Hellboy/BPRD/Mignolaverse Reading Order

Every once in a while I like to put together a list of all of Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and company’s Hellboy/B.P.R.D./Abe Sapien/Lobster Johnson/Witchfinder/etc. trade paperbacks in the order one should read them. Generally that means “in the order they came out,” though there’s the occasional exception (eg. the most recent Abe Sapien trade came out before the most recent BPRD: Hell on Earth trade but should be read after it). Here’s what I’ve got at the moment.

1. Hellboy: Seed of Destruction
2. Hellboy: Wake the Devil
3. Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and Others
4. Hellboy: The Right HAnd of Doom
5. Hellboy: Conqueror Worm
6. BPRD: Hollow Earth & Other Stories
7. Hellboy: Weird Tales Vol. 1
8. BPRD: The Soul of Venice & Other Stories
9. Hellboy: Weird Tales. Vol. 2
10. BPRD: Plague of Frogs
11. BPRD: The Dead
12. Hellboy: Strange Places
13. BPRD: The Black Flame
14. BPRD: The Universal Machine
15. Hellboy: The Troll Witch and Others
16. BPRD: Garden of Souls
17. BPRD: Killing Ground
18. Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus
19. Hellboy: Darkness Calls
20. Abe Sapien: The Drowning
21. BPRD: 1946
22. BPRD: The Warning
23. BPRD: The Black Goddess
24. Hellboy: The Wild Hunt
25. Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels
26. BPRD: War on Frogs
27. Hellboy: The Crooked Man and Others
28. BPRD: 1947
29. BPRD: King of Fear
30. BPRD: Hell on Earth: New World
31. Hellboy: The Bride of Hell and Others
[31.5 Hellboy: House of the Living Dead]
32. BPRD: Being Human
33. Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever
34. BPRD: Hell on Earth: Gods and Monsters
35. Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury
36. Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest
37. BPRD: Hell on Earth: Russia
38. Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand
39. BPRD: Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Engine & The Long Death
40. BPRD: Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror & Others
41. BPRD: Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master
42. BPRD: 1948
[42.5 Hellboy: The Midnight Circus]
43. BPRD: Vampire
44. BPRD: Hell on Earth: A Cold Day in Hell
45. Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible & The New Race of Man

I left out the humor collection Hellboy Junior and the superhero-crossover collection Hellboy: Masks and Monsters because they’re not in continuity; arguably neither are the two Hellboy: Weird Tales volumes but they’re at least in the spirit of the thing. I listed the original graphic novel hardcovers Hellboy: House of the Living Dead and Hellboy: The Midnight Circus as .5s rather than factoring them into the list proper primarily out of pique that they haven’t been released in paperback yet; to seriously collect the Hellboy series is to frequently feel actively punished by its publisher. No matter — I think it’s tough to argue that this is anything but the best superhero series, broadly construed, of the young century. It’s often frightening and very sad and a blast to read.

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10 Responses to Hellboy/BPRD/Mignolaverse Reading Order

  1. Thanks for this! I sporadically collect BPRD issues but the numbering makes it difficult to keep track of the order when I want to re-read.

  2. Matt Grommes says:

    Are you still enjoying BPRD? I think I recall your writing on the series being part of the reason I started reading it. I loved it for awhile but any more it’s just the same giant weird monsters destroying the Earth constantly. There are bits and characters I like but overall I stopped caring very much.

    • Yes I am. There was obviously a dropoff after Guy Davis left, because short of, I dunno, Jim Woodring, anyone’s gonna be a dropoff after Guy Davis leaves. And his nominal replacement, Tyler Crook, is a talented guy but I think an uncomfortable fit for material this bleak. But I caught up on the last year or so’s worth of material via the last three trades in basically one sitting yesterday and I was struck by how scary and discomfiting it is. Unbelievably gutsy to have the point of the story be “they’re losing” after all these years. I’ve thought so ever since The Black Flame made this apparent.

  3. Paul Houston says:

    Hellboy: In Hell?

  4. caleb says:

    Yikes. I left off on the fifth of a 45-book series? (With randomly-read, out-of-order stories read here and there). I guess Hellboy is gonna end up being one of those books like One Piece, where I end up catching up on them when I’m old and retired and have nothing to do all day save watch day-time television or read comic books…

  5. Craig Fischer says:

    I collect the Mignolaverse as individual issues. I like to read the letters columns,and it makes shifting around reading order easier: I can drop individual issues of WAR ON FROGS in their proper chronological place in the overall series, for instance. And it’s fun to deviate from your (incredibly helpful and comprehensive) reading order in order to emphasize certain themes and plotlines: I recently re-read 1946, 1947, 1948 and VAMPIRE back-to-back, which brought Baron Konig and the whole “Vampires’ Retreat” subplot back to my attention–which, of course, feeds into PICKENS COUNTY HORROR and the last page of the recent ABE SAPIEN #8, with its photograph of Simon Anders and its “…where ARE the vampires…?” question.

    I think the loss of Guy Davis was and is more of a body blow than you do, but clearly I’m still reading, still invested…

    • I’m sorry to have given the impression that the loss of Guy Davis was anything less than catastrophic! He’s a massive talent, with certainly the widest range of expression of any artist in the front-of-Previews segment of the comics industry today, and I think his departure was quite poorly handled by DH (though from what I understand it was out of their hands). He’s irreplaceable. But I think the project’s on pretty steady ground once again. I was quite surprised by how moved and frightened I was by this last year or so of material. Granted, I haven’t read the Hellboy-proper stuff yet, and that’s been the weakest link for quite some time, storywise. (His “death” might have been more affecting had DH not gone full-court press with the PR the week the book came out. Punished, I say!)

  6. Bob says:

    Where’s “Almost Colossus”?

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