Thursday, October 7, 2010

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the B.P.R.D.


Though I was a big fan of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy comic books, I was wary when he began his Hellboy spin-off series, B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense). The series didn’t include Hellboy or Mike Mignola’s art. WTF?

Because I was such a big fan of Mignola and the occult world he had created, I bought the first couple of issues of B.P.R.D. just to see if it was at least as half as enjoyable as Hellboy. I wasn’t that impressed at first, but kept buying each new issue when it came out. Later, I realized I that B.P.R.D. was my favorite comic book. Hellboy’s melancholy in his solo series began to wear thin by comparison.

The interaction of the characters in B.P.R.D. as they try to work as a team against all kinds of weird otherworldly menaces is wonderful. It’s nice to see that the “freaks” don’t automatically gang up against the normal humans. Abe Sapien, the fishman, has more problems dealing with the morally ambiguous spirit Johann Kraus that he does with occult specialist Kate Corrigan.

The biggest surprise for me personally was how much I’ve grown to love Guy Davis’ artwork. Guy Davis has a deceptively rough style that works well with the creepiness of B.P.R.D. I have an easier time appreciating good comic book writers so I had no trouble getting into the great stories that John Arcudi has written with Mignola. But artists are a different story. Probably because when I was a teenager, I selected comic books based solely on the artwork. I’d pick up anything drawn by Barry Windsor Smith or Neal Adams, stare at the art for weeks, and never know what the story was about.

So for now, B.P.R.D. is my favorite comic book and might even stay that way until the frog invasion destroys mankind.


(B.P.R.D. illustration by Guy Davis taken from Wikipedia)

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