Comic Review: Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1954 TPB (Dark Horse)

Let’s harken back to days of yore, 1954, if you’re willin’… Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954, a new trade from Dark Horse, collects several single issues, including Black Sun 1 […]

Let’s harken back to days of yore, 1954, if you’re willin’…

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954, a new trade from Dark Horse, collects several single issues, including Black Sun 1 and 2, The Unreasoning Beast, Ghost Moon 1 and 2, and Hellboy: The Mirror.

As the title suggests, Hellboy, and his colleagues from the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense investigate paranormal occurrences, in the year 1954. This places them in the midst of the Cold War, after World War 2. The tales mix Nazis, Mao China, and good ol’ spooky everyday hometowns, in a blend of horror, spoof, and exaggerated comic fun.

Hellboy is bigger than life, literally, but so are the spooks he and his team confront.
There are ghosts of monkeys, hints of alien intelligence, and some secret service skullduggery afoot here. This collection seems to me to be a kind of “scoop of spooky stuff”, rather than fully crafted stories with solid beginnings and endings; a case in point that almost every story hints toward a continuation involving more mystery.

In that sense, it’s a bit frustrating, a little like watching one or two episodes of a mini-series.

However, the storytelling is tight, and if it relies a little too much on historical depictions, (telling rather than showing) then so be it.

It’s a handy and entertaining trade to have, with stories by Mike Mignola, and art by a variety of excellent artists, including Stephen Green, Patric Reynolds, Brian Churilla, and horror legend Richard Corben. Also included are story roughs, character sketches, and other illustrations.

Dark Horse Hellboy and the BPRD 1954, 146 pages of content, not rated.

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!