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Mignolaversity: The Hellboy Universe Reading Order ― 2018

By | June 5th, 2018
Posted in Annotations | 5 Comments

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This is an older reading order. Please check out the 2023 version.

Back in 2014 I sat down with Scott Allie and figured out a reading order for the Hellboy Universe, with a focus on the final library editions and omnibus editions. Since then I’ve revisited it every year, updating it with the newest titles and making adjustments. This year was probably the hardest since the 2014 version. The “Hellboy” series is available in both library editions and omnibus editions, and the order of the stories collected within is radically different. I’d always tried to keep the reading order simple, but this year it got decidedly complicated.

This is not the official reading order—there is no official reading order. The Hellboy Universe is made to be accessed from many different starting points. Pick a series—“Hellboy,” “B.P.R.D.,” “Witchfinder,” “Lobster Johnson”—they’re all good starting points. Just follow the numbers on the spines of the trades. And many of these series can be read in isolation from the others. If you’re only interested in “Lobster Johnson,” that series works perfectly well on its own. You don’t need to read “Hellboy” to read “Lobster Johnson.” Discovery is meant to be a part of the reading experience, so don’t be afraid to explore a little bit.

If you want to explore, but don’t want go out there completely blind, this simplified reading order may be for you. Otherwise, if you’re not easily intimidated, here’s our usual list. (There’s a text-only version below.) I’ve also included some other reading orders at the end.

Hellboy Universe Reading Order 2018


Continued below

Continued below

Hellboy Library Edition – Volume 1
• Seed of Destruction
• Wake the Devil
Hellboy Omnibus – Volume 1:
Seed of Destruction
Hellboy Library Edition – Volume 2
• The Chained Coffin and Others
• The Right Hand of Doom
Hellboy Omnibus:
The Complete Short Stories – Volume 1
Hellboy Library Edition – Volume 3
• Conqueror Worm
• Strange Places
Hellboy Omnibus:
The Complete Short Stories – Volume 2
Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea (OGN)Hellboy Omnibus – Volume 2:
Strange Places
Hellboy Library Edition – Volume 4
• The Crooked Man and Others
• The Troll Witch and Others
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Omnibus – Volume 1
• Hollow Earth & Other Stories
• The Soul of Venice & Other Stories
• Plague of Frogs
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Omnibus – Volume 2
• The Dead
• The Black Flame
• War on Frogs
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Omnibus – Volume 3
• The Universal Machine
• Garden of Souls
• Killing Ground
Hellboy Library Edition – Volume 5
• Darkness Calls
• The Wild Hunt
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Omnibus – Volume 4
• The Warning
• The Black Goddess
• King of Fear
Hellboy: Weird Tales
• “How Koshchei Became Deathless”
• “Baba Yaga’s Feast”
• Weird Tales – Volume 1 (not in continuity)
• Weird Tales – Volume 2 (not in continuity)
Witchfinder (TPBs)
In the Service of Angels
Lost and Gone Forever
The Mysteries of Unland
Lobster Johnson (TPBs)
The Burning Hand
Satan Smells a Rat
Get the Lobster
A Chain Forged in Life
The Pirate’s Ghost and Metal Monsters of Midtown
The Iron Prometheus
Sledgehammer 44 (TPBs)
B.P.R.D.: 1946–1948 Omnibus
• 1946
• 1947
• 1948
B.P.R.D.: Vampire (TPB)
Hellboy: The Midnight Circus (OGN)
Hellboy in Mexico (TPB)
Frankenstein Underground (TPB)
Abe Sapien: The Drowning and Other Stories Omnibus
• The Drowning
• The Devil Does Not Jest and Other Stories
• Lost Lives and Other Stories (excluding “Icthyo Sapien”)
B.P.R.D.: Being Human (TPB)
Hellboy Library Edition – Volume 6
• The Storm and the Fury
• The Bride of Hell and Others
Hellboy Omnibus – Volume 3:
The Wild Hunt
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth Omnibus – Volume 1
• New World
• Gods and Monsters
• Russia
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth Omnibus – Volume 2
• The Devil’s Engine & The Long Death
• The Pickens County Horror & Others
• The Return of the Master
Hellboy in Hell Library Edition
• The Descent
• The Death Card
Hellboy Omnibus – Volume 4:
Hellboy in Hell
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth Omnibus – Volume 3
• A Cold Day in Hell
• Lake of Fire
• The Reign of the Black Flame
Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible Omnibus – Volume 1
• Dark and Terrible and The New Race of Man
• The Shape of Things to Come
• Sacred Places
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth Omnibus – Volume 4 (coming January 2019)
• The Devil’s Wings
• Flesh and Stone
• Exorcism
Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible Omnibus – Volume 2
• A Darkness so Great
• The Secret Fire
• The Desolate Shore
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth Omnibus – Volume 5 (coming March 2019)
• Metamorphosis
• End of Days
• Cometh the Hour
Koshchei the Deathless (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know (TPBs)
(+ “Icthyo Sapien” from Abe Sapien: The Drowning and Others Stories Omnibus)
Pandemonium (coming February 2019)
Witchfinder (TPBs)
City of the Dead
The Gates of Heaven (coming January 2019)
Rise of the Black Flame (TPB)
Rasputin: The Voice of the Dragon (TPB)
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. (TPBs)
The Visitor: How & Why He Stayed (TPB)
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955 (TPB)

If you’re interested in other reading orders, here’s some that other readers have come up with:

Fabien’s Reading Order
This reading order is focused on the trade collections, and has some conversation about each section. This is a rather popular reading order too. It’s still being updated from time to time too.

Comics Guide 101’s Ultimate Hellboy Reading Order
A video reading order. It’s two years out of date now. It goes into detail about where the branching points are for these books, but it’s a bit vague when it comes to the more obscure spin-offs. There’s also a companion video which explains a bit about each series.

The Hellboy Universe Publishing Order
This is a story by story reading order based on the debut of the first issue of an arc or miniseries. There’s not really much more to it than that. I’ve been keeping this order updated since February 2009, back when it was on the Dark Horse forums.

Fraser Sherman’s Chronological Reading Order
If you’re new to the Hellboy Universe, don’t use this one. This for readers that have read it all before and want to experience it a new way. This is a very fractured reading experience though, jumping from book to book. It’s high effort. It’s also still being updated.

Stuntman Mikee’s Chronological Reading Order
This approaches the chronology on a story by story basis, so again this is a high effort reading order and definitely not for new readers. It’s been updated in the last six months too.

Hellboy Media’s reading order (in Russian)
This includes a breakdown of each series and a chronological list of stories. It also includes a chronological list for the Baltimore—Joe Golem Universe. This list is regularly updated.

If you find any other reading orders you like, feel free to link ’em in the comments!

//TAGS | Hell Notes | Mignolaversity

Mark Tweedale

Mark writes Haunted Trails, The Harrow County Observer, The Damned Speakeasy, and a bunch of stuff for Mignolaversity. An animator and an eternal Tintin fan, he spends his free time reading comics, listening to film scores, watching far too many video essays, and consuming the finest dark chocolates. You can find him on BlueSky.


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