Very little is known about Lobster Johnson, and it's no wonder since the character has only really made his appearance in a handful of comic books -- but that's not to say Lobster isn't a very interesting character, because he is. In fact, he is one character I believe should have his very own ongoing series at Dark Horse.
First created by Mike Mignola as a supporting character in Hellboy: Box Full of Evil #1, Lobster Johnson is a crime fighting vigilante who knows just about everything. However, when he was first introduced in the present day Hellboy story, few realized that this elusive character had been dead for many years. Lobster Johnson was first introduced to Hellboy readers in a back-up story titled 'The Killer In My Skull;' a story set towards the end of Johnson's "career" as a crimefighter in New York City, 1938.
Set around the time of World War II in New York, Lobster Johnson fought crime between 1932 and December, 1938. During that era the vigilante roamed the streets and gathered information. He killed over one hundred organized crime leaders, spies and saboteurs in New York City until he met his untimely death at the hands of Nazi's after being hired out by the United States Government for a covert mission. Johnson reappeared much later when he teamed up with Hellboy to defeat the Conqueror Worm which was when Hellboy and Abe Sapien realized that Lobster Johnson had been dead for years. The two B.P.R.D. members later tried to put Lobster Johnson's body to rest by locating his body and giving him a proper funeral. Lobster is now considered to be one of the most powerful ghosts in the Hellboy universe.
This was not, however, the last time readers saw Lobster Johnson in comics. Since 1999 when he was first created, Johnson has really only made about 30 appearances: far too few for a character which such a deep and rich character history. When Mignola created Lobster Johnson, he didn't just create a new character; he created a legend behind an already interesting character. Mike Mignola created a comic within a comic by turning the real vigilante into a pulp comic hero within the Hellboy universe. Mignola published comic strips written by a fictional character name Novell Cooper who claimed to have known the real Lobster Johnson personally and went on to publish eight stories featuring the character based on the vigilante in 'Weird Detective' comics. Now that's deep.
It's so impressive to me that so much thought was put into establishing this really fun, interesting and unique character. Lobster Johnson was able to add a lot of depth to Hellboy comics, but I don't think that his influence should be limited. Dark Horse is currently publishing an all-new Lobster Johnson story, but I think this character has the potential to have his very own ongoing series. Mignola should absolutely recount the tales of Lobster Johnson's origins, how he became a vigilante and details of his life spanning the ten years he spent fighting crime in New York City in the 1930's. What do you think? Are you familiar with Lobster Johnson? If you're not, be sure to check out the latest Lobster Johnson 5-issue series currently in stores now.