Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Adam Hughes
Release Date: 20th December 2017
There’s something about the forced jollity of Christmas which brings out a desire for ghost stories and darkness. Hellboy: Krampusnacht satisfies that need perfectly.
The opening panels see our burly red hero striding through a snowbound central European landscape as the letters push God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen into our heads. The stark contrast of Hellboy’s sanguine flesh and the pure snow, with the bombast of the classic Christmas tune is a simply wonderful and characterful opening to the book.
Without wishing to give too much of the plot away, Hellboy encounters Krampus and things get testy, as they tend to when Big Red is around.
In Krampusnacht, Mignola has crafted a delightful one shot which toys with a lot of festive tropes and asks some interesting question about the power of belief, specifically self-belief, all perfectly in keeping with the tone of the Hellboy universe.
Adam Hughes’ artwork complements this festive darkness perfectly. The lines are jagged, yet homely and familiar. A mostly washed out palette offset by Hellboy’s red skin, spectral blue/green and the glow of firelight informs the wintertime 1970s setting with added supernatural violence.
Krampusnacht is a dark, thoughtful and satisfying delight.