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Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Bones of Giants

Written by Chris Golden in collaboration with Mike Mignola. Featuring 70 plus of sweet black and white illustrations by Mike Mignola. Published by Dark Horse Novels.

After a seven year hiatus of buying comics, strangely enough the first thing I've bought while visiting an LCS back in 2001 was a prose novel. This one. I remember Hellboy and I had always been a fan of Mignola. I didn't even read the blurbs and texts at the back, I just picked it up and knew I wanted it based on the strength of the cover alone. I could say I'd lucked out that it was good but the fact is I always trust anything that has Mignola's name on the cover to be a solid read. However I did lucked out, as at the time, my interest for anything Norse mythology related was high. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out the story dealt exactly that.

As with the standard practice I've just developed, I will try to review much about this book with the least amount of spoiler I can muster. This is the second Hellboy prose work that writer Chris Golden (famous for various novels of different media properties including the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer franchise) has worked on, but this one is kind of special. Series and property creator Mike Mignola collaborates with him, throwing unused Hellboy ideas for him to play with. And played with it he did, crafting a very good and entertaining read.

Anybody who has had read the Hellboy comics knows that Mignola is a very dependable storyteller on his own with a very simple and nuanced touch on narrative structure, this aided by his weird (in a good way) and heavily stylized and exaggerated art seemingly designed to strongly invoke mood makes him one of the most unique and premiere cartoonists in genre fiction. Still, if the descriptions I gave are not enough to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, the sample artworks from the book I'm providing should give you a slight idea.

On the story within the book, if I've read the introductions and dedication page right, Mike had provided Chris a very outstanding prologue to kick off the story even before the first chapter starts. I literally said "wow!" as I was blown away. It may not have been an achievement of formalistic innovation in literature, but it pretty much guarantee to pique your interest and keep your attention for the rest of the book. I am seriously tempted to quote passages from the "prologue" to show you what it is that delights me about that and yet I hold myself as I feel people need to read that themselves. I don't want to ruin anything by giving even the slightest of inklings and you should just experience it yourself. I honestly believe it's that great.

Hellboy and all images here copyright Mike Mignola

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