the illustrator. There are only 16 panels drawn — one for each of the short story.
What grabbed my attention was the book title.
My mind went “got to have it”.
Then I realised it’s a collection of short stories using the characters and setting from Hellboy.
Doesn’t matter. Same thing.
“Got to have it”.
Frank Darabont’s introduction was a joy to read. He shared how he was introduced to Hellboy (by a video store assistant). Then how he read the first “Odd Job” anthology. And how he — the “World’s Biggest Hellboy Fan” — tracked down Mike Mignola, to how he presented his draft for “The Brotherhood of the Gun” for Mike’s birthday. The introduction is a great story in itself.
Odder Jobs is a collection of short stories based on the characters from Mike Mignola’s Hellboy (a red demon, on the side of good, with sawed off horns). As with the graphic novels, the plots deal with the paranormal and mythological creatures. Basically they have to solve mysteries, get rid of ghosts and kill demons (of course the stories are more sophisticated than that).
This anthology has 16 stories — 17, if you consider Frank Darabont’s Introduction as one as well (it is, on my opinion).
“Brotherhood of the gun” by Frank Darabont. A gunslinger who wouldn’t leave for the netherworld. Loved this one.
About Abe Sapien (a “fish-man”) – Scott Allie’s “Down in the flood”, David J. Schow’s “Water music”,
James A. Moore’s “Of blood, of clay” centres on Roger, the Homunculus, who has to kill another golem.
Charles de Lint’s “Newford spook squad” is one of my favourites. A inner city detective gets assigned to head a squad to deal with paranormal cases. Hellboy’s team assist them with a case. He becomes a believer.
James L. Cambias’ “The vampire brief” is a funny one. A vampire takes out a court order to prevent Hellboy from taking him out. His defence was that he’s not a vampire. Turns out his ego was his downfall.
Tim Lebbon’s “The glass road” hinted at the origins of Hellboy, as with “The trice-named hill”.
One central theme – Hellboy, Abe, Roger — they are all given greater depth by exploring their characters and emotions through the stories. PLOT SPOILER – Like Graham Joyce’s “The trice-named hill” where the creature that Hellboy was sent to eliminate turned out to be family. Like Thomas E. Sniegoski’s “Act of mercy” (a dying demon forces Hellboy to kill him, without quite saying so) and Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbin’s “Tasty teeth” (revealing a softer side to the hard-assed persona of Hellboy. Children and chocolate bars were involved).