Hell of a Hellboy Resurgence

John Byrne's Next Men #21

Continuing my theme of movie-related articles, Hellboy fans are excited about the news that there will be a new movie on the way.

What I’m most intrigued about is that, reportedly, it will be an R-rated horror film. Sure, that limits the audience, but I find it refreshing; the Marvel action-comedy formula has gotten tired. I’m hoping “Thor: Ragnarok” will be great (I will definitely buy a ticket to see it), but the trailers look too much like “Guardians of the Galaxy” especially when I see Thor and Hulk bantering. It looks like a 1980s buddy cop movie.

The first two Hellboy movies were definitely in the action-comedy genre with a little horror mixed in, but an R-rated Hellboy focusing more on the horror aspect sounds great. Judging by the success of “Logan” and “Deadpool,” adult fans are ready for something different. As reported this past weekend at San Diego Comic Con, Spawn is on the path to a reboot as well, and, like Hellboy, it’s being touted as an R-rated horror movie more so than a superhero action-comedy. This could be a game-changer for superhero movies.

When it comes to movies, I hate trendy. Trendy leads to formulaic movie making, and formulaic movies become boring, which is what is happening to Marvel. Ever since the success of “Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” both of which I enjoyed, the majority of the subsequent Marvel films have leaned heavily on the comedy. As a lifelong comic fan, what I enjoyed was the drama a good story could create. Ed Brubaker’s “Death of Captain America” storyline had my eyes glued to every page, I was shocked when Kraven committed suicide in “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” and there was nothing funny about either of those.

Judging by recent box office numbers, I’m not alone in my views.

While not necessarily a flop, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” has so far underperformed. It experienced a massive drop in ticket sales from week to week. A lot of that, I believe, comes from fans growing bored with Marvel’s action-comedy formula.

Enter: the superhero-themed horror movie.

It’s much too early to predict whether or not either the Spawn or Hellboy reboots will be successes, but the potential is there. I’m not saying I want to see Marvel switch gears and make R-rated horror movies, but it would be a refreshing change to see Marvel Studios churn out the occasional dramatic film. If one of those two movies strikes it big in the box office, this could be the signal to Marvel/Disney to change the formula at least a little.

So what does this mean to comic collectors?

As I previously wrote, the Spawn news is enough to get people buying old issues of the Todd McFarlane series. The same thing applies to Hellboy. As more news comes out about the new movie, the more interest those comics get.

Personally, I’m trying to get my hands on a first appearance of Hellboy. Most prices, for a high-grade copy, are between $150-$200. GoCollect has the average for a 9.0 copy of “Next Men” #21 (which is his first full appearance although his first actual appearance is in “San Diego Comic-Con Comics” #2) selling at $61.10. This is a perfect time to get a copy of this one, but I’d advise you to be picky and not jump on the first one you see.

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