A Hell Of A Debut
Tripwire continues its daily recommendation of 100 graphic novels people should read with Dark Horse’s Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction, by John Byrne and Mike Mignola, out now in trade, reviewed by its editor-in-chief Joel Meadows …
Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction
Writers: John Byrne and Mike Mignola
Artist: Mike Mignola
It is hard to believe that Mike Mignola’s Hellboy celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Back in 1994, Mike Mignola was a jobbing comic artist who had worked for DC and Marvel, creating some interesting work. Hellboy was part of Dark Horse’s now defunct Legend line, which also included Frank Miller’s Sin City and John Byrne’s Next Men. Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, the first Hellboy tale, was scripted by the aforementioned John Byrne and introduces us to the eponymous character. Brought to Earth as a child, Hellboy straddles two worlds, whose destiny is very possibly to destroy the world.
Seed Of Destruction introduces all of the ingredients that have made Hellboy such an enduring character: evil Nazis obsessed with the occult, the sardonic central protagonist and a crew of intriguing supporting characters. It is interesting to read this in retrospect and compare it with what follows. Having John Byrne onboard as its scripter to get the ball rolling was a stroke of genius. By this point, he was a very experienced writer and Byrne sets the scene with pace and brevity.
Artistically, it is a little more primitive than the later Hellboy stories but if you consider that, prior to this, Mignola was best known as drawing some of Marvel and DC’s most well-known superheroes, so Hellboy was a true breath of fresh air compared with what had come before in his career. Visually, the series displays Mignola’s simple but effective storytelling and his classic yet modern approach to page composition. Colourist Mark Chiarello, no slouch as an artist in his own right, brings a colour palette that perfectly sets off Mignola’s lines.
The synthesis of pulp adventure and superheroics was well-delineated and a lot of fun. Hellboy had arrived and Seed Of Destruction is still a brilliant introduction to an enduring character.
Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction is out now from Dark Horse Comics
Here’s a link to the first two of our 100 GNs too