Hellboy Junior

hellboy junior cover trade paperback
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Fun riff on Harvey Comics

Primarily fun for those who grew up on Harvey

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Hellboy Junior

Publisher:  Dark Horse Books

Writer: Bill Wray/Mike Mignola

Artist:  Bill Wray/Mike Mignola/Stephen DeStefano/Hilary Barta/Dave Cooper/Pat McEown/John Constanza/Dave Stewart/Kevin Nowlan/Glenn Barr

Release Date:  2004

hellboy junior mike mignola art

Mike Mignola getting in on the fun

Life in Hell is tough for a growing demon-spawn. Hellboy Junior spends his days watching over tortured souls and trying to find something to eat other than maggots. As he monitors Hitler and explores the land some his friends like Sparky Bear, Wheezy the Sick Little Witch, and Jasper the Dead Boy have their own adventures…reminding people that life on Earth isn’t always fun either.

Primarily written by Bill Wray, Hellboy Junior is a short story collection. The stories are based around Mike Mignola’s Hellboy (Mignola is also a contributor) and feature art by Wray, Mignola, and other artists.

I inherited most of my first comics from my older sisters. At the time, that generally meant a lot of Archie, Disney, and the occasional Harvey Comic like Casper the Friendly Ghost or Wendy the Good Little Witch. Here, Wray dives deep into those classic comics while providing a hellish fairytale setting.

Hellboy Junior pretty much takes the happy little stories of Harvey and boils them down to their dark essentials while still having all the characters wearing smiles. You have “Baby Huey” becoming “Huge Retarded Duck” (Baby Huey always did kind of irritate me) and “Casper the Friendly Ghost” becoming “Jasper the Dead Boy”. It is geared to those who read the comics and it is a fun riff on them.

hellboy junior bill wray halloween pumpkin

Happy Halloween from Hellboy Junior!

The other part of the story is essentially the Hellboy aspect. Mignola’s stories are already pretty abstract and odd and it doesn’t take much to twist them into parodies of themselves. The stories fall into the other Harvey type stories but still have that Hellboy twist that doesn’t make them just copycats of Hot Stuff comics. Fans of Hellboy will still enjoy the twist on the character.

Visually, the book brings in a lot of artists in addition to Wray and Mingola. This gives different styles to the story. Ordinarily, I’d argue that a book like this needs more extreme artists to juggle up the art style (and avoid just being a weirdly written edition of a regular comic), but since Hellboy Junior is trying to parody Harvey comics, the art fits the stories.

I like books like Hellboy Junior when are part classic comic book storytelling and part post-modern comics. The book not only parodies old Harvey comics, but it also has a charm of its own that feels genuine and in the spirit of old comics that were often comic book reader’s first introduction to comic books. I have never been that big of a Hellboy fan (there is nothing wrong with it, but I just can’t get excited about it), but Hellboy Junior was a fun little escape.

Related Links:

Hellboy:  Seed of Destruction

Hellboy (2004)

Hellboy II:  The Golden Army (2008)

Hellboy Animated:  Sword of Storms (2006)

Hellboy Animated:  Blood and Iron (2007)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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