Table Ready: Hellboy

[This post was originally posted to Otherverse Games & Hobbies as part of a series called Plastic to Painted, or P2P. You may see logos or references to this site and series]

The Right Hand of Doom

I enjoyed comic books in my preteen days, obsessing over X-men and Ghost Rider comics, but I lost interest for a while. Then I started collecting Spawn, but lost interest again. It was late in high school when I discovered indie comics and picked up a few issues here and there from Dark Horse Comics. I got a bunch of Aliens, Predator and Terminator comics, which surprised no one. It wasn’t until college that I discovered Hellboy, and I never turned back.

The art of Mike Mignola first attracted me to Hellboy when I discovered an issue in a buddies dorm room during my Freshman year at college. The minimalist, expressive and emotional simplicity grabbed hold of my graphic designer tendencies. Fast forward some twenty-plus years later. I have over a dozen trade paperbacks, love most of the movies and for whatever reason I chose not to back the Hellboy boardgame Kickstarter campaign. I often regret denying my instincts: I try to be good when I known that I will regret the decision later.

Well, I may have missed out on the exclusives, but I have finally purchased the Hellboy board game, under mild threat from the wife. I sent her a link and asked permission; she didn’t so much as say yes, but demanded to play Abe Sapien when we got it. I took that as a “yes”.

The models come pre-assembled in the box. They are board game pieces, not wargame miniatures, so they are a little more simple than I am used to. In that regard, I could get away with a little less effort and still have a decent looking play piece.

One of the best parts of the Hellboy comics is the use of folklore as a basis for most of the antagonists and potentially world ending calamities. As his adventures are founded upon the stories that our ancestors told each other over many generations, the problems that Hellboy faces on a daily basis feel more grounded, even when they seem a little silly or off-putting. From frogs of all sizes to the flying heads of vampires, Hellboy defends humanity from them all: What else would you expect from the Worlds Greatest Paranormal Investigator?

The rest of Hellboy’s adversaries are pulled right from the pulp magazines, offering battles with Rasputin and other alternate World War II monsters. Working to aid the losing Nazi regime, Rasputin set about conjuring up some sort of diabolical beast from beyond, but what he got was a small half-demon boy who was raised as a good guy. Ultimately, Hellboy would have to decide what he was going to do with that big ol’ Right Hand of Doom. I won’t spoil the bigger story, but after leaving his government job he goes on a quest to find himself, pretty much only finds trouble, and ends up taking a less than leisurely stroll through hell for a while. Seriously, read the graphic novel collections.

I was quite glad that his model looks like the comic and not the movies version. Don’t get me wrong, that first del Toro movie will always have a place in my heart, but the comic art is the real Hellboy in my opinion. The bright red of his skin works so well in contrast with the drab colors of his coat and shorts; yeah, let’s see you pull that look off. As I said before, this is a board game piece, so he didn’t get close to a full parade standard, but I am happy with him and he will look great alongside Abe, Liz and Johann smashing some monstrous frogs to keep Ogdru Jahad locked in it’s cosmic prison.

Mike Mignola is an amazing artist

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Obsessive and neurotic collector of little plastic men, novels about the same little plastic men and paints to make the little plastic men pretty. Married to Kera, who puts up with him and pretends that she doesn’t hear him speaking to the little plastic men in between making pew pew noises in the hobby room. Requires adult supervision. A menace to himself but rarely to others. More beard than man

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