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  1. #16

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    I'm not sure I'd reduce this to case of personal preference toward faster paced stories or slow - I like slow burning stories, I just don't think this particular slow burning story is very good sometimes.

    But I've dumped enough negativity in this thread - and frankly, I'd love to be proven wrong in the end when this series wraps up.
    Last edited by dreadcthulhu; 11-15-2013 at 01:56 PM. Reason: Just clarifying my original statement

  2. #17
    Hell yeah! Kees_L's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what is meant with the BPRD being accessible or this Abe series being not as accessible, because this series continues Abe's story with granting it all the space it needs and it does so by picking up right with Abe having left the BPRD.

    As a series it's a bit like Witchfinder - being the past of Edward Grey, or Hellboy In Hell. Not a series starting as something totally new, but one following up on existing material.

    Then again written in a way that even people not totally in the know on stuff could be enjoying it.

    Is that not accessible? I'd say such would actually be accessible. Stories made for enjoying.

    But what stories like these wouldn't have to be is being merely shaped or meant for instantly pleasing/gratifying audiences. Audiences should follow these stories if they'd wish, instead of the other way around.

    Sure enough Abe has undergone a fierce and violent transition, a mysterious or extraordinary one, but not one coming out of the blue, if Mike Mignola as the sole creator had this future for Abe up his sleeve already eversince coming up with the "Dark And Terrible" story material about a decade ago or some such.
    Known and worked through and discussed or worked on by both Mike Mignola and his twentyyear-long editor Scott Allie, as described in one of the hardcovers.

    In a recent interview on the Abe series starting mr Mike sounded to be explaining how as creator he felt Abe as a field agent had become played out, yet mr Mike would be having other stuff in store for him still, stuff for which there'd seem too little room in the regular BPRD series.

    If I understand correctly Mike Mignola is all for having other creatives work out certain arcs or runs or even series of his, even if mr Mike would deem himself too busy or uninclined to be doing them all himself.
    Creatives like John Arcudi or Scott Allie which he can work with, people who'd have worked on Hellboy or the BPRD for decades on end - or in Scott Allie's case for twenty years (!) and counting.

    How or why the comics are coming about as they do gets meticulously explained in all the interviews I'd say.

    Hellboy having his destiny hasn't yet meant anything definite as a directive, because Hellboy has been walking and choosing his own path for the most part. Whereas his stature or potential is having him remain of consequence even beyond mortality.
    His destiny stuff is a storytelling tool, granting instant yet ongoingly puzzling perspective to the reader, although hardly with ever filling things in I'd say.

    Same for Ed Grey or Abe or Liz.

    Otherwise there wouldn't be as much story. If peanut-baby Hellboy had immediately done Rasputin's bidding, there wouldn't have been a BPRD, or a world.

    And if Hellboy or the BPRD had just been another generic superhero comic, seeking to gratify audiences most instantaneously, then it would never have been what it is now.
    Last edited by Kees_L; 11-15-2013 at 04:53 PM.
    Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
    Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?
    Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
    your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet
    . ~
    (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.

  3. #18
    Junior Member cantide's Avatar
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    It's not accessible in the sense that if you know nothing about Hellboy or BPRD, you won't know what kind of story to expect from Abe Sapien, and you may not enjoy it or fully understand it.

    Aside from all of the plot that has led Abe and the world to be where they are now, there's the somewhat complex mythological context the story is placed in. I think it's important to understand that to be able to pick up on what all of this exposition and dialogue may actually mean. As an example, I remember reading somewhere that a reviewer was dissapointed with Ghennu-Hem's monologue to Abe at the end of Dark and Terrible. They called it something like "generic villain prose." But it couldn't be farther from generic! It's actually tailored exactly to Abe and his situation and fears and possible destiny! It's tons of worrying foreshadowing that that person just wrote off as "eh, just a monster saying monster things."

    I think some people could read and enjoy these stories just fine without any context if they like short disjointed horror stories, but I think without a clear driving goal in mind, it might feel pointless to anyone who doesn't get what Abe is trying to do. Even though he explains that he's trying to figure some things out and prove he's not a part of the apocalypse, that's kind of a philosophical, intellectual kind of goal. Maybe not the kind of goal a new reader can really get behind, given that they have no investment in Abe being able to prove himself in that way.

    The team does their best explaining the world and giving lots of great exposition about the state of man at this point, but it still falls short of being openly accessible to any new reader, because without understanding the 20 years of comics that came before it, it won't mean much to anyone. That's not anybody's fault. It could be considered a plus, if you like long, long stories! But it does make the overall story a tough one to get into if you're new to these comics.

  4. #19
    Hell yeah! Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cantide View Post
    It's not accessible in the sense that if you know nothing about Hellboy or BPRD, you won't know what kind of story to expect from Abe Sapien, and you may not enjoy it or fully understand it.

    The team does their best explaining the world and giving lots of great exposition about the state of man at this point, but it still falls short of being openly accessible to any new reader, because without understanding the 20 years of comics that came before it, it won't mean much to anyone. That's not anybody's fault. It could be considered a plus, if you like long, long stories! But it does make the overall story a tough one to get into if you're new to these comics.
    Thanks for that concise explanation, Cantide.

    To me it seems that all of Hellboy both as any offshooting material aims itself for getting read, for being to provide reference. Reference needing to get noticed in order to be noticed. To anybody, be it professors or rocket scientists, bricklayers or any other curious imaginative kids at heart.

    The storytelling seems kindred to folktales, to the bare essentials of storytelling itself.

    For school I've studied medieval texts and also folktales, at a University. And they too are often action-packing, direct however plain weird, all in service to be conveying reference, with characters and names and anything proving embodiments onto their own themes and directives.

    Read it twice and you might get different things out of it, eventhough the overall story matter does provide you with captivating imagery, albeit one leaving you seemingly with more questions than answers.

    In Hellboy so much characters are served up as referencing more than what would seem spelled out within the narrative, like Mabh or Rasputin or the Nazis or any faeries together with Dagda. Or the Baba Yaga.
    Getting exactly what would be the deal with those characters would require reading up on them in their own books. Not only for new readers, but any readers most likely.

    But any center characters like Hellboy or Abe or Liz themselves: they all don't appear all-knowing. More rather they appear to not be knowing stuff which they need to however.

    So this idea, that any story seeming particular or difficult to understand in ways would have to be wrong or not well made seems strange to me.

    And apart from comics I'll mainly read Franz Kafka, Gogol, Nabokov, Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, Soren Kierkegaard, Jay McInerney, Haruki Murakami.
    Or books on motorcycle maintenance, and Zen, which I make a point of knowing jack about.

    I'd say that if you insist on feeling but knowledgable or knowant all the time then you'd never be picking up on new stuff.
    So the smart thing to do would be to embrace the inner moron or butthead inside you. Which should be easy since noone knows everything, not even Jesus.

    If stories would really only be good by spelling out everything to readers, then they couldn't be seeming new or adventurous or full-on captivating anymore, to anyone.

    Whereas that is precisely what stories do: seem new and captivating and adventurous. Regardless of how knowing readers would be, I'm sure.
    Last edited by Kees_L; 11-16-2013 at 08:33 AM.
    Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
    Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?
    Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
    your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet
    . ~
    (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.

  5. #20
    Elder Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cantide View Post
    As these things usually do, I think it's gonna come down to personal preference whether anyone gets anything out of this series. Dreadchtulhu- it's funny you mention Pickens County , because I adored that story for the same reasons I'm loving Abe Sapien. A lot of mystery, a lot of small scale personal horror, no real answers... yet. that's just my kind of story, I guess. Disjointed short stories with a vague building plotline and development of character that only gradually becomes apparent.

    Matt, I think you're the first person to really capture my opinion of the series in words! And it's definitely not an accessible book, no matter if they tried to make it one or not. But that makes me love it more, I guess. More to chew on and more to theorize about...
    I didn't care much for pickens when I first read it as I had little to no interest in the characters but now that I've gotten to know the non-powered agents a bit more I think I may need to re-read it and see if my opinion has changed.

    As for Abe? While I felt that the opening arc was much stronger I certainly don't have much negative things to say. One can say that they don't care for the aimless wanderings of Abe but if that's going to be your critique I think it has to be applied consistently across the board and in which case I think you'd have to be negative about Hellboy in Hell as well and I don't think I've seen that expressed. Hellboy and Abe, though separated by vast distances are very much in the same place where it concerns their lives and I find that symmetry very interesting, especially when coupled with the talk about new gods creating the world over again.

    I think we're all awating the moment when Hellboy comes back to Earth, and I think many have assumed it would take place in the pages of BPRD but honestly, considering the similarities in their journeys, I wouldn't be surprised if HB came back in Abe's book if he indeed does eventually come back as we hope.

  6. #21
    Hell yeah! Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thwhtGuardian View Post
    I think we're all awating the moment when Hellboy comes back to Earth, and I think many have assumed it would take place in the pages of BPRD but honestly, considering the similarities in their journeys, I wouldn't be surprised if HB came back in Abe's book if he indeed does eventually come back as we hope.
    Not me. I'm not awaiting the moment that Hellboy 'comes back'. I'm not awaiting the BPRD to magically become 'reunited into its former glory'.
    Since to me that wouldn't be servicing any kind of story.
    I could see it as something allegorical, something you'd want but know such could never be.

    But for an actual story motif I hope such wouldn't ever come to be. Restoring glory or happiness for happiness' sake most likely wouldn't mean "payoff" or "closure" for me, because going along with change, accepting that stuff doesn't last forever or often won't be somehow 'meant to be', will be more profound. Even for fiction. Even for makebelieve.

    I'm just following the stories, on the premisse of them hopefully proving startling yet captivating, uncanny and innovative and mistifyingly beautiful both as daring. As much as I can possibly hope them to be. And so far I haven't felt the need for adjusting my own presumptions or premonitions on such.

    If I wanted to read more generic kind of superhero/Hollywood/neverchanging-type-of-stuff, I'd go read that. There is enough of such around I'd say.
    Yet I have little interest or appreciation for any feelgood popular entertainment, because I like good storytelling better.

    The notion of heroes always winning and preserving justice with keeping in touch with the underdog with never changing will be completely alien to me. It would seem my definition of "unremarkable".
    I much rather like Viking kind of heroes, or Native Americans, who wish for heroic deaths onto becoming remembered and where scars mean pride. Because that works allegorically, because such bears a full scope of negatives both as positives within.
    Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
    Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?
    Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
    your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet
    . ~
    (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.

  7. #22
    Elder Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    I don't think Hellboy's possible return would be the heroes always winning or happiness for happiness' sake though, that's the furthest thing from my mind. When you said allegorical, that was more along the lines of my thinking and that is supported by the exposition here in Abe's book about the gods sacrificing themselves to create a new world. And while it's true that Hellboy already has given his life to save the world it hardly seems like that's the end for him or his final part in the fate of the Earth.

  8. #23
    Hell yeah! Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thwhtGuardian View Post
    I don't think Hellboy's possible return would be the heroes always winning or happiness for happiness' sake though, that's the furthest thing from my mind. When you said allegorical, that was more along the lines of my thinking and that is supported by the exposition here in Abe's book about the gods sacrificing themselves to create a new world. And while it's true that Hellboy already has given his life to save the world it hardly seems like that's the end for him or his final part in the fate of the Earth.
    I have to agree I see what you mean. If you put it like that.
    Although on 'giving his life', this seems to be the case, but at the same time, if his life is gonna be his own (at all), then that would be just like the thing to do. For him.
    Like it seems to me he is mainly responding to whatever he is encountering for his existence, such as being his destiny or whatever, he is doing what he would be. Without the batting of an eye, although, with giving one away, willingly. As far as that goes.

    Like he is still gonna be to step onto that Vigrid battlefield for all anyone would know. As that would be the ultimate showdown to go down. Whenever that would be. Now still. As ever. Onto whatever outcome even. I'd say. Like it would seem up in the air, almost palpably so. (I hope *palpably* to being an actual word...)

    Like *the path of a hero or champion* would be buff and awesome, but also sort of as regular / uncanny as anybodies. You don't have to agree but that's how I'd like to see it. Or like how a guy like Hellboy himself would.

    Abe is, on a differently balancing set of scales at the moment I'd think. It seems to me that any of the "new race" hoopla would basically be freaking him the Hell out.
    He doesn't seem to be taking any such as good news. Like a new race, be it a froggish race or fishy race - would basically not have to be meaning good news, at least not for whatever would be existing actually in the here and now.
    Like if Abe's future race is gonna be the new hamster at the treadmill, then where is that hamster gonna go?
    I can't think of a good song by The Replacements right now... O wait, I can.

    Abe or new Langdon just doesn't seem like he'd be at ease with test-tube baby type-of-festivities or does he?
    As up or clean-spirited as Hellboy has been keeping himself lately, for Abe I'm smelling more of a rebellion coming on - like with nose or hardly one!

    P.S.- as for the song:

    Last edited by Kees_L; 11-19-2013 at 01:30 PM. Reason: Mentioning Abe.
    Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
    Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?
    Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
    your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet
    . ~
    (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.

  9. #24
    Hell Notes Historian Middenway's Avatar
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    I'm really interested to see where December's issue, Xibalba, goes. And then it's a three issue arc from Max Fiumara. If I remember correctly, I think I read something somewhere about it involving vampires. I wonder if it will start to pick up on the Pickens plot threads at all.

  10. #25
    Elder Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    I'd definitely like to see more from that pickens plot.

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