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"Hellboy vs. Lobster Johnson" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Hellboy Vs Lobster Johnson 00

Written by Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson
Illustrated by Mike Norton
Colored by Dave Stewart
Lettered by Clem Robins
Backup story illustrated by Paul Grist and colored by Bill Crabtree
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 29th, 2019

Review:

Hellboy's time in Mexico is still somewhat of a mystery, which is why I am delighted whenever creator Mike Mignola decides to revisit it. Add Lobster Johnson, one of my favorite characters from the Mignolaverse, to the mix and it's a definite must-read. Hellboy vs. Lobster Johnson delves into a unique encounter between the two characters, in the form of a cheesy old movie called Ring of Death. Big Red watches it with Vic at B.P.R.D. headquarters in 1962 and he's more than a little embarrassed.

The care that artist Mike Norton put into the details of this story is amazing. There are so many elements that mirror the cheap and ridiculous nature of a super low budget movie from the '40s or '50s. For example, when Hellboy appears as the devil, there are bats flying around him...or rather, there are bats hanging on very visible strings.

Hellboy Vs Lobster Johnson 01
Click image to enlarge

There's also the nice touch of re-using shots throughout the book. The aforementioned bat shot is one that pops up again and again, along with another intimidating image of Hellboy charging the camera. We find out in the backup story, “Down Mexico Way”, that there's a reason for this, as Hellboy was drunk as a skunk and could barely stand during the film's production. This attention to detail is awesome and really brings the book together as a whole.

This comes out a bit in Clem Robins' letters, as there are some shots where Hellboy's words are jumbled, coming out in squiggly balloons. The other scenes are clearer, which gives us the impression that his dialogue was dubbed in during post-production.

Colorist Dave Stewart creates the signature look of an old black-and-white movie, albeit with much better resolution. Sure, I'd love to see this in full color because Norton's artwork is great, but that wouldn't fit with the tone of the story. Instead, it's this insane tale of a luchador hunting Satan as you can only get with something like this.

Hellboy Vs Lobster Johnson 02Hellboy Vs Lobster Johnson 03
Click images to enlarge

Stewart also shines in the very beginning and end of the comic as we bounce back to 1962 with Hellboy and Vic watching the movie. They're lit by the glow of the television, one in complete and utter humiliation and the other in shock and laughter.

Hellboy vs. Lobster Johnson shows us the sillier side of the Mignolaverse. It's not a slapstick comedy, but it shows how it can poke fun at itself. Writers Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson turned in a great tale that uses the best elements of these characters and the crazy world they live in. I would read an ongoing series of Hellboy's adventures in Mexico if this is the kind of thing we'd get.

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Hellboy Vs Lobster Johnson Small
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fivestars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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