Monday, October 30, 2006

 

Hellboy: Sword of Storms

Did anyone else catch the new animated Hellboy feature over the weekend, Hellboy: Sword of Storms? It aired on Cartoon Network on Saturday, and I had a chance to watch it yesterday afternoon. Much better than it had any right to be. And arguably closer in tone to Mike Mignola's comics than Guillermo del Toro's live action version of a few years ago.

I thought that del Toro's version was only a hair away from perfect, but it was a pretty thick hair. It could have been improved immeasurably, I thought, in editing, by adding a Ron Perlman voice over narration, capturing the flavor of the character's captions in the comics, and editing down -- or our all together -- the human POV character, who seemed completely unnecessary. By contrast, Sword of Storms focuses on Hellboy and the other established BPRD operatives (including Kate Corrigan, who I don't believe appeared in the live action film). This seems it's own continuity, as it doesn't follow on the live action film, but has BPRD in their mountain headquarters, which I don't believe they got in the comics until after Hellboy left the team. But it hardly matters. It's Liz Sherman, Abe Sapien, and Hellboy fighting a whole mess of Japanese monsters and demons. Many of the scenes are adapted directly from Mignola's short stories, such as the one with the kappa, and one with the floating cannibal heads.

A quick check of IMBD suggests that another of these animated features is in the offing for next year, to be followed in 2008 by del Toro's next live action feature. It occurred to me, in watching Sword of Storms, that Mignola may well be the only comic creator to achieve his level of commercial success with a creator owned property, without sacrificing quality and/or becoming a complete douche. Between the ongoing BPRD comic with John Arcudi and Guy Davis, the occasional Hellboy miniseries or one shot, the novel line at Pocket Books headed up by Christopher Golden, the live action franchise, and now this animated feature series, Mignola has built Hellboy into a media juggernaut, but each of these incarnations has been simply top notch.

Check out the Sword of Storms official site for trailers and the like, and for details about the Feb 07 release of the DVD. As for me, I'm having to resist the temptation to go back and reread all of Hellboy and BPRD now. I've got too much work to do!

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