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Mignolaversity: The Hellboy Universe Reading Order ― 2019

By | March 23rd, 2019
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Back in 2014, Multiversity Comics published our reading order for the Hellboy Universe and we’ve updated in annually ever since. This is not the official reading order because 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. Many of these series can be read without reading any 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, here’s our usual reading order. (There’s a text-only version below.) I’ve also included links to some other reading orders at the end as well as other useful resources.

Mignolaversity’s reading order prioritizes the library editions and omnibus editions. While we’ve tried to keep it simple, the “Hellboy” series is collected in both library editions and omnibus editions, which collect the stories in a radically different order. To accommodate both, the reading order is split into two columns: stick to the left if you’re reading “Hellboy” in trade paperbacks or the library editions, or stick to the right if you’re reading “Hellboy” in the omnibus editions.

A final note for new readers: once a trade paperback is collected into an omnibus, there will be no further reprints of that trade. If a book is available as an omnibus, that’s going to be the easiest way to track down those stories. If you read digitally, the trade paperbacks and omnibus editions are readily available on ComiXology and Dark Horse Digital. However, the library editions are not available as digital volumes.


Hellboy Universe Reading Order 2019



LIBRARY EDITION: Hellboy – Volume 1
Hellboy – Volume 1: Seed of Destruction (TPB)
Hellboy – Volume 2: Wake the Devil (TPB)
OMNIBUS: Hellboy – Volume 1:
Seed of Destruction
LIBRARY EDITION: Hellboy – Volume 2
Hellboy – Volume 3: The Chained Coffin
and Others (TPB)
Hellboy – Volume 4: The Right Hand
of Doom
OMNIBUS: Hellboy:
The Complete Short Stories – Volume 1
LIBRARY EDITION: Hellboy – Volume 3
Hellboy – Volume 5: Conqueror Worm (TPB)
Hellboy – Volume 6: Strange Places (TPB)
OMNIBUS: Hellboy:
The Complete Short Stories – Volume 2
Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea (OGN)OMNIBUS: Hellboy – Volume 2:
Strange Places
LIBRARY EDITION: Hellboy – Volume 4
Hellboy – Volume 10: The Crooked Man
and Others
Hellboy – Volume 7: The Troll Witch
and Others
OMNIBUS: B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs – Volume 1
B.P.R.D. – Volume 1: Hollow Earth & Other Stories (TPB)
B.P.R.D. – Volume 2: The Soul of Venice & Other Stories (TPB)
B.P.R.D. – Volume 3: Plague of Frogs (TPB)
OMNIBUS: B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Omnibus – Volume 2
Continued below

B.P.R.D. – Volume 4: The Dead (TPB)
B.P.R.D. – Volume 5: The Black Flame (TPB)
B.P.R.D. – Volume 12: War on Frogs (TPB)
OMNIBUS: B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Omnibus – Volume 3
B.P.R.D. – Volume 6: The Universal Machine (TPB)
B.P.R.D. – Volume 7: Garden of Souls (TPB)
B.P.R.D. – Volume 8: Killing Ground (TPB)
LIBRARY EDITION: Hellboy – Volume 5
Hellboy – Volume 8: Darkness Calls (TPB)
Hellboy – Volume 9: The Wild Hunt (TPB)
OMNIBUS: B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs – Volume 4
B.P.R.D. – Volume 10: The Warning (TPB)
B.P.R.D. – Volume 11: The Black Goddess (TPB)
B.P.R.D. – Volume 14: King of Fear (TPB)
OMNIBUS: Hellboy: Weird Tales
“How Koshchei Became Deathless” (short story)
“Baba Yaga’s Feast” (short story)
Hellboy: Weird Tales – Volume 1 (TPB, not in continuity)
Hellboy: Weird Tales – Volume 2 (TPB, not in continuity)
OMNIBUS: Witchfinder – Volume 1
Witchfinder – Volume 1: In the Service of Angels (TPB)
Witchfinder – Volume 2: Lost and Gone Forever (TPB)
Witchfinder – Volume 3: The Mysteries of Unland (TPB)
Lobster Johnson – Volume 2: The Burning Hand (TPB)
Lobster Johnson – Volume 3: Satan Smells a Rat (TPB)
Lobster Johnson – Volume 4: Get the Lobster! (TPB)
Lobster Johnson – Volume 6: A Chain Forged in Life (TPB)
Lobster Johnson – Volume 5: The Pirate’s Ghost and Metal Monsters of Midtown (TPB)
Lobster Johnson – Volume 1: The Iron Prometheus (TPB)
Sledgehammer 44 (TPB)
OMNIBUS: B.P.R.D.: 1946–1948
B.P.R.D. – Volume 9: 1946 (TPB)
B.P.R.D. – Volume 13: 1947 (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: 1948 (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Vampire (Second Edition, TPB)
Hellboy: The Midnight Circus (OGN)
Hellboy in Mexico (TPB)
Frankenstein Underground (TPB)
OMNIBUS: Abe Sapien: The Drowning and Other Stories
Abe Sapien – Volume 1: The Drowning (TPB)
Abe Sapien – Volume 2: The Devil Does Not Jest and Other Stories (TPB)
Abe Sapien – Volume 9: Lost Lives and Other Stories (TPB)
(Don’t read “Icthyo Sapien” yet)
B.P.R.D.: Being Human (TPB)
LIBRARY EDITION: Hellboy Library Edition – Volume 6
• The Storm and the Fury
• The Bride of Hell and Others
OMNIBUS: Hellboy – Volume 3:
The Wild Hunt
OMNIBUS: B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 1
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 1: New World (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 2: Gods and Monsters (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 3: Russia (TPB)
OMNIBUS: B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 2
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 4: The Devil’s Engine & The Long Death (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 5: The Pickens County Horror & Others (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 6: The Return of the Master (TPB)
LIBRARY EDITION: Hellboy in Hell
Hellboy in Hell – Volume 1:
Continued below

The Descent
Hellboy in Hell – Volume 2:
The Death Card
OMNIBUS: Hellboy – Volume 4:
Hellboy in Hell
OMNIBUS: B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 3
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 7: A Cold Day in Hell (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 8: Lake of Fire (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 9: The Reign of the Black Flame (TPB)
OMNIBUS: Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible – Volume 1
Abe Sapien – Volume 3: Dark and Terrible and The New Race of Man (TPB)
Abe Sapien – Volume 4: The Shape of Things to Come (TPB)
Abe Sapien – Volume 5: Sacred Places (TPB)
OMNIBUS: B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 4
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 10: The Devil’s Wings (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 11: Flesh and Stone (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 14: Exorcism (TPB)
OMNIBUS: Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible – Volume 2
Abe Sapien – Volume 6: A Darkness so Great (TPB)
Abe Sapien – Volume 7: The Secret Fire (TPB)
Abe Sapien – Volume 8: The Desolate Shore (TPB)
OMNIBUS: B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 5
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 12: Metamorphosis (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 13: End of Days (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Volume 15: Cometh the Hour (TPB)
Koshchei the Deathless (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know – Volume 1: Messiah (TPB)
(Also read “Icthyo Sapien” from the Abe Sapien: The Drowning and Others Stories omnibus)
B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know – Volume 2: Pandemonium (TPB)
B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know – Volume 3: Ragna Rok (TPB)
Witchfinder – Volume 4: City of the Dead (TPB)
Witchfinder – Volume 5: The Gates of Heaven (TPB)
Rise of the Black Flame (TPB)
Crimson Lotus (TPB)
Rasputin: The Voice of the Dragon (TPB)
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952 (TPB)
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 (TPB)
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1954 (TPB)
The Visitor: How & Why He Stayed (TPB)
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955 (TPB)
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956 (TPB)

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

Hellboy Book Club
OK, I have to admit, this has become my personal favorite reading order (and not because I played a role in shaping it). The reason I made Mignolaversity’s Hellboy Universe reading order, and why I make sure to update it annually, is because I don’t just love the books, I also love the community around the books. The Hellboy Book Club taps into that community in a fantastic way. There’s nothing like working your way through a book and then digesting it with the book club after. The hosts, John Salinas, Danielle Reneé, and Aubrey Lovelace, all have such different points of view on the material and add so much to the conversation. This is not a “the comic was good” podcast; their approach is detailed and critical. Read some comics and talk to your friends.

Continued below

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. Although it was originally published in 2017, it’s still being updated periodically, which is awesome.

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.

Comics Guide 101’s Ultimate Hellboy Reading Order
A video reading order. It’s two years out of date now, but the channel revisits Hellboy occasionally, so they may do an updated reading order video eventually. This video 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.

Hellboy Wiki Publishing Order
This is not really a reading order, but rather a table showing when every single issue came out. I’m putting it here for the sake of being thorough.

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 hasn’t been updated in over a year at this point either.

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 over a year old at this point and on an old reddit thread too, so it’s unlikely it’ll ever be 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 Twitter @MarkTweedale.


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