Where Do I Start Reading Hellboy?

For 25 years artist/writer Mike Mignola has crafted stories of Hellboy, the well-meaning demon summoned by Nazi occultists who now works to save the world from a variety of supernatural threats. While that sounds like that may have a limited scope, each Hellboy story actually draws from a large pool of influences. Everything from Jack Kirby, H.P Lovecraft, folklore from all around the world, Edgar Allen Poe, pulp heroes, and much more have inspired Mignola to form a comic that is truly unique.

Hellboy is also visually unique through the use of Mignola’s high-contrast style. Mignola implements heavy blacks in his art, which work well with the supernatural and shadowy tones of the subject matter. It’s a style that’s gone on to be Mignola’s signature and has been noted as being influential to many artists.

With so many miniseries, one-shots, short stories, and different publication formats, it can be difficult to know where to start with reading Hellboy. Read on to find out the best way to start reading as well as what the best format to read it is.

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1 cover by Mike Mignola.
Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1 cover by Mike Mignola.

So, Where Do I Start?

If you’re looking for Hellboy a good place to start is at the very beginning, which is Hellboy: Seed of Destruction. It kicks off the long-running Hellboy narrative, which would carry throughout much of Hellboy and related comics.

The only downside to starting with Seed of Destruction is that Mike Mignola hasn’t found his groove with Hellboy yet. But with each passing story, we see that groove formed into the Hellboy we know and love.

If you want to skip to the point where Hellboy’s groove is found, start with the Right Hand of Doom short story. It recaps the main thread of what happened before and then pushes Hellboy further for future stories.

Where Can I Find Hellboy Comics?

Hellboy comics and collected editions can be found in most places you find comics. These include all good comic book stores, online stores, digitally on Comixology or Dark Horse Digital, and eBay.

Reading Formats

Digging around looking for all the original issues can be difficult, and expensive. Luckily, Dark Horse Comics has released Hellboy in three handy formats. These are:

  • Trade Paperbacks – Collecting approximately 4-8 issues of material
  • Library Editions – These collect the equivalent of two trade paperbacks of material, along with extras, in a larger hardcover format.
  • Omnibus Editions – These editions are the newest format for Hellboy and collect approximately 300-500 pages of material. They have been reworked to collect material in chronological order.

None of these versions have exclusive stories so you won’t be missing out if you choose one format over another.

It’s totally up to you which format you choose. If you want small portions of story, then the Trade Paperbacks are the way to go. Library Editions look nice on the bookshelf. And the Omnibus Editions are great for binge reading.

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction Trade Paperback cover by Mike Mignola.
Hellboy: Seed of Destruction Trade Paperback cover by Mike Mignola.

Hellboy Trade Paperbacks

Trade paperbacks are the format that you’ll see the most commonly if you go looking for Hellboy. For ease of use, I have split this area up into different sections.

Main Series

Volume 1: Seed of Destruction
Collects: Seed of Destruction #1-4, ‘World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator (SDCC)’ short story, and ‘World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator (Comics Buys Guide)’ short story

Volume 2: Wake the Devil
Collects: Wake the Devil #1-5

Volume 3: The Chained Coffin and Others
Collects: ‘The Corpse’ short story, ‘The Iron Shoes’ short story, ‘The Baba Yaga’ short story, ‘A Christmas Underground’ short story, ‘The Chained Coffin’ short story, The Wolves of Saint August #1, and Almost Colossus #1-2

Volume 4: The Right Hand of Doom
Collects: ‘Pancakes’ short story, ‘The Nature of the Beast’ short story, ‘King Vold’ short story, ‘Heads’ short story, ‘Goodbye Mister Tod’ short story, ‘The Vârcolac’ short story, ‘The Right Hand of Doom’ short story, and Box Full of Evil #1-2

Volume 5: Conqueror Worm
Collects: Conqueror Worm #1-4

Volume 6: Strange Places
Collects:
The Third Wish #1-2 and The Island #1-2

Volume 7: The Troll Witch and Others
Collects:
The Penanggalan, ‘The Hydra and the Lion’ short story, ‘The Troll-Witch’ short story, ‘The Vampire of Prague’ short story, ‘Dr. Carp’s Experiment’ short story, ‘The Ghoul’ short story, and Makoma #1-2

Volume 8: Darkness Calls
Collects:
Darkness Calls #1-6

Volume 9: The Wild Hunt
Collects:
The Wild Hunt #1-8

Volume 10: The Crooked Man and Others
Collects:
The Crooked Man #1-3, They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships #1, In the Chapel of Moloch #1, and ‘The Mole’ short story

Volume 11: The Bride of Hell and Others
Collects:
Hellboy in Mexico #1, Double Feature of Evil #1, The Sleeping and the Dead #1-2, The Bride of Hell #1, The Whittier Legacy #1, and Buster Oakley Gets His Wish #1

Volume 12: The Storm and the Fury
Collects:
The Storm #1-3, and The Fury #1-3

Hellboy in Hell Volume 1: The Descent
Collects:
Hellboy in Hell #1-5

Hellboy in Hell Volume 2: The Death Card
Collects:
Hellboy in Hell #6-10

Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea cover by Mike Mignola.
Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea cover by Mike Mignola.

Other In-Continuity Stories

Hellboy: House of the Living Dead OGN

Hellboy: The Midnight Circus OGN

Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea OGN

Hellboy in Mexico
Collects:
Hellboy in Mexico #1, House of the Living Dead OGN, ‘Hellboy versus the Aztec Mummy’ short story, ‘Hellboy Gets Married’ short story, ‘The Coffin Man’ short story, and ‘The Coffin Man 2: The Rematch’ short story

Out of Continuity Stories

Hellboy: Weird Tales Volume 1
Collects:
Weird Tales #1-4

Hellboy: Weird Tales Volume 2
Collects:
Weird Tales #5-8

Hellboy Junior
Collects:
Hellboy Junior: Halloween Special and Hellboy Junior #1-2

Itty Bitty Hellboy
Collects:
Itty Bitty Hellboy #1-5

Itty Bitty Hellboy: The Search for the Were-Jaguar!
Collects:
Itty Bitty Hellboy: The Search for the Were-Jaguar #1-4

Hellboy Library Edition Volume 2 cover by Mike Mignola.
Hellboy Library Edition Volume 2 cover by Mike Mignola.

Hellboy Library Editions

The Library Editions consolidated a lot of the content into fewer collections to make it easier to find everything, while still looking great on a bookshelf.

Volume 1: Seed Of Destruction And Wake The Devil
Collects:
Seed of Destruction #1-4 and Wake The Devil #1-5

Volume 2: The Chained Coffin And The Right Hand Of Doom
Collects:
‘The Corpse’ short story, ‘The Iron Shoes’, ‘The Baba Yaga’, ‘A Christmas Underground’ short story, ‘The Chained Coffin’ short story, The Wolves of Saint August #1, Almost Colossus #1-2, ‘Pancakes’ short story, ‘The Nature of the Beast’ short story, ‘King Vold’ short story, ‘Heads’ short story, ‘Goodbye Mister Tod’ short story, ‘The Vârcolac’ short story, ‘The Right Hand of Doom’ short story, and Box Full of Evil #1-2

Volume 3: Conqueror Worm And Strange Places
Collects
: Conqueror Worm #1-4, The Third Wish #1-2, and The Island #1-2

Volume 4: The Crooked Man And The Troll Witch
Collects:
The Penanggalan, ‘The Hydra and the Lion’ short story, ‘The Troll-Witch’ short story, ‘The Vampire of Prague’ short story, ‘Dr. Carp’s Experiment’ short story, ‘The Ghoul’ short story, Makoma #1-2, The Crooked Man #1-3, They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships #1, and In the Chapel of Moloch #1

Volume 5: Darkness Calls And The Wild Hunt
Collects:
Darkness Calls #1-6, The Wild Hunt #1-8, and ‘The Mole’ short story

Volume 6: The Storm And The Fury And The Bride Of Hell
Collects:
Hellboy in Mexico #1, Double Feature of Evil #1, The Sleeping and the Dead #1-2, The Bride of Hell #1, The Whittier Legacy #1, Buster Oakley Gets His Wish #1, The Storm #1-3, and The Fury #1-3

Hellboy In Hell Library Edition
Collects:
Hellboy In Hell #1-10

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction Omnibus cover by Mike Mignola.
Hellboy: Seed of Destruction Omnibus cover by Mike Mignola.

Hellboy Omnibus Editions

In 2018, Dark Horse consolidated Hellboy even further with the Omnibus editions. The editions collect the most content per book at an affordable price.

Hellboy Omnibus Volume 1: Seed of Destruction
Collects:
Seed of Destruction #1-4, Wake the Devil #1-5, and Wolves of St August #1, ‘The Chained Coffin’ short story, and Almost Colossus #1-2.

Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1
Collects:
‘Pancakes’short story, The Midnight Circus, ‘The Nature of the Beast’ short story, ‘King Vold’ short story, Hellboy in Mexico #1, ‘Hellboy versus the Aztec Mummy’ short story, ‘Hellboy Gets Married’ short story, ‘The Coffin Man’ short story, ‘The Coffin Man 2: The Rematch’ short story, House of the Living Dead, ‘The Crooked Man’ short story, The Penanggalan #1, ‘The Corpse’ short story, Double Feature of Evil #1, and ‘The Iron Shoes’ short story.

Hellboy Omnibus Volume 2: Strange Places
Collects:
Conqueror Worm #1-4, The Third Wish #1-2, and The Island #1-2, Into the Silent Sea, ‘The Right Hand of Doom’ short story, Box Full of Evil #1-2, and ‘Being Human’ short story.

Hellboy Omnibus Volume 3: The Wild Hunt
Collects:
Darkness Calls #1-6, The Wild Hunt #1-8, ‘The Mole’ short story, The Storm #1-3, and The Fury #1-3.

Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 2
Collects:
‘The Hydra and the Lion’ short story, ‘The Troll Witch’ short story, ‘The Baba Yaga’ short story, ‘The Sleeping and the Dead’ short story, ‘Heads’ short story, ‘Goodbye Mister Tod’ short story, ‘The Vârcolac’ short story, ‘The Vampire of Prague’ short story, ‘The Bride of Hell’ short story, ‘The Whittier Legacy’ short story, ‘Buster Oakley Gets His Wish’ short story, ‘They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships’, ‘A Christmas Underground’, ‘Dr. Carp’s Experiment’, The Ghoul #1, In the Chapel of Moloch #1, and Makoma #1-2.

Hellboy Omnibus Volume 4: Hellboy In Hell
Collects:
Hellboy In Hell #1-10, ‘The Exorcist of Vorsk’ short story, and ‘The Magician and the Snake’ short story.

Have Your Say!

Will you be reading any Hellboy? Which format appeals to you? Let me know in the comments below or via Facebook or Twitter.

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