Mignolaverse

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Séadna

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Okay thanks for that. Very sensible point about not pushing speculation.

So then two other things.

I found it interesting that there were two races of men. Angels who physically incarnated into human forms, the Hyperboreans, and then actual humans who seem to just descend directly from apes. In a sense, beyond the basic initial creation, we have completely natural/scientific origins. However at the end we have Hellboy who combines human and angel (in that case the second wave of angels that became demons) and Hecate who seems to combine Vril and the Primordial darkness and Abe Sapien who is also a unique mix of things. So in the new the race of fish men seems to be a culmination of all three strands of being:
  1. Mortal/Natural
  2. Vril originated
  3. Primal Darkness originated/influenced
I suppose I'm not sure what I'm getting at except to say I assume this was intentional, i.e. a coming together of all things.

Secondly what was Hecate? A Hyperborean? An angel who incarnated in a different way? She was cursed to look more like her true nature so that suggests the latter to me.
 

TristramEvans

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In the second epilogue to Darkness Calls, Hecate reveals her origins to Edward Grey. I'll have to pull out the issues to refresh on that, gimme a little bit... from what I recll, she lived among the Hyperboreans, and seduced Thoth, but was not one of them in origin
 

Séadna

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Ah yes, the born out of the shadow of the moon and belly of the wolf stuff. I remembered the three angels and seducing Thoth but had forgotten that.

That sounds like she comes from the Primordial Darkness or something. Also adding in that she was a called a "Priestess of the Black Goddess" and the real life syncretism between Ereshigal/Ereshkigal and Hecate.
 

TristramEvans

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Yeah, "born in darkness, birthed from a wolf" certainly sounds like she is another product directly of The Primordial Dark/Erishkigal. What I found interesting is that she "fed only on blood", suggesting her as the origin of vampires, which is reinforced by Guiscero from Wake the Devil being her "son" - I'd assumed that was in an "adopted sense" back in the day, but it could more literally refer to her as the mother of vampires
 

Séadna

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Yeah certainly considering other vampires worship her and refer to her as "the source"
 

Lofgeornost

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Should we start another thread with an explicit spoiler warning so we don't have to have the discussion under wraps?

So there's a few things I've been wondering about. Rather than doing them all at once I'll take it one at a time.

God is described as a self-created "power". The choice of power specifically over "being", "entity" or similar makes me wonder if God is just the Vril and nothing more. There might be some kind of intelligence or will there but it is maybe more like the Force than an actual singular personality.

I've wondered about the Infinite, mentioned most extensively in Sledgehammer 44 and other titles that include the Vril energy suit. There seems to be a pull for those that use Vril through the suit to merge themselves into the Infinite. I've wondered if this is not another tack on God, either from a pantheistic perspective or via Anaximander's apeiron.

The Ogdru Jahad themselves are then created with and contain the Black Flame. This seems to be an opposing or complimentary power to the Vril and seems to have a name attached to it like God is with Vril, namely Ereshigal. However just like God I'm not sure if Ereshigal is really a being.

So I'm just curious what people think differentiates the Black Flame and Vril and whether God and Ereshigal are genuine actors/personalities in the setting.

I've just been reading Hellboy & the B.P.R.D.: 1952. In the story "Black Sun," Nazi occultists are draining an energy they call 'shakti' from living creatures as a power source. They claim it is a 'black flame' that is the counterpart/opposite of Vril. So the two seem to be complementary.

Ereshkigal actually shows up as a character, albeit in a dream vision, to Raimund Diestel, the first Black Flame, in The Rise of the Black Flame. This seems to suggest that she exists as a person on some level.
 

Lofgeornost

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That's interesting. I've read Rasputin and the Visitor lately; they were both enjoyable enough, but not as good as the origin volume for the Black Flame. I did like Sledgehammer '44, though the climax of the series is in another title--B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth.

So, Johann Kraus--why does he not have a face when he is in the various ectoplasm containment suits? When he is out of it, his ectoplasmic form often does have a human head and face, which makes him seem more like a person. It also makes it easier to convey his emotions. So why did Mignola et al., decide he should have no face in the suit?
 

TristramEvans

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So, Johann Kraus--why does he not have a face when he is in the various ectoplasm containment suits? When he is out of it, his ectoplasmic form often does have a human head and face, which makes him seem more like a person. It also makes it easier to convey his emotions. So why did Mignola et al., decide he should have no face in the suit?

Purely conjecture, but if I had to come up with an answer, it's that in the suit he is more dispersed, in order to operate the various limbs.

For all we know, that may not even be his "head" in the helmet, it could be his ectoplasmic butt...
 

Giganotosaurus

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TristramEvans

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The 2020 Hellboy reading order is up:

HWmmx2.jpg
 

Nobby-W

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There's quite a lot of it, isn't there.
 

TristramEvans

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I did enjoy the first couple of Hellboy movies, so there is a temptation to take a look at the original comics.

I loved the Del Toro films, but they weren't faithful adaptions. The comics are definitely their own thing
 

Lofgeornost

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Last month I finally got from I.L.L. one of the relatively few Mignola collections I can't access through Hoopla:

Frank Underground.jpg

I enjoyed it a lot--the way that Mignola slotted the monster's creation into his cosmology (Frankenstein vivified him with vril) was obvious in retrospect, but I didn't see it coming. I was also interested to see a bit more about the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra. I'm intrigued that these occultist groups in the Mignolaverse are almost always the foes or at least pretty morally gray. They also tend to be on the margins of stories, rather than at their center. I wonder why?
 

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TristramEvans

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I was also interested to see a bit more about the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra. I'm intrigued that these occultist groups in the Mignolaverse are almost always the foes or at least pretty morally gray. They also tend to be on the margins of stories, rather than at their center. I wonder why?

Pretty much just part and parcel of them being Secret Societies - they operate from the shadows.
 

Lofgeornost

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Pretty much just part and parcel of them being Secret Societies - they operate from the shadows.

That makes sense. The Mignolaverse is different from a lot of genre fiction in that there is not much of a 'veil' or 'masquerade' over the occult. The BPRD is out in the open and Hellboy is a celebrity. That's a lot different from, say, the Buffyverse where the Slayers and Vampires are hidden from most mortals. So I guess it follows that secret societies are the villains.
 

TristramEvans

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The first Abe Sapien series, IIRC, does have more direct involvement with a Secret Society and it's inner workings, due to Abe's origin (being vague because don't want to spoil anything)
 

Lofgeornost

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Not long ago, I noticed that the 6th Witchfinder collection, Reign of Darkness, had become available on Hoopla; it wasn't last fall when I was reading my way through the Mignolaverse. So I was happy to see it.

In the end, I found it something of a disappointment. It features Edward Grey, the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra, the Ripper murders, and as an extra bonus, the American 'monster hunter' Sarah Jewell, whom I really liked in The Rise of the Black Flame. Sounds like a winning combination, but I found the story rather predictable and flat, dealing with elements that Mignola had already used in some more effective stories. It didn't have the invention or weirdness of the 'Unland' Witchfinder arc, or the 'Lost and Gone Forever' sequence.
 

TristramEvans

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Not a big fan of Witchfinder in general, it sorta lacks the pulp flavour of Helboy. It's interesting as the background for events later in the series, but lie a lot of background elements, it's less interesting once defined I found.

Of course, in contradiction to that, I recently reread the Koschei mini series, which I think stands as one of the best stories Mignola ever wrote.
 

Séadna

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I meant to say one thing I really loved about the series was the dry comedy at the end about the various other apocalypses. You had the forthcoming vampire rising, almost like Gehenna from VtM. But then the Ogdru Hem arise and you have a few panels of the vamps going "ah wait what?!"
 

Lofgeornost

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Not a big fan of Witchfinder in general, it sorta lacks the pulp flavour of Helboy. It's interesting as the background for events later in the series, but lie a lot of background elements, it's less interesting once defined I found.

Of course, in contradiction to that, I recently reread the Koschei mini series, which I think stands as one of the best stories Mignola ever wrote.

Witchfinder is less pulpy, no doubt about it. I liked some of the earlier stories, though.

I wonder if part of the issue with this particular Witchfinder arc is that it was somewhat set by other stories that had already appeared. I mean, we know what is going to happen to Grey eventually--Hellboy in Hell made that clear. And from there--or maybe somewhere else--it was already established that he left the crown's employ after the Ripper case to dedicate himself to fighting the HBoR. So this Witchfinder arc just seemed like filling in the blanks in a pretty straightforward way.

I felt the same way about the initial Lobster Johnson collection, which was covering a story that was already told in a short form in B.P.R.D. Once freed from that, it became a much better title--though the change in artists helped, too.
 
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