Announced back in June, Dark Horse Comics is wrapping up the Hellboy 1950s story with a series of one-shots that start to come out this week. Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: 1957 Family Ties is a new one-shot by Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, and Laurence Campbell that is perfect for those looking for a spooky and scary Halloween story set in suburbia. It also might make you question reading comics again.
This one-shot opens with agent Susan Xiang and Hellboy walking down an average-looking Ohio suburb of Dayton in 1957. It seems a certain 35 cent comic book keeps popping up and creating some supernatural attacks wherever it’s read. This opening scene supplies all the information and context we need while supplying a American ideal vibe to the surroundings.
That juxtaposes well with what they find inside one of the homes. Like a metaphor for the horrors hidden away in the perfect white picket fence homes of idyllic America, Hellboy and Xiang find something truly awful. Hellboy basically gets to be the idiotic character in a horror move, poking around the house while Xiang attempts to coax some info out of the mother of the home.
These two scenes split up the growing dread and danger that is rising to give the meat of the issue a fun monster-of-the-week vibe. The story in general is a bit light on character work or a larger story, so it feels like a good opening stinger to a television show more than a full story. That said, if you’re looking for a good Halloween comic to read this season, you’ve come to the right place.
Campbell’s art utilizes shadow very well, starting with the dark spaces inside the suburban homes Hellboy and Xiang walk by and right up to the deep recesses of the home that is possessed by a monster. Dave Stewart’s colors add a distinct feel to the couches, walls, and lighting in the monster confrontation scene. There’s a fantastic bit of glow in the room where Hellboy confronts the monster, and grotesque skin on the beast too, that Stewart brings that’s unnatural and creepy.
Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: 1957 Family Ties invokes superstitions in idyllic suburbia with excellent creature feature vibes and a moody sequence that’ll have you on edge. It’s filled with atmosphere and perfect to get you in the mood for Halloween.