|--Hellboy © Mike Mignola and Dark Horse Comics|
I’m going to be writing a longer article about this for the second issue of my irregular “bookazine” The Sanctum, but I wanted to make quick note of it here on the blog: in the second issue of Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy makes a rare guest appearance, although he doesn’t participate in any of the story’s main action. In fact, his only role in the plot is to reassure a young B.P.R.D. rookie that everything will be all right in the end:
“Calm down,” he says to the young man. “Of course there’s trouble, but stop worrying about Abe.”
To me, this sums up everything that’s finest about the series, and everything that comics do best. In the Hellboy Universe, “It’s Always Something.” There’s always some monster that wants to eat you, some spirit from beyond the grave that wants to devour your whole world. Just when you think you’re done with it, some other Horrible Thing comes along to growl and snarl at you.
Hellboy’s words to the young agent are typical of his character. In the face of some new Monster that’s ten times larger than the one he just had a hard time beating, a typical Hellboy reaction is a resigned “Oh, crap.”
This is what comics are for: to remind us that every time we turn around, every day, every issue, some damn monster or super-villain is going to come lumbering along to make trouble for you. Oh, crap — here comes another one. It never stops until you die (and in Hellboy’s case, it didn’t even stop then).
That’s what life is: Always One More Thing.
How you face it is what makes you. Do you come unglued, fall apart? Or do you cock your fist and say to your problems, “Look, you. I’ve had about enough of this crap. Lie down. And STAY down!” — POW!
Of course they don’t stay down, or if they do, just wait for the bigger one to come along in its wake.
Life is endless Trouble. Hellboy — and the other great heroes of the comics — exist to say to us, “Calm down. Of course there’s trouble. But stop worrying. Just take care of it and move on to the next thing.”