“Try Something New.” That challenge is the whole reason for this feature’s existence. Month in and month out we buy the comics we know and love, the ones we look forward to every time but there are countless series that travel under our radar, ones that we just don’t give a chance and get passed by. That’s why I made a vow: every week I’d pick up an issue for a series that wasn’t on my pull-list in the hopes of finding a hidden gem. Welcome to Off The Shelf where we’ll discover if my leap of faith paid dividends this week. Also, I should mention that there be SPOILERS in this review. You are warned! ________________________________________________________
Itty Bitty Hellboy #1Publisher
Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani
Prior Experience With Title
I’m a huge fan of the Hellboy franchise owning all the Library Editions and B.P.R.D. Hardcovers. I like to say I’m pretty well-versed in all things Hellboy.
Why Did I Give It A Shot?
Well…first of all it is Hellboy-related so they have my attention immediately. Then I saw it was by the same creative team that brought us the fun-loving Tiny Titans series which piqued by interest even more. Seeing these rather dark and dramatic characters getting a humorous facelift is not only unique for the franchise but also just plain awesome.
It is a fun first issue with lots of vignettes in a similar vein to their Tiny Titans work, Hellboy with a kiddy twist. Some of the skits involve forts made of appliance boxes, a naked Roger hiding in the bushes, Johann sneezing himself out of his containment suit, and Hellboy and Liz putting chicken noodle soup into Johann’s fish bowl helmet to cure his cold which causes it to be so top-heavy that they stuff it with crackers to absorb the soup. Overall, there’s a lot of fun visual gags with some winks to Hellboy fans familiar with the material.
Karl Kroenen: So, he’s called Hellboy? Have you seen this guy?
Rasputin’s Ghost: Sure did. He’s red, wears a coat, and has a big hand!
Karl Kroenen: Big hands?!
Rasputin’s Ghost: No. Just one big hand.
Karl Kroenen: Really, Rasputin? Really?
Rasputin’s Ghost: He’s kind of scary, too!
Karl Kroenen: Oh, no worries, my comrade. We are safe in my fort.
Rasputin’s Ghost: Um…the box?
Karl Kroenen: Box? Box, you say? Not only is this double corrugated…but it comes from the best dishwasher department store around! It can withstand any attack!
Karl Kroenen: Surrender now! You inferior red creature! You cannot deny the inevitable!
Roger: Have you see poison ivy up close?
Karl Kroenen: What?
Roger: It’s not as itchy as I thought.
Final Verdict: The gags were fun and the comic world is in desperate need of more series that are lighthearted. This fits the bill quite nicely by combining a series I love with a proven formula that works for this creative team. The story may be overly simplistic but that is part of its charm and after reading it I couldn’t wait to see the next issue see release. Thusly, I’m going to have to Add It To My Pull-List.