Comic Vine Review

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Itty Bitty Hellboy #1 - Smashing Walnuts, Gesundheit! Review

5

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., just as you love them, but itty. And bitty.

The Good

Art and Franco have a unique and well-developed talent for taking properties that lie very squarely in a more mature audience demographic, and adapting them for readers of all ages. Scrubbing violence and the like is just the beginning; these guys respect the Right Hand of Doom off of the original source material, and they make sure to bring those whimsical little panels to life with all of the soul and personality of the not-itty-bitty HELLBOY.

B.P.R.D. favorites (and baddies) are reimagined for young readers in a delightful way; Johann has his signature containment suit, but gets to pop out and spend some time in a jar with a caterpillar, Rasputin is there in ghost-form (but much cuter this time around), and I'm pretty sure Liz heated up that chicken soup without a stove. ITTY BITTY HELLBOY is in lock-step with other Art and Franco adaptations (see also: TINY TITANS, SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES) for staying incredibly true to character/canon, in a kid-friendly manner that makes a few inside jokes for grown-up fans.

ITTY BITTY HELLBOY is also fun, which is key for engaging the younger crowd, and certainly doesn't hurt adult readers (I'd call them "mature readers," but there's something wonderfully immature about giggling at underwear jokes). It's light, it's a quick read, and each story has amusing callbacks to the preceding one.

If you doubted for a second that the creators were HELLBOY fans? Just play a little game of spot-the-reference. One issue in, we've already got a pancake mention, and an abundance of even subtler nods (seriously, treat it like a scavenger hunt!).

The Bad

Readers sans kiddos (or who aren't feeling the fun, whimsical vibe) may wish to stick with the Mignola HELLBOY. (That said? Mignola totally invited the Aw Yeah Crew to his playground on this series, so it's continuity-adjacent if not fully in-universe.)

The Verdict

It's really interesting -- and really cool -- that this book may be responsible for a new generation of HELLBOY fans. We get the reverse effect of licensed properties that try to make our nostalgic favorites still feel cool and fresh; coming in to an existing universe with a family-friendly spin means that young fans of ITTY BITTY HELLBOY have a fantastic selection of books to grow into. And even if you don't have kids? ITTY BITTY HELLBOY is still pretty likely to make you smile in a not-itty-bitty way.

7 Comments
Posted by Mucklefluga

Aw yeah 5/5! How the heck did i forget to buy this yesterday?!

Posted by Mild_Karl

Would read an Itty Bitty Miss J comic TBH.

Posted by MissJ

@mild_karl: I'll just have to have the famous cartoonists draw me into one!

Posted by cbishop

It has to be better than Hellboy Junior.

Posted by Owie

I think it's great that they found another property to work on after Tiny Titans was cancelled. Tiny Titans was certainly one of the best kids' books of all time. My kids (5 and 8) loved it and I did too. Superman Family Adventures was not quite so good, but it was picking up steam when it was cancelled.

That said, I 'm not sure this will interest most kids in the way Tiny Titans did. TT had tons of obscure characters and lots of in-jokes, but also had basic well-know characters for kids to start off on. I don't think that's the case for Hellboy. Not only is Hellboy somewhat obscure even for many adults, it's written for adults in terms of content. Whereas for standard DC properties, there are adult versions of them, but there are also tons of kid-friendly versions, so kids know who they are and are interested in the characters. You can always hope they get into it anyway, of course.

But my daughter (8), who will read pretty much anything, and likes weird magic stuff like classic Dr. Strange, looked through this and thought it might be a little too crazy for her. Again I'm all for them doing this, but I think they're going for a pretty niche market.

Edited by The_Titan_Lord

How cute.