Probably more like candle making. Few people in comic books have been dipping wicks into hot wax over and over again for as long and as well as Mike Mignola. Mignola, best known for his creation Hellboy, has this sparse creepiness to his writing. Mix that in a pot with his encyclopedia knowledge of folklore and some caramelized onions and YUM. You just got yourself some fine comic books there.
Everything tastes good with caramelized onions.
Creepiness isn’t in the details. It’s in the gaps of the story you let your subconscious fill in. The trick to executing it well is to include these gaps while telling enough story to keep things satisfying.
B.P.R.D does that trick. You should invite it to perform at your cousin’s bar mitzvah, that’s how well it does that trick.
I feel it’s important to draw a distinction between creepiness and horror right now. As a card carrying ‘fraidy cat, I don’t really do horror. Yet I am tickled light-red by creepiness. So let me clear things up:
- Horror is finding half a worm in your apple.
- Creepiness is hearing “No! Don’t do it!” coming out of your apple.
Welp, just made myself scared of apples.
B.P.R.D 1947 #4 takes place during the title year when the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense was just starting out. Tales of B.P.R.D.’s history are always fun for me. While the bureau’s present holds a epic, fate of the world mentality, its continuity continues to grow outside what my brain is willing to grapple with. These stories in the past, before Hellboy started cracking skulls for them, have lower stakes but a higher feeling of threat. Since they are in the past they are also able to weave in and out of continuity with little effort, which I consider a boon.
Also, since the protagonists in the past are all plain old, everyday, Ma n’ Pa human beings they are a lot weaker than B.P.R.D’s current super powered, highly trained line up. This gives each action scene a sense of peril that is often lacking in comic books.
I’ve jumped in and out of the B.P.R.D series a few times before, and never found a problem understanding a story when I entered it midway. I feel the same way about this issue, which is my sly way of saying new readers need not be worried. The issue tells a full story of a rescue mission within the larger story of an ongoing investigation. Following the internal plot while understanding the external one should pose no problem.
And that internal plot is weeeeird. It’s a strange retelling of a man’s capture by vampire sisters as a fable of being lost at sea is handled. That is a mouthful, and probably not enticing on paper. Yet it’s handled slickly thanks to Mignola’s plotting and Gabriel Ba’s drafting.
It seems the major criteria of drawing a book for Mignola is to produce stylistically identical art as him. Ba’s work could pass as Mignola if not for his greater attention to the flow of panels. The line art sometimes seems timid but its coloring by Dave Stewart adds an appeal which would be lacking.
B.P.R.D. Will probably always live under the shadow of it’s parental comic Hellboy, but I consider it the stronger of the two. If your stack of comics is lacking creepiness, though I doubt it doesn’t at least skeeve people out, consider picking up B.P.R.D.