Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Family Ties gives us a darker look at 1950’s USA in this side story from the Hellboy universe. In particular, a housewife and the abusive mother she could do without.
The original creator of Hellboy, Mike Mignola, and Chris Roberson are the writers for Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Family Ties. Laurence Campbell is the artist, with Dave Stewart as the colorist and Clem Robins as the letterer. Laurence Campbell and Dave Stewart are also responsible for the main cover art. Which is also the only cover art. There are no variant covers here to admire. Oh, and Dark Horse Comics is the publisher of this comic book one-shot.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Family Ties will go on sale on September 15, 2021. You can purchase print copies at your local comic book store. Or, if you’re fine with the digital version, you can download it directly from Dark Horse Comics.
Warning: spoilers for Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Family Ties below. If you want to check out this one-shot side story from the Hellboy universe for yourself, stop here and come back once the demonic screaming is over.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Family Ties ~ Plot Summary
This side-story stars the titular Hellboy and fellow B.P.R.D. agent Susan Xiang in 1957 Ohio, USA. Their mission for today? Find and recover a paperback witchcraft and demonology book some idiot publisher decided to reprint before it does any harm. What harm, you might ask? Well, remember that this is a setting where magic is real. As Hellboy himself puts it: “It’s like handing a kid a stick of dynamite and a box of matches. Something’s bound to blow up.”
Their investigation leads them to a normal-looking suburban home, where a very frightened housewife greets them, while also lying to someone one else inside about who our B.P.R.D. duo actually are. The housewife, a Mrs. Gladys Stemple, has had her harpy of a mother move in with her and it’s been pretty hard on her, but that’s not why she stopped our duo. Apparently, thing with her mother has gotten “strange”.
When our duo enters the house, the strangeness dials up several notches. The interior of the house is in shambles, with every bit of furniture wrecked. Hellboy even comes across the mangled corpse of a…dog? Cat? It’s a bit hard to tell, but he’s bothered by it either way. He’s also bothered by the sight of a long-mummified male corpse in the bathroom. The sight of a teenaged boy with his mouth sealed shut with skin freaks him out even more, although the kid does get Hellboy’s sympathy too.
Hellboy finally confronts the demon in the house’s cellar, along with that copy of that witchcraft and demonology book. Said demon seems to be fused with Gladys’ mother, in both body and mind. Susan reading Gladys’ mind reveals that this is the result of the kid using that book to innocently try to summon a demon, only for the demon to possess Gladys’ mother. Hellboy is in a bit of a pickle, because he’s trying very hard not to hurt the old woman in the demon. Gladys comes to the rescue in the form of that same book, which contains a spell that drives out unwanted spirits, including demons. After Susan convinces her, as the head of the house, to do it, Gladys exorcises the demon.
Gladys finally works up the courage to demand her harpy of a mother to move out, and Hellboy and Susan finally recover that darned book. All in all, a nice day’s work for the B.P.R.D. It also marks the end of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Family Ties.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Family Ties ~ The Good
The story feels like a side quest to the main series. It’s short, but sweet. Or rather, short, but horrifying. Exactly as a proper Hellboy story should be. It is an action-horror comic book, after all. That little subplot with Gladys is nice icing for this bloody cake.
The art by Laurence Campbell also really nails the Hellboy look. It’s appropriately dark and creepy, fitting for this universe. It’s also nice how the story starts out with white borders when the duo are outside, and transitions to a black border the moment they step into the house of horror. The borders only turns white again once Gladys exorcises the demon. It’s a nice background touch there.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Family Ties ~ The Bad
I feel like the only thing really wrong with Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Family Ties is the short length. Or rather, what feels like a short length. It’s a self-contained story in a single comic book issue. I realize that it’s going to be short. I just wished that it was a bit longer, is all.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Family Ties is a nice comic book side story for the Hellboy universe. It’s its own little single-issue short story with a bigger focus on horror than action, and a nice ending too. If you want to read this short story for yourself, check it out on Dark Horse Comics.
Source: Dark Horse Comics