Hellboy Junior

Authors: Various
Artists: Various
Titan Books
RRP: £10.99
ISBN 1 84023 793 7
Available now

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and Bill Wray (Ren and Stimpy) combine their outlandish visions to bring us the warped adventures of Hellboy Junior and his little friends. The result is bizarre reworkings of familiar childhood characters - like Wheezy the Sick Little Witch, the Ginger Beef Boy, and Huge Retarded Duck - are brought to life...

The great thing about Hellboy Junior, is that the creators know that the whole idea behind the creation is a cheap one - usually the dying attempts of a once great writer/illustrator to revive their flagging career. The opening page even has a cartoon introduction on how the idea of Hellboy Junior was born.

But, this collection is fantastically wicked. Bill Wray is a sick and twisted individual - one that in any civilised society should be locked away until he starts to see sense. He has a fantastic talent for going a little too near the knuckle, although he never over steps the mark. He comes close, but always manages to reign himself in at the last minute.

A lot of these stories are not really Hellboy stories at all and only really fit into the realm of Hellboy because they are strange tales. Take for example Huge Retarded Duck. This story has everything your mother wouldn't like. It tackles retardedness, sexual abuse of a female by minors, and incest between a mother and her son. Now while this sounds anything but funny, it is hysterically so.

Then there's The Ginger Beef Boy, where an old Chinese man and his transsexual wife create a boy made from beef - based on the old children's classic The Gingerbread Boy. Sick, but very funny.

There is a huge collection of creative talent included in this collection including Dave Cooper (Futurama) and Stephen DeStefano (Ren and Stimpy). And each story seems to get a little sicker.

If you have a sense of humour that is bordering on the insane, then you'll love this collection. If you don't have a funny bone in your body, then steer clear, this collection is not for you! And I'm sure Titan Publishing have got better things to do than read letters of complaint from shocked individuals.

One of the funniest and original collections I've read for ages - not bad for what the writers hint is possibly the lamest idea to ever see the light of day.

Pete Boomer

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