Hellboy: House of the Living Dead

by Alex Hern

So Richard Corben is obviously a stellar artist, Mike Mignola is writing to the top of his game here, and although there is less HOT LUCHADORE ACTION than I’d have liked, it is superbly compensated for by the presence of vampires, werewolves, AND a “Frankenstein’s monster”.

Dave Stewart is one of the few colourists who I feel always deserves a mention in reviews, as well. I’m never too good at telling the difference between the skill based and artistic sides of a colourist’s job – and I can’t here, either – but I do know that any book he colours just feels right. I guess the best comparison is to Todd Klein, the undisputed king of lettering (except I guess John Workman).

The story itself has an interesting genesis; it fits in between the pages of Mignola and Corben’s previous collaboration, Hellboy in Mexico, or: A Drunken Blur. As the title suggests, in that comic, Hellboy spends a while totally fucked. He mentions loose memories of having been a luchadore, and Mignola Corben originally intended the reader to be unclear as to whether he was just drunk off his ass and imagining things, or drunk off his ass and deciding to become a masked wrestler.

Then they came to their senses, realised what was the more awesome of those two options, and reunited for this.

It is indeed a fantastic book.

But the problem is, I can’t recommend you buy it. It is a graphic novel in the loosest sense of the word – ever so slightly longer than two issues of Hellboy – and yet its price most definitely is that of a graphic novel.

If you buy Hellboy in single issues, use this as an excuse to check out the excellent Dark Horse digital service, which will, I imagine, have it up shortly. And if you buy Hellboy in trades, wait for this to be put in a paperback volume, with – I would image – several other of the fantastic short stories that have come out recently.

Read it, just not in the $15, 56 page hardback.

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