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  1. #1
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    Default The goose is dead

    In discussing the TV network's decision to force him and Twin Peaks cocreator Mark Frost to reveal the solution to the show's central question ("Who killed Laura Palmer?") long before they had intended to do so, and to move on to other plotlines, David Lynch has said, "They killed the goose that laid the golden eggs."

    I think Mike Mignola killed his goose.

    I remember reading every single issue of Hellboy Universe comics, year after year, totally enrapt no matter the quality of the comic in question. Many of them were absolutely excellent, some of them kinda bad, but they all captivated me for a reason that transcended the books' innate qualities. Each book contributed—or potentially contributed, which is really just as good—to the central question of the Hellboy Universe: "At the end of the world, what will Hellboy do?"

    The books have always done a fantastic job of intertwining various stories, with many of the flashback stories foreshadowing developments in the present-day stories, in an utterly delightful way. A lot of this was Arcudi's doing, and the greatest such moment was probably the final panel of an early Lobster Johnson series, when a character asks LoJo, "Boss . . . how do you beat the devil?"—in a chilling reference to Memnan Saa, whom the present-day BPRD was facing up against in concurrently released story arcs. But it wasn't all Arcudi; Mignola has engaged in quite a lot of that, too—for example, Gamori in Midnight Circus promising to leave Hellboy alone as long as Astaroth lived, when the reader knew that in the present, Astaroth had just died, leaving Hellboy no longer protected by that promise.

    But now that the "present" is over, the goose is dead.

    I keep reading the new Hellboy comics, but I'm finding that these days, I'm only enjoying them on their own self-contained merits. Often that's enough, but it's never as much as it used to be. I don't think this has to do with the reduced publication schedule (due to COVID and the Allie scandal). That special feeling of narrative engagement that tied everything together with suspense, and that kept me poring over every newly published adventure for clues about what might ultimately transpire at the conclusion of the whole epic saga—all that is gone. It's not that I'm bored with new Hellboy stories; far from it. I just wish that the vital "room to dream" about what was coming up wasn't so absent. And man, do I feel its absence. I still enjoy the new comics, but I just don't care as much about them.

    Hellboy occupied a lot of my imagination space for a quarter-century. He's still there, I guess, but he's a lot smaller than he used to be. I wonder whether perhaps Mignola might realize this; if so, that might explain the new push to make the Outerverse into a sort of ersatz Hellboy Universe. For the first time, I find myself not caring much whether new Hellboy stories are produced, and I guess I don't think they should continue producing the Hellboy flashback comics for too much longer, unless they can give us something new to dream about while we read them. (Some continuation of the present timeline in the Hollow Earth might possibly do the trick, but given the finality of the Hell on Earth ending, such a continuation would have to be awfully compelling even to justify its existence.)

    I'm glad Mignola got to slaughter his goose on his own terms (though I wish he'd gotten someone more talented than Allie to write the scripts). But it's dead now, and I don't know how much longer he can keep cooking the eggs before they run out.

    Does anybody else here share this feeling?

  2. #2
    Invincible Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Actually, I'm unsure.

    I wasn't as much of a fan of the B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth storyline as I was of the stories set before the whole screwed-up world stuff.

    I keep hoping for more looks at how things were before the Plague of Frogs took over, so I'm happy with stuff like stories about Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder; Lobster Johnson; Sledgehammer '44; and the 1940s-1970s era stories with the B.P.R.D. and Hellboy.

    But then again, I'm strange.

  3. #3
    Mighty Member Angilasman's Avatar
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    The one-and-done Hellboy stories were always my
    favorite, and some of the recent ones (Vagru and Station come to mind) have been terrific, but the wheat-to-chaff ratio has definetely seen an increase in the chaff department recently.

    The dispirating nature of the Allie revelations have been a greater shadow over my fandom for all things Mignolaverse. There's a huge chunk of the overall story I have no interest in revisiting - I wouldn't mind if they went back to the point that Arcudi left the series and just do the entire last third of the series over differently and let the old issues fall out of print and become depressing collector's items.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angilasman View Post
    The dispirating nature of the Allie revelations have been a greater shadow over my fandom for all things Mignolaverse. There's a huge chunk of the overall story I have no interest in revisiting
    I’ve never had the slightest trouble separating the art from the artist. Cultural history is full of artists whose behavior was despicable, just as it is full of non-artists with the same flaws. That’s not to excuse their abusive behavior, nor to imply we shouldn’t hold them accountable whenever we have the chance, in some cases up to and including denying them the opportunity to produce more art. It’s to say that all things being equal there’s really no moral benefit to refusing to appreciate the art they have created.

    In this case, though, the artist not only engaged in despicable behavior—he also wrote really lousy comics. It’s the latter trait, not the former, that makes me unlikely to reread much of his work, with the exception of the final BPRD arc, which I think just manages to overcome its dismayingly bad dialogue in the final issues.

  5. #5
    The Claw of Justice!
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    Admittedly I've kept up with comics more sporadically the last few years anyway (and have yet to actually complete The Devil You Know), but I have lost some enthusiasm for the Hellboy universe, as much as it will always be special to me... Arcudi was a huge part of what made these books great, and his departure was really felt. The newer books just were not up to his level, and the bad blood between the team was depressing to hear about. And of course what came out about Allie was disgusting and depressing as well.
    @lobster20000 on Instagram

  6. #6
    Ultimate Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    Maybe it was the dark nature of Allie's soul, but I found BPRD and especially Hell on Earth to be more and more dark and unpleasant. I stopped reading the Abe Sapien series because it was so unrelentingly grim. I find the past BPRD and Hellboy stories now more enjoyable. Really looking forward to young Hellboy. Now a lot depends on the art, and especially the Mignola draw stories are the top ones. So we might not get ones as good as those again. Unless Mike draws one for us. But give me good art and a fun Hellboy story.
    There came a time when the Old Gods died! The Brave died with the Cunning! The Noble perished locked in battle with unleashed Evil! It was the last day for them! An ancient era was passing in fiery holocaust!

  7. #7
    Invincible Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby101 View Post
    Maybe it was the dark nature of Allie's soul, but I found BPRD and especially Hell on Earth to be more and more dark and unpleasant...
    End-of-the-World stories (and their lead ups) often seem to have that effect . . .

  8. #8
    Mighty Member Angilasman's Avatar
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    By the logic of the original post: Hellboy the Return is gonna knock our socks off in 20+ years.

  9. #9
    Spectacular Member Dinosaur Hulk's Avatar
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    I always loved stories about Hellboy but the ending of Mignola-verse in "Devil You Know" was so... anti-climatic? Rushed? I really didn't like it, never came back to reading his comics after this. Wish Mignola has ended Hellboy story on Hellboy in Hell # 10. As to other reasons... There are too many books coming out nowadays and I feel completely lost will all these Young Hellboy, Hellboy and BPRD, mini-series, annuals, specials etc etc. I would like to read all Mignola-verse in chronological order but it would take me a lot of time I don't have on hands rn (and money, because I love to read comic books in paper) plus it's literally impossible, because while you are reading 200+ issue story, there are new books being published every month.

  10. #10
    Incredible Member topfueluhl's Avatar
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    With the pandemic, 2020 was a very slow year for comics in general and a good time to catch-up. There were only a few Hellboy books released last year, and all worth reading IMO.

    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Return of Effie Kolb #1 - 2
    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Her Fatal Hour & The Sending (one-shot)
    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club (one-shot)
    Last edited by topfueluhl; 02-16-2021 at 10:14 AM.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topfueluhl View Post
    With the pandemic, 2020 was a very slow year for comics in general and a good time to catch-up. There were only a few Hellboy books released last year, and all worth reading IMO.

    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Return of Effie Kolb #1 - 2
    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Her Fatal Hour & The Sending (one-shot)
    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club (one-shot)
    Fatal Hour and Seven Wives were truly great...but Effie Kolb was really lackluster, it felt more like a prologue than an actual story that stood on its own.

  12. #12
    Incredible Member topfueluhl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thwhtGuardian View Post
    Fatal Hour and Seven Wives were truly great...but Effie Kolb was really lackluster, it felt more like a prologue than an actual story that stood on its own.
    I enjoyed Zach Howard's art though.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topfueluhl View Post
    I enjoyed Zach Howard's art though.
    The art was certainly great, though it took me a bit to get over my disappointment that it wasn't Corben.

  14. #14
    Spectacular Member Dinosaur Hulk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topfueluhl View Post
    With the pandemic, 2020 was a very slow year for comics in general and a good time to catch-up. There were only a few Hellboy books released last year, and all worth reading IMO.

    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Return of Effie Kolb #1 - 2
    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Her Fatal Hour & The Sending (one-shot)
    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club (one-shot)
    Did as you suggested and have read Seven Wives Club, Beast of Vargu and Night at Goloski. Amazing stuff. Probably will read more later.

  15. #15
    Incredible Member topfueluhl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheImmortalHulk View Post
    Did as you suggested and have read Seven Wives Club, Beast of Vargu and Night at Goloski. Amazing stuff. Probably will read more later.
    I'm glad to hear it!

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