No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you — the title of this book does say 2019. It must have come out a bit late, but Hellboy winter holiday specials are about as good as it gets. This anthology houses three stories, written by Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, and Scott Allie respectively. Each story is very different from one another and playing with the idea that monsters really do live out in the dark snowy nights.
The first story by Mignola is titled “The Miser’s Gift” and features Hellboy hearing a tale about a ghost who lives on a ghost street who gave a man a coin. Drawn by Mark Laszlo with colors by Dave Stewart, the highly stylized art is detailed and gorgeous. It’s quite something to see artists draw Hellboy and while he looks almost nothing like how Mignola would draw him, it still works. His features are fantastical in themselves which make interpretations come alive in their own ways. The ghost in this story is also well designed and he comes in two forms. The story has Hellboy basically acting as a witness, though he does get sent through a wall. It’s a nice tale that you might even recount to friends around a fire. It has the right amount of creepiness but is cute in a way too.
This is followed by “The Longest Night” by Roberson with art by Leila Del Duca and colors by Michelle Madsen. This story has murder mystery written all over it. Basically, a bunch of folks are stuck inside as a blizzard takes place outside. They’re huddled around a fire and a story gets told about a monster called Boogam. There’s a clever turn in the story that reveals who the real monster is, but then again real monsters do in fact exist at night amongst the snow.
The last story, “The Beast of Ingelheim,” is written by Scott Allie with art by Andrea Mutti and colors by Lee Loughridge. This story ties into the Crusades and has nice historical underpinnings. I will admit I did not see the twist coming as it lays out a conventional story of men banding together to stop a monster from killing their people and livestock. This story is drawn well, by Mutti with highly detailed environments of outdoor areas and cold, snowy landscapes.
I will admit the last two stories were a bit slow, lacking a lot of monsters or fun visuals. They are rendered more to be realistic and get your imagination going rather than featuring a lot of action or monster madness.
Overall, this is a good one-shot with a great Hellboy story and two clever stories following that. If you’re a fan of storytelling in general, don’t miss this.