Bagged and Boarded Comic Reviews: The Best of Hellboy, The Witcher, and More!


New comic book Wednesday has come and gone. The dust at your local comic shop has settled. An eerie silence descends as you finish reading your last superhero book of the week. Now it's time for something a little more sinister. Welcome to Bagged and Boarded: comic reviews of the sick, spooky, twisted and terrifying!

Hellboy: The First 20 Years

Saturday March 22nd marks a very special day in comics. Hellboy Day. It's crazy to think that the comic about the big red lug and his paranormal friends has been going strong for two decades. But time marches on, and Hellboy: The First 20 Years is a lush and wonderful commemoration of the comic. Mike Mignola's work has spawned a whole world of mythos, amazing characters, and wonderful design, and this book is proof of it. The book is filled with Mignola's best illustrations over the past twenty years, never-before-seen artwork, and a wonderful introduction.

Bag it or board it up? I don't hide my love for all things Hellboy. But I will admit that this is an item for fans of Mignola's artwork and collectors alone. You won't find any stories in here, you won't find daring and weird adventure. But you'll find a masterfully crafted book that's been given a lot of attention and care. If you really like Mignola's work, this one's an obvious "buy".

The Maxx: Maxximized No. 5

The Maxx is back and better than ever. These classic indie comics, originally one of the forerunners of the underground scene, are finally seeing a high-res revival with The Maxx: Maxximized. In issue number five, The Maxx falls asleep after eating sweets and watching cartoons, and enters into a whimsical, albeit monstrous, world of rhymes, creatures, and terror. This issue, famous for inviting another illustrator in to do the dream sequence, looks crisp and clean in this reissue.

Bag it or board it up? It's nice to check in every once in a while with these Maxx reissues. The colors are clean, the reworking stays true to form, and it's so fun to revisit these twisted tales. Something's not quite right about these comics. They're of a different time, and they all have that early nineties "weird for weird's sake" attitude to them. If you want to take a trip down memory lane, or if you're into Alice in Wonderland-esque stories, you should definitely check this issue out. And just look at that cover! Gives me goosebumps!

The Witcher No. 1

By now 'The Witcher' has moved from novels to video games, and onto comics. The titular Witcher of this story is a man possessed of magical powers who hunts monsters for hire as he roams the countryside. When he meets up with an amiable hunter stalked by his once-wife (now-vampire), the two set off into the woods to get away from her sorrowful gaze. But when they encounter a graveyard hag, a spirit of the woods, and a nasty forest maze, they begin to question if venturing into the woods was the right move after all.

Bag it or board it up? I'll admit, I'm usually pretty biased against video game adaptations in comics. They're usually half-handed, lazy, and just regurgitate the same old tropes you pressed "A" through in the game version. But this comic, lushly illustrated by Joe Querio and with a satisfying script by Paul Tobin, sets the bar much higher. The story is engaging, the atmosphere and world feels lived in and highly detailed, and it's even a little spooky. Even if you're not familiar with the video games you should read this comic.

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth No. 117

Things are beginning to reach a fever pitch in New York City. Manhattan, like the rest of the world, is half-destroyed by monsters. There are gargantuan monsters who stomp through the streets, and tiny ones that clatter all around. All of this is due to the Zinco Corporation, and a magical entity known as The Black Flame. Now two strike forces have infiltrated Manhattan, and this issue is all about the beginning of a big, bad, final showdown. No more stalking around, no more waiting, this is it.

Bag it or board it up? Of course one of the best issues of B.P.R.D. to come out this year would fall a day short of Hellboy Day. This issue is so full of action, weird creatures, struggle, and paranormal activity that you'd be a fool to let it pass you bye. Check this issue out, even if you've never read another copy of a Mike Mignola comic before. This is, simply put, a must read.