Hellboy – Odd Jobs - Christopher Golden (ed.) (Dark Horse Books, 1999, 212 p., Tpb)
In 1994 Mike Mignola created one of the most unique and visually arresting comics series to ever see print: Hellboy. Tens of thousands have followed the exploits of "the World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator" in comics form, and in the novel Hellboy: The Lost Army, written by Christopher Golden. Now, fans of the comic can enjoy the world of Hellboy as seen through the eyes of some of today's best writers.
Content: Introduction - Mike Mignola Cartoon - Gahan Wilson Medusa's Revenge - Yvonne Navarro Jigsaw - Stephen R. Bissette A Mother Cries At Midnight - Philip Nutman Delivered - Greg Rucka Folie á deux - Nancy Holder Demon Politics - Craig Shaw Gardner A Grim Fairy Tale - Nancy A. Collins Scared Crows - Jim Connolly and Rick Hautala Where Their Fire Is Not Quenched - Chet Williamson I Had Bigfoot's Baby! - Max Allan Collins The Nuckelavee - Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola A Night at the Beach - Matthew J. Costello Burn, Baby, Burn - Poppy Z. Brite Far Flew the Boast of Him - Brian Hodge
This is the first of a few prose Hellboy anthologies, and the line-up was pretty prominent, a mirror of its time. The stories are the usual mixed lot, some try to imitate the comics formula and are very mundane, others try to be a bit looser and make things more interesting. My opinion is that comic characters never translate well to prose stories, and especially Hellboy depends on its moody artwork. Mignola as a writer managed the fine art to let it look simple, while it is the exact opposite. His blend of folklore, melancholic atmosphere and monster-action was surprisingly successful, and a lot of the sequels managed to duplicate this. But in these short stories and the handful Hellboy novels which followed it never worked convincingly enough, I think.