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  1. #1
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    Default Many doubts about the reading order.

    Hi, i'm new to the comics world and i have several questions regarding Hellboy's reading order, and I didn't want to post that in the FAQ because it's probably going to be a fairly big text. I hope i'm not breaking any rules, anyway, let's get to the point.

    It's important to say that i'm intending to read every or most of hellboy's comics. And I want to do it in chronological order. So, I did some research on the reading order and I found several inconsistencies.


    So, i've looked on the "The Hellboy Universe Publishing Order" thread.
    I've also looked the Wikipedia's Issues content and the Wikipedia Trade Paperback's content
    And I've also found this site
    https://comicbookreadingorders.com/o...reading-order/

    And I've also found this reading order on the internet:


    Hellboy weird tales(non cannon)
    Hellboy seed of destruction
    Hellboy wake the devil
    Hellboy the chained coffin
    Hellboy the right hand of doom
    Hellboy conqueror worm
    Hellboy Strange Places
    Hellboy the crooked man
    Hellboy darkness calls
    Hellboy the wild hunt
    Hellboy the storm and the fury
    Hellboy bride of hell

    B.P. R.D Plague of frogs 1,2,3
    B.P. R.D 1946-1947-1948
    B.P. R.D Vampire
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth gods and monsters
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth Russia
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth the devil engine of death
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth the pikens county horror & others
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth the return of the master
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth a cold day on hell

    Abe sapien the drowning
    Abe sapien the devil does not jest and other stories
    Abe sapien dark and terrible and the new race of man

    Witchfinder in the service of Angels
    Witchfinder lost and gone forever
    Witchfinder the mystery of unlend

    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth lake of fire
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth the reing of the black flame
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth the devil's wings
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth flesh and stone


    Sledgehammer 44


    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth metamorphysis
    B.P. R.D Hell on Earth end of days

    Abe sapien the shape of things to come
    Abe sapien sacred places
    Abe sapien the darkness so great
    Abe sapien the secret fire


    and then, the autor proceeds to label these as "read anytime":
    Lobster johnson the iron prometheus
    Lobster johnson the burning hand
    Lobster johnson satan smells of rat
    Lobster johnson get the lobster
    Frankenstein Underground
    Hellboy and the B.P.R.D 1952
    Hellboy the midnight circus




    Now, the questions:



    1 - The site suggests that I read the volume 10 before the volume 8 and 9.

    "Hellboy Vol. 7: The Troll Witch and Others
    Hellboy Vol. 10: The Crooked Man and Others
    B.P.R.D Vol. 1: Hollow Earth and Other Stories"

    and also, we have middenway's publishing order, which show that the Hollow Earth was published before the troll witch, so one would think that the correct reading order would Hollow Earth >> Troll Witch >> Crooked men. What should I do?



    2 - and then suggests BPRD 12's vol between the volume's 5 and 6. Why??

    "B.P.R.D Vol. 5: The Black Flame
    B.P.R.D Vol. 12: War on Frogs
    B.P.R.D Vol. 6: The Universal Machine"



    3 - WHY???

    "B.P.R.D: Being Human
    B.P.R.D Vol. 10: The Warning
    B.P.R.D Vol. 11: The Black Goddess
    B.P.R.D Vol. 14: King of Fear
    Hellboy Vol. 12: The Storm and the Fury
    Hellboy Vol. 11: The Bride of Hell and Others"



    4 - While this recommendation suggests that go to BPRD Hell on earth's before going to abe sapien, the site suggests that we should actually go to abe sapien's first, and then pause it to go to BPRD Hell on earth. WHY?!?!?!



    5 - According to wikipedia, The Wolves of Saint August, The Corpse and The Iron Shoes were published before the Wake the Devil, but on the trade paperback they chose to put the Wake the Devil before those stories... WHYYY??!!?!?!!??!?!?



    After some time I've given up writing the inconsistencies, and some time after that I gave up tracking them. And then, I just curled up into a ball of sadness and tears.

    So, what would be the "true" chronological reading order? It seems logical that the publishing order would have the answers, but then, one would think that they decided for example to put the Wake the Devil before the Corpse for a reason, but I can't find any.

  2. #2
    All-New Member Waka Hem's Avatar
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    The omnibus editions that are currently being published might give you what you're looking for. As far as the Hellboy trades go, the major arcs (Seed of Destruction, Wake the Devil, etc) were collected chronologically, but the short story collections are just kind of plugged in based on when enough content was published to fill a TPB. Chronologically, with just a few exceptions, all the Hellboy short stories take place before Seed of Destruction begins. The omnibus editions separate the short stories out, so you'd be good reading the two Complete Short Stories collections first before moving onto Seed and the other collected arcs.

    With that said, this imo is the ideal reading order:
    http://www.multiversitycomics.com/an...ng-order-2018/
    It's not perfectly chronological, but you can make it chronological by making these swaps:

    Start with the Witchfinder series, the move onto...
    Rise of the Black Flame
    Lobster Johnson
    Sledgehammer 44
    BPRD 1946-1948
    Helllboy and the BPRD
    Then return to the reading order, which will give you a solid ordering for Hellboy, BPRD/BPRD Hell on Earth, and Abe Sapien.
    Last edited by Waka Hem; 07-06-2018 at 12:49 AM.

  3. #3
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    BPRD Volume 12 is an collection of short stories taking place at different times, which is why it's between 5 and 6 in the reading order.

    While following a reading order can be helpful, you'd be fine just reading Hellboy from start to finish, then BPRD (through the end of Hell on Earth), then Abe, etc.

    I would not recommend starting with Weird Tales. I like Weird Tales, but the quality is inconsistent and it doesn't truly represent the voice of the Mignolaverse, since they're all guest-creator stories. There's very little Mignola Hellboy content in there.
    "...puppets are scary, and puppets do things when people are sleeping, and they run around and get their own ideas about things." - Mike Mignola

  4. #4
    All-New Member Waka Hem's Avatar
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    You know what, I just finished reading through the Mignolaverse in chronological order, I'll just share with you what I did. Things are pretty straightforward until you get into BPRD Hell on Earth, when you've got a few series taking place simultaneously, but the guide I linked to above is a solid roadmap for when to read what, when at that point.

    Witchfinder series
    Rise of the Black Flame
    Lobster Johnson series
    Sledgehammer 44 series
    BPRD 1946-1948
    BPRD Vampire
    Hellboy and the BPRD series
    Abe Sapien: The Drowning and Other Stories
    Hellboy - all short stories. You can either get the two Short Stories omnibuses (only the first has been released thus far), OR get these trades: The Chained Coffin and Others, The Right Hand of Doom, The Troll Witch and Others, The Crooken Man and Others, The Bride of Hell and Others
    Hellboy Seed of Destruction through Hellboy Strange Places (Omnibus 1 and 2)
    BPRD Plague of Frogs Omnibus 1-3
    Hellboy Darkness Calls through The Storm and the Fury
    BPRD Plague of Frogs Omnibus 4
    BPRD Hell on Earth Omnibus 1 and 2
    Hellboy in Hell series
    BPRD Hell on Earth Omnibus 3
    Abe Sapien Dark and Terrible Omnibus 1
    BPRD Hell on Earth Omnibus 4
    Abe Sapien Dark and Terrible Omnibus 2
    BPRD Hell on Earth Omnibus 5
    Frankenstein Underground
    BPRD The Devil You Know
    Last edited by Waka Hem; 07-06-2018 at 12:47 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waka Hem View Post

    Witchfinder series
    Rise of the Black Flame
    Lobster Johnson series
    Sledgehammer 44 series
    BPRD 1946-1948
    BPRD Vampire
    Hellboy and the BPRD series
    Abe Sapien: The Drowning and Other Stories
    Hellboy - all short stories. You can either get the two Short Stories omnibuses (only the first has been released thus far), OR get these trades: The Chained Coffin and Others, The Right Hand of Doom, The Troll Witch and Others, The Crooken Man and Others, The Bride of Hell and Others
    Hellboy Seed of Destruction through Hellboy Strange Places (Omnibus 1 and 2)
    BPRD Plague of Frogs Omnibus 1-3
    Hellboy Darkness Calls through The Storm and the Fury
    BPRD Plague of Frogs Omnibus 4
    BPRD Hell on Earth Omnibus 1 and 2
    Hellboy in Hell series
    BPRD Hell on Earth Omnibus 3
    Abe Sapien Dark and Terrible Omnibus 1
    BPRD Hell on Earth Omnibus 4
    Abe Sapien Dark and Terrible Omnibus 2
    BPRD Hell on Earth Omnibus 5
    Frankenstein Underground
    BPRD The Devil You Know
    Thanks, this feel very solid. But it feels so weird that you read seed of destruction after witchifinder and lobster johnson, the guide actually recommends seed of destruction first, doesn't it?

    Did it feel weird to read it after? Or that's just the way it is?

  6. #6
    All-New Member Waka Hem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedora View Post
    Thanks, this feel very solid. But it feels so weird that you read seed of destruction after witchifinder and lobster johnson, the guide actually recommends seed of destruction first, doesn't it?

    Did it feel weird to read it after? Or that's just the way it is?
    Well, my order is just based on the chronological sequence the stories take place in. Witchfinder takes place in the late 1800s, Lobster Johnson takes place in the 1930s, and Seed of Destruction is modern day, more or less. The guide I linked to takes dramatic effect into account. I.e., a character or theme is introduced in the main Hellboy/BPRD timeline, and then you loop back in time to get some backstory.

    I've read most of these stories before so I was mainly just curious about what it'd be like to read them front to back like a linear history (and I had a lot of free time on my hands). I can't really vouch for how enjoyable that approach is as an introduction though. IMO the OG Hellboy series starting with Seed really is the crown jewel of the "Mignolaverse" and reading chronologically you're not going to get to that for a while. If Witchfinder and/or Lobster Johnson really click with you you're golden, but you'll just want to keep in mind every series kinda has its own style and feel and no single one of them is totally representative of the others.
    Last edited by Waka Hem; 07-06-2018 at 10:09 PM.

  7. #7

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    While a reading order may be helpful -- and I think Mignolaversity does a great job laying that out -- I never once wished for such a list while reading the comics as they were published. It's fun enough for me to figure out the series of events chronologically after reading them as they were released. Just saying...

  8. #8
    Incredible Member Kees_L's Avatar
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    I personally don't doubt a reading order, but I feel I mainly have wanted to come to learn the stories, pretty much as how I can.

    I have been reading them the way they were published, but in reading them I have also witnessed the times occasional dates were mentioned,
    plus I witnessed how the stories were told with holding up as per tale yet with also kind of hinting at bigger pictures and such.
    Plus I have only felt succesful and ever unspoilt in any of my re-reads to date.

    I've always felt to get a little bit 'played' if not challenged - as if the storyteller would have a playful mind.
    I like to think that even without knowing any of the alternative reading orders or with having the newly arranged omnibuses or not, that the stories
    allow for close inspection or rigid orderlyness of sorts, should one wish to address such, of that I have no doubt.
    But such would take tenacity and primarily the doing in and of itself, with seeing such through, I wouldn't doubt that neither.

    So Godspeed fellow reader, in the fulfilment of your own destiny!
    Last edited by Kees_L; 07-11-2018 at 08:12 AM.
    SLINT / Mike Mignola / Walt Whitman / Arthur Lourié / Dr. Pepper

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedora View Post
    It's important to say that i'm intending to read every or most of hellboy's comics. And I want to do it in chronological order. So, I did some research on the reading order and I found several inconsistencies.
    First things first, there are certain parts that don't work in chronological order. It's kind of like watching the Star Wars prequels before The Empire Strikes Back—it ruins the "No, I am your father" moment.

    1 - The site suggests that I read the volume 10 before the volume 8 and 9.

    "Hellboy Vol. 7: The Troll Witch and Others
    Hellboy Vol. 10: The Crooked Man and Others
    B.P.R.D Vol. 1: Hollow Earth and Other Stories"

    and also, we have middenway's publishing order, which show that the Hollow Earth was published before the troll witch, so one would think that the correct reading order would Hollow Earth >> Troll Witch >> Crooked men. What should I do?
    Volumes 8, 9, and 12 form a trilogy. Volumes 7, 10, and 11 are flashbacks which can be read pretty much any time.

    2 - and then suggests BPRD 12's vol between the volume's 5 and 6. Why??
    Chronologically, that's when 12 takes place. When the Plague of Frogs cycle was complete, they juggled a few things around to optimise the reading order for the omnibuses.

    3 - WHY???

    "B.P.R.D: Being Human
    B.P.R.D Vol. 10: The Warning
    B.P.R.D Vol. 11: The Black Goddess
    B.P.R.D Vol. 14: King of Fear
    Hellboy Vol. 12: The Storm and the Fury
    Hellboy Vol. 11: The Bride of Hell and Others"
    B.P.R.D. Volumes 10, 11, and 14 form a trilogy. Both 12 and 13 were flashback volumes, written in between arcs to give the artist on 10, 11, and 14 more time to work on the comics.

    4 - While this recommendation suggests that go to BPRD Hell on earth's before going to abe sapien, the site suggests that we should actually go to abe sapien's first, and then pause it to go to BPRD Hell on earth. WHY?!?!?!
    Abe Sapien Volumes 1 and 2 are flashback stories that introduce elements that come into play during B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth, so you'll get more out of the Hell on Earth cycle if you've read those first. Abe Sapien Volumes 3-8 is set at the same time as the latter half of Hell on Earth (collected in a pair of omnibuses called Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible). Scott Allie mentions a reading order for this in his introduction for the omnibuses:
    • B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volumes 1–3 (omnibuses)
    • Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible – Volume 1 (omnibus)
    • B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 4 (omnibus)
    • Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible – Volume 2 (omnibus)
    • B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 5 (omnibus)

    (Note: Yes, I am aware this is not exactly what Allie's reading order in the introduction says, but that's because it was printed with a typo that wasn't caught before it went to print. It will be corrected to this order in future printings.)

    5 - According to wikipedia, The Wolves of Saint August, The Corpse and The Iron Shoes were published before the Wake the Devil, but on the trade paperback they chose to put the Wake the Devil before those stories... WHYYY??!!?!?!!??!?!?
    Because there wasn't enough material in The Wolves of Saint August, The Corpse, and The Iron Shoes to fill a trade. They had to wait for more material to accumulate. Thankfully, this was shuffled around for the Hellboy omnibuses, which I think you'd very much enjoy.

    As both Matt Strackbein and Kees_L have pointed out, there isn't really a reading order per se. There are many ways to read the series. But here are some basic bones to help you avoid spoilers:


  10. #10
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    My last read through went like this.

    Hellboy Library Editions 1-3 and Into the Silent Sea. 1
    BPRD Plague of Frogs Omnibus 1-4
    Hellboy Library Editions 4-6
    BPRD Being Human
    Lobster Johnson 2-6, 2
    Rasputin Voice of the Dragon
    BPRD 1946-48, Hellboy the Midnight Circus, BPRD Vampire
    Hellboy and the BPRD 1952-55, Hellboy in Mexico, The Visitor
    Frankenstein Underground3
    BPRD: Hell on Earth 1-11
    Abe Sapien 3-7, 1, 2, 9 4
    Lobster Johnson 1, Sledgehammer 44
    BPRD Hell on Earth 12
    Witchfinder 1-4 5
    Hellboy in Hell
    Koshchei
    Rise of the Black Flame 6
    BPRD Hell on Earth 13, 15
    Abe Sapien 8
    BPRD Hell on Earth 14 7
    BPRD The Devil You Know

    1 I stop here because it brings us up to The Island and seems like a good place to pause the Hellboy story.
    2 Volume 1 is skipped since it's chronologically later that 2-6. I like to read it as part of the "Sledgehammer Trilogy," which is Iron Prometheus, Sledgehammer 44, and Hell on Earth: Metamorphosis, and to my eyes is part of the Hell on Earth cycle.
    3 I read it after the historical BPRD stories and Hellboy in Mexico, where I feel it naturally sits.
    4 I leave Abe volume 8 until after Hellboy in Hell because it's a great finale, and I feel it needs to be read close to The Devil You Know to show us Abe's current status quo
    5 Yeah, right before In Hell. Unless his place is recontextualised by a later story, this is where all of Witchfinder will go, right before we learn about his fate.
    6 This goes here before the final fight with the Black Flame because I like it there. Contextualises his power before the end.
    7 Why not, right? The Ashley Strode stuff is so out on its own, it may as well go here close to the start of Devil You Know and after Hellboy in Hell

  11. #11
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    Thank you very much, guys.

  12. #12

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    Jeez! Hellboy fans sure do take these comics seriously. I LOVE it!

    I wrote a letter yesterday after reading TDYK #8 on this very subject.

    Mark, may I repost that amazing graphic elsewhere? I'll give you credit of course...

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Strackbein View Post
    Jeez! Hellboy fans sure do take these comics seriously. I LOVE it!

    I wrote a letter yesterday after reading TDYK #8 on this very subject.

    Mark, may I repost that amazing graphic elsewhere? I'll give you credit of course...
    Go for it. I made it to help people out, because I know a lot of people look at the longer reading orders and just go, "Nope, I'm out."

  14. #14
    Incredible Member Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Strackbein View Post
    Jeez! Hellboy fans sure do take these comics seriously. I LOVE it!
    Well yes, it's something that fans may opt to do, but I think that also this is made possible because the books allow for it or or even urge towards it.

    I believe I agree with Middenway that it would be a sad thing if new fans would feel daunted by it, like it isn't mandatory to first learn what order to read the books in as if otherwise the reading wouldn't work - because that's simply not true.

    Just like how if you're new to anything it would somehow be too much to get into. If you read just one of the books because you got your hands on it that will be fine, although logically there may be other books beside it, but basically any TPB offers a story full enough it can be enjoyed.
    However, if you actually have read everything, there will be stuff urging you to reread stuff along certain perpectives you hadn't known about until then.
    It's not that chronologies could spoil your reading enjoyment, but it's that when you have read certain stuff there will open up perspectives that hadn't been there before. As you'll likely know already.

    Like for example Hellboy: The Mole. I believe I felt I needed to read Hellboy: Darkness Calls before reading The Mole, in order to understand when exactly the Mole takes place. Which means I needed to not read it chronologically if I remember right.
    I personally can enjoy prequels to stuff as being prequels, meaning after they took place and then jump back like I'm some sort of time-traveler. If I would make sure to only ever be reading stuff in chronology - as if that were even possible or necessary - then I would never feel that enjoyment of time-travel and prequels would pretty much be rendered moot. Which wouldn't be the point of prequels to begin with.

    But I agree with you it's nice that folks are able to enjoy their reading!
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  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Joker's Avatar
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    I think the reading orders are fun as far as placing when the stories take place in relation to each other but... you really don't need to worry about reading them that way.

    BPRD flows pretty much start to end on its own and only occasionally has any real intersection with Hellboy as a title.

    Hellboy can be read on it's own. LoJo can be read on it's own.

    I like when the books intersect, but I don't think there's a lot of required reading going on.

    The only exception I'd make is The Devil You Know, but that's the culmination of all the previous books. That one definitely has a required reading feeling for me.

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