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  1. #1

    Default New to Hellboy: can I read (and understand) Abe Sapien, BPRD and Sledgehammer 44 without Hellboy?

    I've only read the first two volumes of Hellboy (Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil). If I read BPRD: Plague Of Frogs, Sledgehammer 44 or Abe Sapien, would I understand? Or would I be missing out on a lot of info?

  2. #2

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    You can read B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs without having read Hellboy. It's made to be accessible to new readers. You'll just get a bit more out of it if you've read up to Hellboy: Conqueror Worm (volume 5) first.

    The first two volumes of Abe Sapien stand alone really well. Jump in any time. From volume 3 onwards, it spins off from B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: A Cold Day in Hell (Volume 7). I suggest you get up to date before reading those stories.

    Sledgehammer 44 stands alone really well, but you'll get more out of it if you've read Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus and The Burning Hand (volumes 1 and 2).

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by middenway View Post
    You can read B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs without having read Hellboy. It's made to be accessible to new readers. You'll just get a bit more out of it if you've read up to Hellboy: Conqueror Worm (volume 5) first.

    The first two volumes of Abe Sapien stand alone really well. Jump in any time. From volume 3 onwards, it spins off from B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: A Cold Day in Hell (Volume 7). I suggest you get up to date before reading those stories.

    Sledgehammer 44 stands alone really well, but you'll get more out of it if you've read Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus and The Burning Hand (volumes 1 and 2).
    Thank you. I'm actually new to this whole comic thing (only just got into it about two or three months ago) and sometimes its a little hard to integrate yourself. One more question: is B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth a continuation of Plague of Frogs? And there's also simply a "B.P.R.D." What's the difference between all of these?

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Joker's Avatar
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    BPRD was the title of the monthly comic. Once collected it was put under the "Plague of Frogs" banner. Hell On Earth follows Plague of Frogs.

    You certain can, as stated, read BPRD without reading Hellboy, but I can't imagine why you'd skip Hellboy.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresMyElefant View Post
    Thank you. I'm actually new to this whole comic thing (only just got into it about two or three months ago) and sometimes its a little hard to integrate yourself. One more question: is B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth a continuation of Plague of Frogs? And there's also simply a "B.P.R.D." What's the difference between all of these?
    When B.P.R.D. started, I don't think anyone imagined it would become the sprawling story it has. It was retroactively split into "cycles" when the omnibuses were released. Plague of Frogs is the first cycle, Hell on Earth is the second. Then there's the flashback stories. B.P.R.D. 1946–1947–1948 is a smaller cycle (the monibus will be coming out in June), followed by the B.P.R.D. Vampire cycle (which has only one story so far). B.P.R.D.: Being Human is a collection of short stories that doesn't belong to any larger cycle.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joker View Post
    BPRD was the title of the monthly comic. Once collected it was put under the "Plague of Frogs" banner. Hell On Earth follows Plague of Frogs.

    You certain can, as stated, read BPRD without reading Hellboy, but I can't imagine why you'd skip Hellboy.
    Oh, I'm not skipping Hellboy. The thing is I bought the first three volumes of BPRD Plague Of Frogs without knowing exactly up to where I would need to read in Hellboy. So once I found out, I realized I would have to wait a good while in order to buy four more volumes of Hellboy. I'll read them, but I just need to buy them first haha

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresMyElefant View Post
    Oh, I'm not skipping Hellboy. The thing is I bought the first three volumes of BPRD Plague Of Frogs without knowing exactly up to where I would need to read in Hellboy. So once I found out, I realized I would have to wait a good while in order to buy four more volumes of Hellboy. I'll read them, but I just need to buy them first haha
    If you've bought the first three volumes, you only have to get two more Hellboy volumes. B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs picks up after Hellboy: Conqueror Worm (Volume 5... or the third Hellboy Library Edition).

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by middenway View Post
    If you've bought the first three volumes, you only have to get two more Hellboy volumes. B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs picks up after Hellboy: Conqueror Worm (Volume 5... or the third Hellboy Library Edition).
    I have the first three volumes of Plague of Frogs, but only the first two Hellboy volumes. So I'll have to pick up three Hellboy volumes... I'll probably just end up buying them online next week. Also, where in the timeline are all of these? Lobster Johnson is before Hellboy is even "born" right? And then Plague Of Frogs is right after Conqueror Worm... so when in the timeline are the first two volumes of Abe Sapien, Hell On Earth and Sledgehammer 44?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresMyElefant View Post
    I have the first three volumes of Plague of Frogs, but only the first two Hellboy volumes. So I'll have to pick up three Hellboy volumes... I'll probably just end up buying them online next week. Also, where in the timeline are all of these? Lobster Johnson is before Hellboy is even "born" right? And then Plague Of Frogs is right after Conqueror Worm... so when in the timeline are the first two volumes of Abe Sapien, Hell On Earth and Sledgehammer 44?
    Sledgehammer 44 is set in 1944. Hell on Earth follows Plague of Frogs. Abe Sapien volume 1 and 2 each depict events from earlier in Abe's life and prior to the events of Hellboy Seed of Destruction. I believe it's all set between 1981 and 1985.

  10. #10
    Incredible Member Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresMyElefant View Post
    I have the first three volumes of Plague of Frogs, but only the first two Hellboy volumes. So I'll have to pick up three Hellboy volumes... I'll probably just end up buying them online next week. Also, where in the timeline are all of these? Lobster Johnson is before Hellboy is even "born" right? And then Plague Of Frogs is right after Conqueror Worm... so when in the timeline are the first two volumes of Abe Sapien, Hell On Earth and Sledgehammer 44?
    Hi and welcome.

    As pretty much a Mignola-completist since and before Hellboy becoming first released, I commend your taste and hope you needn't worry.

    Even if it seems daunting it will be rewarding to manage keeping track of what comics you'd want to read and I hope they'll prove available to you.

    How timelines or anything pertaining to storytelling would or could pan out, will be designed for entertaining the reader, I'd expect.

    It won't likely be a matter of 'wrong versus right' anyway. But seeming mainly stuff to discover, I'd feel. By reading for oneself both as how one manages to.

    Each mini or collected edition or even each full story seems written so as to hold up on its own already. Even if or when numerous books tie in together, in all kinds of ways, as making it possible how the whole of it develops as uniquely and as intricately as it has been.

    It's true that oftentimes new titles hail back to earlier ones plus numerous existing stuff is referenced to, but that won't mean that earlier books would be or become 'wrong' or incomplete somehow. It won't mean that references need to be got per se.

    Since references work as adding to comprehension or bits of help potentially, they need no anticipation or special prepping most likely. Although it would likely be good to read up on character names or asterisked bits if desired, once such a reference would've become established by a reader.

    It's true that timelines may differ from publication order, but then again even publication order or how books are conceived of, won't neededly become *wrong* due to anything. No special steps need to be taken by any new reader I'd believe.

    When the premisse is more that any twists or non-anticipated developments could in time prove gratifying by having content turn out as diverse and organic as it would, time and again, with each new title addition, to any readers alike.

    I'd think it an actual and deliberate choice of creators to be telling stories not purely chronological or linearly, as something which could prove gratifying or add weight and wonderment more rather than not.

    Take Lobster Johnson for example, who isn't firstly introduced in his own titles, but in Hellboy books most initially. Which says something about how Hellboy would have come to know of LoJo most initially, with leaving the Lobsters' own actual origin a thing of itself. How Hellboy knows the Lobster or how the Lobster would have actually been could be separate things.
    As if separate books or separate stories can exist next to eachother, without taking away from eachother, no matter their order.

    There would even be highly secretive or noncompliant faculties in Hellboy's world, from witches to powerhungry necromancers to mens' clubs or goddesses, noncompliant towards their own origins or poignantness.

    Lobster Johnson his origin, or either Sledgehammer or the Frankenstein monster their origins are quite particular each in their own way and all of them don't necessarily arise merely in their own named titles. I dare you or anyone to be spotting each of them within any of the Mignolaverse books as most initially! Happy reading.
    Last edited by Kees_L; 04-10-2015 at 06:58 PM.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kees_L View Post
    Hi and welcome.

    As pretty much a Mignola-completist since and before Hellboy becoming first released, I commend your taste and hope you needn't worry.

    Even if it seems daunting it will be rewarding to manage keeping track of what comics you'd want to read and I hope they'll prove available to you.

    How timelines or anything pertaining to storytelling would or could pan out, will be designed for entertaining the reader, I'd expect.

    It won't likely be a matter of 'wrong versus right' anyway. But seeming mainly stuff to discover, I'd feel. By reading for oneself both as how one manages to.

    Each mini or collected edition or even each full story seems written so as to hold up on its own already. Even if or when numerous books tie in together, in all kinds of ways, as making it possible how the whole of it develops as uniquely and as intricately as it has been.

    It's true that oftentimes new titles hail back to earlier ones plus numerous existing stuff is referenced to, but that won't mean that earlier books would be or become 'wrong' or incomplete somehow. It won't mean that references need to be got per se.

    Since references work as adding to comprehension or bits of help potentially, they need no anticipation or special prepping most likely. Although it would likely be good to read up on character names or asterisked bits if desired, once such a reference would've become established by a reader.

    It's true that timelines may differ from publication order, but then again even publication order or how books are conceived of, won't neededly become *wrong* due to anything. No special steps need to be taken by any new reader I'd believe.

    When the premisse is more that any twists or non-anticipated developments could in time prove gratifying by having content turn out as diverse and organic as it would, time and again, with each new title addition, to any readers alike.

    I'd think it an actual and deliberate choice of creators to be telling stories not purely chronological or linearly, as something which could prove gratifying or add weight and wonderment more rather than not.

    Take Lobster Johnson for example, who isn't firstly introduced in his own titles, but in Hellboy books most initially. Which says something about how Hellboy would have come to know of LoJo most initially, with leaving the Lobsters' own actual origin a thing of itself. How Hellboy knows the Lobster or how the Lobster would have actually been could be separate things.
    As if separate books or separate stories can exist next to eachother, without taking away from eachother, no matter their order.

    There would even be highly secretive or noncompliant faculties in Hellboy's world, from witches to powerhungry necromancers to mens' clubs or goddesses, noncompliant towards their own origins or poignantness.

    Lobster Johnson his origin, or either Sledgehammer or the Frankenstein monster their origins are quite particular each in their own way and all of them don't necessarily arise merely in their own named titles. I dare you or anyone to be spotting each of them within any of the Mignolaverse books as most initially! Happy reading.
    Thank you very much for the great comment. I will try my best to follow what you just said. It's just hard to think of things that way, since one is usually used to having to read, watch or play anything in a chronological order. You can't get Revenge of the Sith without watching Clone Wars first. That sort of stuff. But I'm sure it will feel very rewarding to discover these things within the timeline on my own. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Incredible Member Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresMyElefant View Post
    Thank you very much for the great comment. I will try my best to follow what you just said. It's just hard to think of things that way, since one is usually used to having to read, watch or play anything in a chronological order. You can't get Revenge of the Sith without watching Clone Wars first. That sort of stuff. But I'm sure it will feel very rewarding to discover these things within the timeline on my own. Thanks.
    No problem. And I get what you mean.

    Although speaking of Star Wars, I'd think that exact sequential movie-line may well be one of the most known examples of a title starting well into its story, instead of just at the very start as but chronologically!

    Likely the latter episodes appeared as movies first due to presenting just an elegant or balanced enough entry-point.
    I mean it surely won't have been done just to bug people.

    As logical as it may seem to start at the beginning a story or line of those should likely never sound as just a boring documentary or literal microwave-manual - although come to think of it: what documentary or manual would necessarily only start at their most initial beginnings. Really none of them I would think.
    (Think about a microwave manual going: "this was going to be a birdhouse, but then the boss wanted it to be another microwave... - etc")

    I think storytellers or creators will generally seek to be servicing the story matter and reading enjoyment as best they can.
    With likely the help of whatever tools, such as chronology and keeping things comprehensible, but also plenty of stuff besides that. For any types of readers as well as for themselves. Constantly and continuously. What else is a story but a chunk of stuff told comprehensibly bÚth as captivatingly.

    Like as if story matter may develop best or most opportunely as with granting it its own logic by looking at where it came from both as where it would need to be going, if anywhere, with keeping in mind how stuff would have been appearing next to how best to follow up on that. Plus with having endings be really endings. I think the Hellverse has been but truely magnificent at all of this.
    Last edited by Kees_L; 04-11-2015 at 07:13 PM.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by middenway View Post
    You can read B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs without having read Hellboy. It's made to be accessible to new readers. You'll just get a bit more out of it if you've read up to Hellboy: Conqueror Worm (volume 5) first.

    The first two volumes of Abe Sapien stand alone really well. Jump in any time. From volume 3 onwards, it spins off from B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: A Cold Day in Hell (Volume 7). I suggest you get up to date before reading those stories.

    Sledgehammer 44 stands alone really well, but you'll get more out of it if you've read Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus and The Burning Hand (volumes 1 and 2).
    Hey and I forgot to ask: what about witchfinder?

  14. #14

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    Witchfinder stands alone perfectly. And I love it.

  15. #15
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    Also a great bunch of standalone stuff to read is BPRD 46-48 and Vampire. I feel like you can read and get the best out of this any time after Wake the Devil, but that's not at all necessary. I really think it's almost required reading for Hellboy and the BPRD 1952 though.

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