Last year, I created a reading order for the Hellboy Universe with the help of Scott Allie. It was an involved process. We considered the publishing order, the internal chronology, the order of certain reveals, the development of certain themes…
The order we settled on focused on the library editions and omnibuses, with no switching mid-book. But it was a work in progress. I’ve since returned to it to refine and add new titles. This is the 2015 edition, covering all the books until the end of the year.
I want to point out, this is not THE reading order, it is A reading order. There is no definitive reading order, nor should there be. The Hellboy Universe is made to be accessed from many different starting points. You could begin with Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., which only began late last year, and that is a perfectly viable approach (and actually an interesting one too). Discovery is meant to be a part of the reading experience. As Scott Allie said to me once, “Different reading orders will tell different stories, the surprises will be in different places. Everyone’s experience will be different.”
Keep in mind too, this reading order was made with the entire universe in mind. You can quite easily enjoy any of these series without having to read all of them. You don’t need to read Hellboy to read B.P.R.D. or vice versa. So don’t be afraid to experiment a bit. As long as you follow the numbers on the books’ spines, you should be fine, and you may find a new way to look at this universe in the process.
TEXT ONLY VERSION
B.P.R.D.: The Soul of Venice & Other Stories
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs
Baba Yaga’s Feast (short story)
Hellboy: Weird Tales – Volume 1 (out of continuity)
Hellboy: Weird Tales – Volume 2 (out of continuity)
Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels
Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever
Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland
Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand
Lobster Johnson: Satan Smells a Rat
Lobster Johnson: Get the Lobster!
Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Gods and Monsters
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Russia
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Engine & The Long Death
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror and Others
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master
Hellboy in Hell: The Descent
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: A Cold Day in Hell
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Lake of Fire
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Reign of the Black Flame
Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible and The New Race of Man
Abe Sapien: The Shape of Things to Come
Abe Sapien: Sacred Places
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Wings
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Flesh and Stone (coming September)
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Metamorphosis (coming December)
Abe Sapien: A Darkness so Great
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952
Hellboy: House of the Living Dead
Frankenstein Underground (coming November)
And if this reading order doesn’t do anything for you, here’s a few others that you might prefer:
- The CBR Hellboy forum’s publishing order
- Fraser Sherman’s chronological order
- Conqueror Wurm’s intro to Hellboy/B.P.R.D. reading order
Baltimore isn’t included in the reading order because it’s not a part of the Hellboy Universe. That’s also why The Amazing Screw-on Head isn’t in there either.
Likewise, I’ve only included stories in continuity. I made an exception for the Hellboy: Weird Tales omnibus edition because it collects How Koshchei Became Deathless and Baba Yaga’s Feast. But you won’t find Hellboy Junior or any Hellboy crossovers here.
There will be more omnibus editions… eventually. The trades only go to omnibus editions when an entire cycle has wrapped up. So when B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth is over, that’s when you’ll start seeing omnibuses for it.
If there’s anything else you want to know, The Hellboy Wiki is a helpful resource.