Mike Mignola’s Hellboy series and its various spin-offs careen wildly back and forth through Hellboy’s career (ditto Abe Sapien, Professor Bruttenholm and everyone else). As I write this, I’ve been reading through them in internal chronological order and frequently discover it’s hard to keep track of which story comes when.
Hence this page, which will break down the Hellboy stories according to the year they happened (and only stories—if you want dates such as the fall of Hyperborea, check out The Hellboy Companion). The nice thing about computers is that it’s possible to update these lists as new stories come along and disrupt the established order, which they inevitably do. If I’m not sure where in a given year a story takes place (does BPRD: Vampire take place before or after The Midnight Circus?), I’ve guessed. I can always correct mistakes later.
While I usually defer to the Companion as the official source, it doesn’t always work. It lists Darkness Calls coming after BPRD: Killing Ground, but the scenes with Liz in the epilog show it falls in 2006, before Killing Ground and after Universal Machine. A commenter just pointed out that Conqueror Worm‘s internal chronology contradicts the dates in the Companion. No surprise, very few series this long don’t run into inconsistencies.
The listing category is year/story/TPB collection (when it isn’t the name of the story). I’ll post new entries as I progress through the series. Rights to all cover images belong to the current holder; art by Mike Mignola unless otherwise stated.
If a story takes place with multiple time periods (Hellboy in Mexico, for instance, is a flashback), I’ll place at whichever point makes the most sense. In some cases I’ll list the story in multiple time periods.
For more in-depth information, try the Hellboy wiki.
PRE-WORLD WAR II
Pre-history: The Sword of Hyperborea
The warrior Gall Dennar wields a Hyperborean sword in his final fight against the forces of darkness.
Medieval Russia: Koschei the Deathless
An ambitious young man becomes a legendary warrior and mage, only to be enslaved by the Russian witch Baba Yaga.
1646: The Burial of Katharine Baker (Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels)
Witch-hunter Henry Hood confronts a witch despite her family’s protests.
1865: The Calm Before the Storm (Abe Sapien: The Drowning omnibus)
Langdon Caul launches the undersea expedition that will lead to his transformation into Abe Sapien.
1879: Murderous Intent (Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels)
Edward Grey saves Queen Victoria from witches.
1879: Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels
Grey confronts an occult conspiracy involving ancient artifacts, a monster and the Heliotropic Brotherhood of Ra.
1880: Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever
Grey hunts an escaped criminal into the Wild West and finds a supernatural menace.
1880: Beware the Ape (Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland)
Sir Edward battles an ape that worships an evil god.
1881: Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland
Investigating the death of a British official, Sir Edward Grey discovers a sinister waterborne menace in the fens around the town.
1882: Witchfinder: City of the Dead
Sir Edward Grey discovers the vampire Giurescu has been laying the groundwork for an assault upon England.
1884: Witchfinder: The Gate of Heaven
A mysterious thief steals occult items from around London. Sir Edward joins with other occult researchers and investigators to thwart the thief’s sinister plan.
Late 1880s: Chapter One (The Silver Lantern Club)
Simon Bruttenholm and the Silver Lantern Club battle a demon summoned up by an experimental early radio.
Late 1880s: Chapter Two (The Silver Lantern Club)
Investigating a murder, the Silver Lantern Club encounter a giant spider capturing humans for food.
Late 1880s: Chapter Three (The Silver Lantern Club)
Sarah Jewell helps out a medium deal with a spirit that may have been lurking around London since Elizabethan times.
Late 1880s: Chapter Four (The Silver Lantern Club)
Werewolf hunter Yad Tovich recruits Edward Grey and Simon Bruttenholm to help him hunt down a London lycanthrope.
1888-9: Witchfinder: The Reign of Darkness
Investigating the Ripper murders in Whitechapel, Sir Edward discovers they have ties to the Heliotropic Brotherhood of Ra.
Early 1890s: Chapter Five (The Silver Lantern Club)
The Silver Lantern members investigate multiple different cases, all of which turn out to have a common solution.
1916: The Sword of Hyperborea
Ling de Gotha, a Eurasian werewolf, becomes a pawn in the Heliotropic Brotherhood of Ra’s latest scheme
1923: The Rise of the Black Flame
In Burma, British colonial police and occult adventurer Sarah Jewell discover a series of kidnappings trace back to an ancient temple and a sinister prophecy.
1926 (February): The House of Lost Horizons
Sarah Jewell and Marie-Therese arrive at an isolated house which soon becomes cut off from the outside world — and, of course, there’s a murderer among the guests.
1932: Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand
The Lobster launches his war on crime and confronts ghostly Indians, gangsters and an occult Nazi threat.
1932: Crimson Lotus
In occupied Manchuria a Chinese sorceress and a British-educated Chinese spy pit themselves against the Crimson Lotus, who’s working with the occupying Japanese forces.
1932: Caput Mortuum (Lobster Johnson: Satan Smells a Rat)
The Lobster thwarts a cabal of German scientists plotting to use a deadly chemical weapon on New York.
1933: Satan Smells a Rat
The Lobster discovers a scientist conducting neurosurgical experiments on unwilling guinea pigs.
1933: Tony Masso’s Finest Hour (Lobster Johnson: Satan Smells a Rat)
A gangster enlists supernatural help to defeat the Lobster.
1933: A Scent of Lotus (Lobster Johnson: Satan Smells a Rat)
The Lobster finds himself working alongside New York’s tongs—Chinese gangs—against an uncanny Japanese agent, the Crimson Lotus.
1933: The Prayer of Neferu (Lobster Johnson: Satan Smells a Rat)
A nightclub owner steals an Egyptian mummy, unaware he’s being manipulated by a schemer plotting to tap the mummy’s magic.
1934: Get the Lobster
While the Lobster takes on a mad scientist’s radio-controlled brain slaves, he also has to cope with the cops trying to shut him down and reporter Cindy Tynan exposing his secrets.
1934 (December): A Chain Forged in Life (A Chain Forged in Life)
The Lobster hunts down gangsters who’ve taken a sidewalk Santa Claus hostage.
1935 (winter): The Forgotten Man (A Chain Forged in Life)
A former mobster forms a sinister cannibal cult among the down and out of a local hobo camp.
1935 (April): The Glass Mantis (A Chain Forged in Life)
The Lobster investigates mysterious goings-on involving a Turkish glassblower’s museum exhibit.
1935: The Kelpie (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1953)
Trevor Bruttenholm, still in college, makes his first attempt to investigate the supernatural.
1935: Garden of Bones (A Chain Forged in Life)
The Lobster and his crew confront a cabal of sorcerers raising the dead in a New York graveyard.
1935 (autumn): Mangekyo (A Chain Forged in Life)
The Crimson Lotus battles the Lobster inside his own mind.
1936 (May): The Metal Monsters of Midtown
The Lobster and his crew try to crack the mystery behind the robot juggernauts creating havoc throughout New York.
1936 (August): The Pirate’s Ghost
Mob boss Wald kidnaps reporter Cindy Tynan as part of an elaborate trap involving a phantom pirate ship.
1937: Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus
The Lobster goes up against the sinister Mehmet Saa in a battle for control of Hyperborea’s lost arcane secrets.
1937:(July) Rasputin: The Voice of the Dragon
A Nazi representative recruits Rasputin as an ally of the Third Reich.
1938: The Killer in My Skull (BPRD: Hollow Earth)
The Lobster investigates the deaths of several scientists.
1938: And What Shall I Find There? (BPRD: 1947)
A young, reckless Trevor Bruttenholm confronts his first ghost.
1939: Bishop Olek’s Devil (BPRD: 1946)
Professor Howard Eaton joins Bruttenholm on another occult investigation.
1939: Flashback (The Conqueror Worm)
The Lobster dies trying to stop a Nazi attempt to summon the Ogdru Jahad to Earth.
1940: The Sword of Hyperborea
The Heliotropic Brotherhood of Ra attempts to recover a lost vril crystal from the English Channel.
1941: (June) Rasputin: The Voice of the Dragon
Working with British intelligence, Trevor Bruttenholm discovers Rasputin and his Nazi acolytes are seeking the lost secrets of the Heliotropic Brotherhood.
1944: Sledgehammer 44
An American platoon is assigned to back up a man taking on the Nazis with a vril-powered battlesuit.
1944:The Lightning War (Sledgehammer 44)
Redding, the new occupant of the battle-suit, reluctantly goes into action against the Black Flame to rescue an American pilot.
1944: Hellboy summoned to Earth (Seed of Destruction)
Bruttenholm leads an Allied effort to thwart a Nazi ritual, but the ritual nevertheless brings forth—Hellboy!
1944: The Visitor: How and Why he Stayed
An alien assigned to kill Hellboy spares him in favor of monitoring him over the coming years.
1944: Modern Prometheus (BPRD Hell on Earth: Metamorphosis)
While Professor Bruttenholm witnesses the birth of Hellboy, “the Hammer” tries to rescue his buddies from the Battle of Bastogne.
1946: BPRD: 1946
In occupied Berlin, Professor Bruttenholm recruits his first group of agents and a Russian demon-child to investigate the lingering Nazi threat of Operation Vampire Storm.
1947: Pancakes (The Right Hand of Doom)
Hellboy tries pancakes for the first time.
1947: BPRD: 1947
Bruttenholm’s newest recruits encounter more vampires.
May, 1947: Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land
A plane crash strands Hellboy and the professor on a lost island with an ape civilization, a vampire queen and pulp adventurer Scarlett Santiago.
1948: The Midnight Circus
Hellboy runs away to the circus, but this circus is a trap designed to lure him to the side of Hell.
1948: BPRD: 1948
Bruttenholm investigates weird phenomena around an atom-bomb test site and falls for a physicist.
1948: BPRD: Vampire
Possessed by vampire spirits, Simon Anders sets out to fight back against the undead.
1948: The Abyssal Plain (The Devil Does Not Jest)
The demon Varvara sends a Soviet soldier along on a mission to deliver the magical Melchiore Burgonet to a Soviet occultist (a flashback)
1952: The Sword of Hyperborea
In Chicago, bluesman Elijah Bone becomes the latest pawn tasked with ensuring the Sword of Hyperborea achieves its destiny.
1952: Hellboy and the BPRD: 1952
Hellboy accompanies a BPRD field team to investigate mysterious events in Brazil. What awaits him include cyborg apes and betrayal by one of his team-mates.
1953 (February): The Phantom Hand (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1953)
In England, the Professor and Hellboy battle a disembodied hand.
1953 (March): Rawhead and Bloody Bones (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1953)
Hellboy, still visiting England, confronts an old legend threatening an inn.1953
1953 (April): The Silver Lantern Club
Hellboy and the professor spend a long day drinking with Simon Bruttenholm, who shares stories of the Silver Lantern Club. Later, the three men investigate an apparition at the Old Bailey.
(April): The Witch Tree (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1953)
In Shropshire, Professor Bruttenholm and Hellboy take on a resurrected witch who once battled against Rome.
1953 (November): Wandering Souls (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1953)
Hellboy and psychic Susan Xiang lay to rest the ghosts of murdered Chinese miners.
1953 (December): Beyond the Fences (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1953)
Hellboy leads a BPRD team to investigate the mutations threatening a California town.
1954 (February) The Black Sun (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1954)
Investigating strange beasts attacking an Arctic research station, Hellboy encounters a crashed UFO and an occult Nazi conspiracy (Cover by Stephen Green)
1954 (June): The Unreasoning Beast (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1954)
A family haunted by a ghost monkey turn out to have deep secrets.
1954 (August): Ghost Moon (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1954)
The theft of a Chinese spirit jar draws Hellboy and Susan to Hong Kong. The case turns out to involve stolen souls and international intrigue.
1954: The Mirror (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1954)
Hellboy confronts ominous visions inside a magic mirror.
1954: The Nature of the Beast (The Right Hand of Doom)
The Osiris Club pits Hellboy against a dragon to learn his true nature.
1954: The Visitor: How and Why he Stayed
The Visitor watches Hellboy battle the dragon and becomes convinced he’s a force for good.
1955 (March): Secret Nature (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1955)
Hellboy and black researcher Dr. Farrier investigate demon attacks in Oregon, despite the locals’ bigotry.
1955 (September): Occult Intelligence (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1955)
Hellboy and a team of BPRD agents investigate monstrous goings-on in the Marshall Islands and stumble into international intrigue. Professor Bruttenholm meanwhile investigate Britain’s ongoing occult espionage network.
1955 (October): Burning Season (Hellboy and the BPRD: 1955)
Hellboy and Susan Xiang travel to Florida to investigate what might be cases of spontaneous human combustion.
1956: King Vold (The Right Hand of Doom)
Bruttenholm sends Hellboy to Norway to help a friend investigate the eerie King Vold.
1956: (May) Hellboy in Mexico
Investigating a wave of occult attacks in Mexico, Hellboy joins forces with three luchadores.
1956: (May) Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956
Bruttenholm and Susan both make discoveries about the CIA and other intelligence agencies’ occult research programs.
1956: (August) Hellboy vs. Lobster Johnson: The Ring of Death (Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956)
One of Hellboy’s wrestling friends convinces the drunken Hellboy to play the role of Satan in a luchadore movie.
1956: (August) Down Mexico Way (Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956)
The Visitor watches Hellboy perform in The Ring of Death and wonders if he’s misjudged him.
1956: (August) Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956
Bruttenholm and Susan investigate the Center, a federal facility for occult research. Susan learns of Varvara and realizes the Professor already knew about her. The Soviets imprison Varvara in a jar.
1956: (August) Hellboy versus the Aztec Mummy (Hellboy in Mexico)
Hellboy battles an Aztec Mummy possessed by an Ogdru Hem
1956: (September) Hellboy Gets Married (Hellboy in Mexico)
A drunken Hellboy gets married to a beautiful demon
1956: (September) Hellboy in Mexico
Vampires kill Hellboy’s friend Esteban, who becomes the undead wrestler Camazotz.
1956: (September) The Coffin Man (Hellboy in Mexico)
Hellboy tries to save a man from a Mexican sorcerer
1956: (September) The Coffin Man 2: The Rematch (Hellboy in Mexico)
Hellboy tries to even the score with the Coffin Man but only gets turned into a monkey.
1956: (October) House of the Living Dead
Still in Mexico, Hellboy agrees to challenge a seemingly unbeatable wrestler.
1956: Frankenstein Underground
The Frankenstein creature Hellboy battled in the previous adventure wanders into an underground Hyperborean city where new dangers lurk.
1958: The Penagglan (The Troll Witch)
Hellboy battles a Malaysian vampire.
1958: The Crooked Man
In the Appalachians, Hellboy and a Korean War veteran take on a miser who collects souls for Hell.
1959: The Corpse (The Chained Coffin)
To restore a baby traded for a changeling, Hellboy has to give a hanged corpse a Christian burial.
1959: Untitled Story (Seed of Destruction)
Hellboy saves a woman from the Nazi scientist Von Klempt and his super-gorilla.
1960: Sullivan’s Reward (The Bride of Hell)
A serial killer tells Hellboy the murders are all the work of the haunted house he bought.
1960: The House of Sebek (The Bride of Hell)
Hellboy tries to stop a lunatic from resurrecting the Egyptian gods.
1960: Return of the Lambton Worm (The Beast of Vargu)
After Professor Bruttenholm accidentally resurrects the monstrous Lambton Worm, Hellboy has to destroy it.
1961: The Hydra and the Lion (The Troll Witch)
Hellboy battles a hydra and tries to make sense of why a ghostly lion helps him.
1961: The Iron Shoes (The Chained Coffin)
Hellboy faces a monster out of British folklore.
1962: The Beast of Vargu
In Romania, Hellboy loses a fight with a monster. A local Roma witch helps turn things around.
1962: The Secret God of the Roma (The Beast of Vargu)
The witch tells Hellboy the story of a man-god who had the courage to overcome the evil within.
1963: The Troll Witch
An old Norwegian woman tells Hellboy a legend and helps him destroy some murderous trolls.
1964: The Baba Yaga (The Chained Coffin)
Hellboy battles the legendary Russian witch and shoots her eye out.
1964: The Visitor: How and Why he Stayed
The Visitor watches Hellboy defeat a giant armadillo. Later in the year, the Visitor destroys one of the Oghdru Hem.
1966: The Sleeping and the Dead (The Bride of Hell)
Hunting a vampire, Hellboy learns the undead have a long-range plan to destroy humanity.
1967: Heads (The Right Hand of Doom)
During a visit to Kyoto, Hellboy stays in a haunted house.
1967: The Return of Effie Kolb
Hellboy returns to the Appalachians where a witch he once defeated has returned to wreak havoc.
1967: Long Night at Goloski Station (The Return of Effie Kolb)
The immortal werewolf hunter Yad Tovich helps Hellboy when the latter walks into a trap in Russia.
(Cover by Jo Chen)
1975 (October): Saturn Returns (The Beast of Vargu)
A small New Hampshire town discovers the bodies of dozens of missing people, killed by a ghoul.
1975: Krampusnacht (The Beast of Vargu)
Ghosts lead Hellboy to an encounter with their killer, the Christmas monstrosity known as the Krampus.
1976: The Dead Remembered (BPRD: Being Human)
Two years after Liz Sherman arrives at the BPRD, Professor Bruttenholm takes her along to investigate a haunting.
1978: The Visitor: How and Why he Stayed
The Visitor discovers a self-help movement is actually a front for a cult summoning an Oghdru Hem.
1979: Goodbye Mr. Tod (The Right Hand of Doom)
A medium summons up an ectoplasmic manifestation he can’t control.
1979: Her Fatal Hour (The Return of Effie Kolb)
The daughter of the witch who helped Hellboy against the Beast of Vargu asks for help escaping an evil spirit about to claim her as his bride.
1981: Abe Sapien: The Drowning
Abe’s first mission without Hellboy requires recovering a sorcerer’s corpse from a sunken ship. The BPRD figures it’ll be easy …
1981: Casualties (BPRD: Being Human)
Hunting a werewolf forces Liz and Abe to think about the dead they’ve left in their wake.
1982: The Vampire of Prague (The Troll Witch)
Hellboy battles an accursed vampire that can only die when someone beats him at cards.
1982: The Varcolac (Right Hand of Doom)
Hellboy finds that to stake vampire Ilona Kakosy he’ll have to defeat her unholy overlord, the Varcolac.
(Cover: Dave Johnson)
1982: The Haunted Boy (Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest)
Abe accepts another “routine” case involving the ghost of a drowned boy.
1983: Land of the Dead (Abe Sapien: Lost Lives)
Exploring an underground lake, Abe winds up in battle with a Mayan vampire.
1983: Witchcraft and Demonology (Abe Sapien: Lost Lives)
Professor Bruttenholm tells Abe the legend of sorcerer Gustav Strobl and the Black School that trained him in the occult.
1984: The Abyssal Plain (Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest)
BPRD agents Abe Sapien and Sal Tasso set out to salvage the Melchiore Burgonet, lost at sea for 40 years.
1985: The Whittier Legacy (The Bride of Hell)
An occultist attempts to reclaim his family’s mystic legacy, but it doesn’t go well.
1985: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish (The Bride of Hell)
A Nebraska boy’s wish for a mystic transformation draws the attention of alien abductors.
1985: Abe Sapien:The Devil Does Not Jest
Investigating an old missing persons case, Abe discovers a house that holds a gateway into Hell.
1985: The Bride of Hell
Hellboy attempts to rescue a kidnapped college student only to discover he’s fighting on the wrong side.
1986: They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships (The Crooked Man)
Hellboy and Abe Sapien attempt to stop Blackbeard’s headless corpse from reclaiming its head and launching a reign of terror.
1987: The Transformation of J.H. O’Donnel (BPRD: The Pickens County Horror)
Hellboy and a BPRD researcher visit an old mansion where the researcher is initiated into a terrifying cult.
1988: The Bones of Giants
The BPRD investigates when Thor’s hammer turns up in Sweden. Hellboy and Abe soon find themselves battling monsters out of Norse myth, including the resurrected king of the frost giants.
1989: A Christmas Underground (The Chained Coffin)
On Christmas Eve, Hellboy tries to free an old woman from a vampiric curse.
1991: Dr. Carp’s Experiment (The Troll Witch)
Investigating a mad scientist’s laboratory, Hellboy finds himself trapped in a ghostly replay of the past.
1991: The Sending (The Return of Effie Kolb)
A sorcerer sends an evil spirit to acquire an evil book of magic. Hellboy objects.
1992: The Seven Wives Club (The Return of Effie Kolb)
Helping out a friend in Savannah, Ga., Hellboy battles against seven female ghosts.
1992: In the Chapel of Moloch (The Crooked Man)
In Portugal, Hellboy helps out an artist who’s been seduced into sculpting an Earthly body for the demon Moloch.
1992: The Ghoul (The Troll Witch)
Hellboy confronts a poetry-quoting immortalist who sustains himself by eating corpses.
1992: The Ogopogo (Abe Sapien: Lost Lives)
Investigating a murder in British Columbia, Hellboy and Abe encounter a lake monster and the hermit that controls it.
1993: Drums of the Dead (BPRD: The Hollow Earth)
Abe Sapien battles against a mysterious curse plaguing ships in the Atlantic.
1993: Makoma (The Troll Witch)
An African mummy causes Hellboy to relive the battles of the legendary African warrior Makoma.
1993: The Visitor: How and Why he Stayed
Ruby, the Visitor’s human wife, dies.
1994: Hellboy: Seed of Destruction
After demonic frogs murder Professor Bruttenholm, Hellboy, Abe and Liz discover Rasputin has returned with a plan to bring about the apocalypse—and Hellboy has a starring role.
1994: Subconscious (Abe Sapien: Lost Lives)
Abe has a dream that gives him uneasy hints about his destiny.
1994: The Wolves of St. August (The Chained Coffin)
The death of Hellboy’s friend draws Hellboy and Kate Corrigan to a town governed by a werewolf curse.
1994: Untitled (Seed of Destruction)
In a small Southwestern town, Hellboy confronts the god Anubis.
1995: The Chained Coffin
Hellboy returns to the church where he first appeared and learns part of the secret behind his birth.
1997: Wake the Devil
Hellboy investigates a fantastic plot involving Nazis, vampires and Rasputin, and glimpses more of the mystery behind his destiny. Meanwhile, Liz reanimates a centuries-old homunculus.
1997: Almost Colossus (The Chained Coffin)
Hellboy tries to hunt down the homunculus that drained Liz’s power, before the loss kills her.
1997: Abe Sapien vs. Science (BPRD: The Hollow Earth)
When BPRD scientists decide to dissect Roger the homunculus, Abe takes drastic steps to revive him.
1998: The Right Hand of Doom
A priest gives Hellboy some information about the origin of his stone right hand.
1999: Box Full of Evil (The Right Hand of Doom)
Occultist Igor Bromhead settles an old score by giving Hellboy’s destiny and power to a minor demon.
The 21st Century
2000: Being Human (BPRD: Being Human)
Hellboy and Roger investigate eerie goings-on at a decayed Southern mansion.
2001: The Conqueror Worm
When a Nazi space capsule returns to Earth, Hellboy and Roger must thwart a madman’s plan to free the Ogdru Jahad from their cosmic jail.
2001: The Visitor: How and Why he Stayed
The Visitor sacrifices himself to help Hellboy stop the Nazi scheme.
2002: The Ectoplasmic Man (BPRD: Being Human)
After surviving the death of his body, the spirit of Johann Krauss goes up against a malevolent spirit that devours ghosts.
2002: Unnamed story (BPRD: The Hollow Earth)
Kate reads Krauss’s file and decides he’ll make a good recruit.
2002: BPRD: The Hollow Earth
Two years after Liz retreats to a monastery to learn better control of her powers, troglodytes arise from inside the Earth to kidnap her and exploit her pyrotic abilities. In his first mission, Johann joins Abe and Roger to rescue her.
2002: The Third Wish (Strange Places)
After a year in Africa, Hellboy is drawn into the sea where a witch plans to thwart the apocalypse by destroying him and his right hand of doom forever.
2003: The Soul of Venice
The agents battle an immortal plotting to sacrifice the spirit of Venice to the forces of Hell.
2003: Dark Waters (BPRD: The Soul of Venice)
When a New England town uncovers the corpses of three women hung for witchcraft, hate possesses a clergyman and drives him to begin a new crusade against witches.
2003: Night Train (BPRD: The Soul of Venice)
Roger and Liz join forces with the Lobster’s ghost to capture a Nazi spy hunted by the ghosts of his victims.
2003: There’s Something Under My Bed (BPRD: The Soul of Venice)
The BPRD investigates when monsters from under the bed kidnap some children.
2003: Another Day at the Office (BPRD: The Soul of Venice)
A medieval tyrant rises from his grave to confront Johann and Abe.
2004: BPRD: Plague of Frogs
The BPRD team discover that the horrors from Seed of Destruction have survived the destruction of Cavendish Hall. And with the help of human disciples, they’re spreading …
2004: Born Again (BPRD: The Dead)
The spirit of a giant monster overpowers Johann when he attempts to contact it.
2004: BPRD: The Dead
The BPRD adds a new member and gets a new HQ—that turns out to be haunted by ghosts and a mad scientist
2005: The Island
Hellboy washes up on an island where a follower of the Ogdru Jahad reveals the secrets behind Hellboy’s stone hand—which he plans to steal and wield to free the monstrous Ogdru Hem.
2005: Into the Silent Sea
Hellboy escapes the island only to be trapped in the past, on a mad seagoing expedition to contact one of the Ogdru Hem.
2005-2006: BPRD: The Black Flame
A neo-Nazi embraces the role of the Axis agent the Black Flame and begins leading the frog creatures in efforts to wake up the terrifying Kathu-Hem.
2005-2006: BPRD: War on Frogs
The BPRD continues its efforts to wipe out the frog creatures, but the struggle grows increasingly unsuccessful (this takes place overlapping the events of The Black Flame)
2005: Lost Lives (Abe Sapien: Lost Lives)
Abe and Roger argue about their different approaches to dealing with their true natures.
2006: BPRD: The Universal Machine
Seeking an alchemical treatise that can restore Roger to life, Kate becomes the prisoner of an aristocratic occultist.
2006: BPRD: Garden of Souls
A mysterious message leads Abe and Capt. Daimio to the Oannes Society, an occult group that knows the secret of Abe’s past—and a sorcerous scheme that will wipe out millions of innocent people.
2006: The Mole (The Crooked Man)
A mole on Hellboy’s hand develops a terrifying life of its own.
2006: Darkness Calls
After Hellboy refuses to become king of England’s witches, Baba Yaga lures him into the world of Russian myth so that Koschei the Deathless can avenge Hellboy shooting out her eye.
2006: BPRD: Killing Ground
The BPRD is thrown into chaos when a wendigo imprisoned at the base breaks out—and it turns out it’s not the only man-monster stalking the halls (cover by Guy Davis, rights with current holder).
2006: Out of Reach (BPRD: The Warning)
In the aftermath of Daimio’s transformation, Johann takes possession of a mystical knife that can kill the captain.
2006: BPRD: The Warning
The BPRD tries to enlist Lobster Johnson’s ghost against Gilfryd, the occultist entering Liz’s dreams. Gilfryd, however, reveals they’re facing another threat to the world besides the plague of frogs.
2007: BPRD: The Black Goddess
With the help of the Lobster and his men, the BPRD tracks down Gilfryd. He warns them that letting him control Liz is the only way to save humanity from the nightmare that’s coming.
2007: BPRD: The King of Fear
The BPRD go into a final battle against the frogs, the troglodytes and the Black Flame. However the damage done to the world may not be easy to fix…
2007: The Wild Hunt
The Osiris Club invites Hellboy to help fight against an army of resurrected giants. What follows makes Hellboy realize he hasn’t completely beaten his destiny, and reveals new secrets about his heritage.
2009: The Storm (Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury)
The witch Nimue becomes possessed by the Oghdru Jahad as Hellboy decides it’s time to fight.
2009: The Fury (Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury)
Hellboy goes into battle against Nimue, but saving the world will come at a terrible price.
2010: BPRD Hell on Earth: New World
Abe goes AWOL to investigate a possible wendigo sighting in Canada, where he meets an old friend and a dangerous new menace.
2011: Gods (BPRD Hell on Earth: Gods and Monsters)
Abe and Devon investigate Fenix, a psychic vagabond who seems able to foresee attacks by monsters.
2011: Monsters (BPRD Hell on Earth: Gods and Monsters)
Liz’s life in a trailer park is disrupted when it turns out her neighbors are part of an Oghdru Hem-worshipping cult.
2011: BPRD Hell on Earth: Russia
The leader of Russian’s occult researchers, Josif Nichayko, recruits the BPRD to help with another Oghdru Hem infestation
2012: An Unmarked Grave (BPRD Hell on Earth: Russia)
Kate learns what happened to Hellboy in his battle to save England.
2012: The Devil’s Engine (BPRD Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Engine and the Long Death)
Devon and Fenix struggle to return to the BPRD’s base despite the growing number of monsters infesting the country.
2012: The Long Death (BPRD Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Engine and the Long Death)
Johann leads a strike force into the Canadian forests to get revenge on Captain Daimio for destroying his body.
2012: The Pickens County Horror (BPRD Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror)
A BPRD agent learns that vampires are covertly building up their forces for a war with humanity.
2012: The Abyss of Time (BPRD Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror)
The power of a Hyperborean sword plunges one BPRD agent into prehistoric times—but even there, he must battle the threat of the Oghdru Jahad.
2012: The Return of the Master (BPRD Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master)
The BPRD races to stop a new Oghdru Hem threat in Scotland, while Zinco Corporation attempts the resurrection of Rasputin.
March, 2013: The Wasteland (BPRD Hell on Earth: A Cold Day in Hell)
As the monsters continue to rise, Johann leads of team of agents into Chicago to find out what happened to the team in The Abyss of Time
2013: A Cold Day in Hell
Nicheyko and a BPRD agent work together to prevent the demon-child Varvara from escaping her prison
2013: Dark And Terrible (Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible and the New Age of Man)
Abe leaves the BPRD to find the reasons behind his strange transformation. He soon discovers that his days of fighting monsters aren’t over yet.
June, 2013: Lake of Fire
Liz begins regaining control of her fire powers, but can she do it in time to stop a mad scientist experimenting on a friend?
2013: Ichthyo Sapien (Abe Sapien: Lost Lives)
Abe remembers how Langdon Caul, his past self, became involved with the Oannes Society.
2013: The New Race of Man (Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible and the New Age of Man)
Drifters seeking the meaning of the changes in the world encounter a personal tragedy on the edge of the Salton Sea.
2013: Hellboy in Hell: The Descent
The newly deceased Hellboy finds himself in Pandemonium, city of demons–but it’s abandoned and almost completely empty except for him.
2013: The Shape of Things to Come
Abe makes friends with a Latino family coping with both monsters and bigots.
2013: To the Last Man (Abe Sapien: The Shape of Things to Come)
A cop assures Abe that the teenagers who’ve wandered into his small town are harmless. The cop, of course, is wrong. (cover by Max Fiumara, all rights to current holder)
2014: Reign of the Black Flame
With Liz and Fenix back on the BPRD, a joint American/Russian task force penetrates the Black Flame’s stronghold in New York city.
2014: The Garden (Abe Sapien: Sacred Places)
Abe rescues a captured woman, Grace, from a man who believes Abe is Satan.
2014: The Healer (Abe Sapien: Sacred Places)
Abe and Grace encounter a couple seeking a way to heal their mutated son.2011: Visions, Dreams and Fishin’: (Abe Sapien: Sacred Places)
Abe and Grace revisit their pasts as they traverse New Mexico.
2014: Sacred Places (Abe Sapien: Sacred Places)
Abe returns to where Fenix shot him and discovers a strange cult, a mutating gas, BPRD agents and some old acquaintances.
2014: The Devil’s Wings
Evil from an old Hellboy case returns to possess Kate.
2014: The Broken Equation (BPRD: The Devil’s Wings)
BPRD agents in Japan get caught up in a battle between kaijin.
2014: Grind: (BPRD: The Devil’s Wings)
An ordinary man struggles to adapt to the apocalyptic new normal.
2014: Exorcism: (BPRD Hell on Earth: The Exorcist)
BPRD Agent Ashley Strode joins forces with an aged exorcist to free the demon trapped in his body.
2014: Abe Sapien: A Darkness So Great
Abe and Grace arrive in a small town untouched by the chaos engulfing the world—but that’s because the preacher is working a sinister magic.
(Cover by Laurence Campbell)
2015: BPRD Hell on Earth: Flesh and Stone
Johann and Howards lead a monster fighting mission while Nichaeyko struggles to keep the fight going in Russia.
2015: The Shadow of Suwanee (Abe Sapien: The Secret Fire)
Abe comes to the aid of a half-sunken Florida town, threatened by monsters in the water. While there he ruminates about his past, and the revelations he’s received about his future.
2015: The Garden (II) (Abe Sapien: The Secret Fire)
A prophetic pre-teen girl gives Abe advice about his role in the future.
2015: Nowhere, Nothing, Never (BPRD Hell on Earth: Metamorphosis)
The agents under Johann Krauss’s command complain the ectoplasmic Johann has lost touch with his humanity — and theirs.
2015: The Modern Prometheus (BPRD Hell on Earth: Metamorphosis)
Johann places his spirit in the Hammer’s WW II battlesuit to stop a wave of monsters overwhelming BPRD headquarters.
2015: The Black School (Abe Sapien: The Secret Fire)
Sorcerer Gustav Strobl returns to the school of sorcery that initiated him. What he learns there furthers his plans for Abe Sapien.
2015: Regressions (Abe Sapien: The Desolate Shore)
Abe learns that Professor Bruttenholm knew about his past life as Langdon Caul years before Abe learned about it.
2015: End of Days (BPRD Hell on Earth: End of Days)
Johann and Liz lead an armed attack on the Black Flame’s domain in New York.
2015: The Exorcist (BPRD Hell on Earth: The Exorcist)
Ashley Strode investigates a small town with a long history of children disappearing.
2015: Dark and Terrible Deep (Abe Sapien: The Desolate Shore)
An ancient Hyperborean priest explains Abe’s role in the end of the human era.
2015: The Garden (III) (Abe Sapien: The Desolate Shore)
Abe gains more insight from Hellboy’s old girlfriend Alice, who lives in an England preserved from the wider world’s chaos. Meanwhile Gustav Strobl transforms himself into the same kind of sea being as Abe himself.
2015: The Desolate Shore
Strobl, believing himself better suited to bring on the new race of man than Abe, attempts to destroy his rival.
2016: Hellboy in Hell: The Death Card
Wandering Hell, Hellboy has a rematch with the Vampire of Prague.
2016: The Trials of Doctor Hoffman/The Hounds of Pluto (Hellboy in Hell: The Death Card)
Hellboy discovers there’s a parasite riding his soul, and enlists the help of some occultists to exorcise it.
2016: The Spanish Bride (Hellboy in Hell: The Death Card)
Hellboy confronts a woman he once married and learns the only way to find peace is to finally embrace his destiny.
2016: Koshchei the Deathless
Hunting his soul in Hell, Koshchei takes a break to have a drink with Hellboy and share his life story.
2016: For Whom the Bell Tolls (Hellboy in Hell: The Death Card)
Hellboy brings about the end of Hell itself and moves on … somewhere.
2016: BPRD Hell on Earth: Cometh the Hour
With the Black Flame dead, Liz and Johann lead an all-out attack against the remaining Oghdru Hem monsters.
2017: BPRD The Devil You Know: Messiah
The Oghdru Hem are gone, but other threats have arisen — including Varvara, who intends to turn Earth into a new home for demon-kind.
(My original guesstimate was that time in the Hellboy-verse was running behind our own — I didn’t see enough down time between missions to stretch the timeline after King of Fear any further than around 2015. Events from Abe Sapien: Sacred Places to the first chapter of A Darkness So Great occupy two weeks, according to the text, for instance. However Lost Lives says Abe’s transformation occurs in 2013, so I’ve stretched out the timeline accordingly).
2017: BPRD: The Devil You Know: Pandemonium
A resurrected Hellboy rejoins the BPRD team for an assault on Varvara’s new kingdom of Hell in New York (cover by Laurence Campbell)
2018: BPRD: The Devil You Know: Ragna Rok
Rasputin returns for the final battle with the BPRD that will determine the fate of humanity and the world.
100 responses to “Hellboy: The Chronology”
Pingback: Hellboy | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Hellboy update | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Books | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: My Hellboy chronology | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Comic-book TPBS | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Books (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Comics (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: A brief Hellboy note | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Give me a B, give me an P, give me an R, give me a D! (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Comic books (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: A quick note (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Is Our Writers Learning? Six-Gun Tarot (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Catching up with the BPRD (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Books (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Timing is everything (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Books and Graphics (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: So Hellboy, how are things with you lately? (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Meanwhile, over in graphic novels (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: This Week in Books and Trade Paperbacks (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Where does baltimore fit into to the HB universe?
It’s a separate world as far as I know.
Actually yes your right just read an article on the first series release. Not meant to be a part of the HB universe thanks for the confirmation. Great chronology most people just list by publication date.
Pingback: Graphic Novels and Books (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Books I’ve been reading (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Hellboy’s chronology and its discontents (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: A rather drab collection of graphic novels (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Stuff I’ve been reading (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Fantastic chronology! I’ve been collecting the various Hellboy/BPRD/Mignolaverse trades for about a decade, but its been a good 4-5 years since I’ve done a read through (and haven’t even read a lot of the newer stuff released over the past several years). Going to use this as a guide as I make my way through my trades, sticking to this guide.
Looking forward to any updates you make for it.
Thanks. That’s pretty much why I wrote it.
Pingback: Hellboy Chronology update (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Hi Fraser! I’ve been religiously following your excellent Mignolaverse timeline, and I’m already reaching the end of 2011. Do you plan to update it soon? Thanks!
Yes, I just picked up Hellboy and the BPRD: 1952 and the new Abe Sapiens collection. The timeline stops in 2011 because there really doesn’t seem enough time between adventures to stretch as far as 2015 yet (I get into that here: https://frasersherman.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/hellboys-chronology-and-its-discontents-sfwapro/)
I’m glad you like it.
Hi, I love this list. It’s so convenient. Is there any sort of update schedule?
No formal schedule. It happens whenever I finish a new TPB–the next ones will probably be finished in two to three weeks–or discover I’ve made an error that needs adjusting.
Pingback: Retro-Hellboy? This week’s reading (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
In Hellboy Conqueror Worm takes place in 2000, 61 years after the opening flashback in 1939. You put 2001, why?
The Hellboy Chronology listed it as 2001. I default to the chronology but as the comic book specifically contradicts, I’ll go with Conqueror Worm and make the change. Thanks for spotting that.
Update on the case: I do not have The Companion and did not know he gave exact dates of the events. A friend of mine told me that the invasion of the castle according to The Companion was on March 20, 1939 and Conqueror Worm took place on February 5, 2001, which would still be within the 61 years.
What would 61 years, and 10 and a half months, is an explanation for the timeline made by Jason Hall for The Companion, he did not tell the months and days. So it may be 2000 or 2001.
Pingback: Catching up on graphic novels: Elves, Batman, Hellboy and more (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: My Timeline for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
My compliments on an excellent job with your chronology! I was working on a similar project a few years back (strictly for my own personal reference) but just didn’t have enough time to keep up with it, so I’m very excited to find your chronology here! I was wondering if you ever plan to add the prose novels to it (such as The Bones of Giants or the Last Army); while the books aren’t specifically listed in the bibliography of the Hellboy Companion, their events are referenced by the Companion’s timeline (such as Hellboy’s relationship with Anastasia Bransfield). Just curious what your thoughts are on it!
The Companion makes it clear they’re canonical, but I’d prefer to keep this one focused on the comics. Though if I ever get around to reading the novels, that might change.
Pingback: Abe Sapiens and an Exorcist: Updates from the Hellboyverse (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Catching Up With Hellboy and His Friends (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Unconventional super-hero sagas and more! Books read (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: My blogging year (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
This list is wonderful – thanks! Just a few small notes: Rise of the Black Flame is 1923, and there’s only 1 ‘s’ In Abe Sapien.
Right on both counts, corrected accordingly.
Pingback: Women heroes, pulp vigilantes, the president and Peanuts! TPBs read | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Hellboy and Paper Girls: Books Read | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: A few good superheroes: graphic novels read | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Thank you so much for these Hellboy list ( and of course for your other posts on this site as well ). These list was and still is until today my one and only Hellboy guideline that I trust. 🙂
Greetings from Germany.
Thank you! It’s always nice to know I’m not the only one who needs a list to keep the stories straight.
This is a great list, I’m so happy to have found this. I hope you can keep updating if there is more stuff in the series.
I’m also curious about where Icthyo Sapien is?
It’s in there, 2013, right before “New Race of Man”
Thank you very much.
Pingback: A mostly uninspiring week of reading | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Great work on this list. It only seems to me that ‘Midnight Circus’ must take place before “BPRD: 1948” when you look at the last panel of the latter.
I’ll give it a look.
I think you’re right, Brendan. I’ve adjusted accordingly.
I want to start reading Hellboy. I was wondering, as someone who has never read them before, would reading them in this order cause any kind of spoilers?
I don’t think so, though it will give a very different feel to the earlier-written, chronologically later ones. But I’d recommend starting with the original Hellboy story, Seed of Destruction, then maybe going back to the chronologically earlier ones.
(If anyone reading this has a suggestion, feel free to chime in).
Ichthyo Sapien seems like it has to come after Lake of Fire, at least, because Liz and the guy with the Hyperborian sword aren’t back on the BPRD yet (not sure exactly when that happens, I’m still on my chronological read through)
I’ll give that a look once I get a moment.
Ichthyo Sapien is almost all flashback — I don’t see anything that dates it compared to events in BPRD, other than it has to come after Abe’s transformation. Given how much he’s doing in his own series, I think I prefer to put it earlier in the year.
I may revise that when I reread everything again, but for now I think it works best as is.
I appreciate you having a look at it, but the last page of Icthyo Sapien has Liz and Ted Howards flying in on a BPRD airship, outside the flashback, and so that framing story has to come after chapter 5 of Lake of Fire, at the very earliest. I read somewhere that story was extended for the omnibus, so maybe there’s a difference there?
I think the wraparound story has to come sometime during The Devil You Know: Messiah, but I’m not sure exactly where.
Did you read Ichthyo in the omnibus edition? Apparently they expanded the original which would explain why the version in the Lost Lives TPB doesn’t have Liz in it.
I did, yes. I believe that’s the source of my timeline confusion. Thanks!
Sigh — I switched to TPBs because those kept including added material that wasn’t in the comics. I didn’t realize the Omnibuses did it too.
I shall hunt for an omnibus and check this out. Thanks for the tip.
Still can’t find a copy of the omnibus at the library (or cheap enough to buy), but I went ahead and adjusted the order anyway.
Pingback: Mostly monsters with a couple of heroes: TPBs read. | Fraser Sherman's Blog
You’re missing “In the Chapel of Moloch” from the Crooked Man.
You’re absolutely right. Fixed now. Thanks for catching that.
Where would you say the Koschei the Deathless miniseries comes in?
Also thanks for this list btw, been great fun reading this series like this.
Thanks! I created it for myself for the same reason but I’m delighted how many people find it useful.
I’m in the middle of Koschei the Deathless so I haven’t settled on chronology yet. Soon as I finish, I’ll add it.
Added Koshchei though I can’t set his bio any more precisely than “medieval Russia.”
Pingback: From the Stone Age to mystic Russia to the future: books and graphic novels | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: Baffling popularity | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Hey, nice list, some corrections tho:
The non-flashback part of the Omnibus version of Ichtyo Sapien takes place at the start of TDYK Pandemonium, in chapter/issue 2 to be precise, you can even see the same moment in both, just from a different angle (Abe coming out of the water to see Liz and Howards with graves in the background and Liz saying “There he is”) The flashback part (that I think you should include bc is where most of the story actually takes place) takes place in 1854
You are also missing the Abe short story “The Calm Before the Storm” which is also exclusive to the Omnibus, It’s about Caul getting in the victorian diving suit to get the Heart of the Sea (or whatever it’s called, the thing that turns him into Abe) that one takes place in 1865
Wow. I switched from individual issues to trades because of the extra stories they often included. I didn’t realize they’d done the same with the omnibus editions.Thanks for the info, I’ll incorporate it as soon as I get a spare minute.
Added Calm Before the Storm which is up online as well. Will need to adjust more stuff than I thought to bring Ichthyo Sapien into its correct position.
This is great and well done on compiling it so well! Maybe you can help me try and figure out a problem. I was doing something similar myself but really ran into a few dating issues after King of Fear as well. It seems like MM and JA might have messed up their own dates when writing the longer series including the gaps between the issues when original published but when read in chronological order there is definitely less time between stories then they believe there are. I’m only going off of the TPBs and some info about the omnibus’s. For instance, we know Black Flame and the War on Frogs (when put into the recommended reading order the Omnibus is in) take place in 2005 to 2006. The epilogue is dated June 2006. In Garden of Souls Abe writes a letter dated 16th August 2006. In Killing Ground Johann (in his super human body from GOS) is surprised to see snow in September which places it a few weeks after GOS. The Warning, Black Goddess and King of Fear take places not long after each other but what’s most interesting is that in Hell on Earth: New World a reporter mentions how the BPRD defeated the beast in Nebraska a year ago. This event took place during The Black Flame which we know is dated 2006 that would make The New World set in 2007. Hellboy: The Storm and The Fury and BPRD Gods and Monsters are happening at the same time as indicated by the news report about storms in England during Monsters so i’m unsure how there could be 3 years between them. Kate makes her way to England in BPRD Russia which must not be long after The Fury. Also in Gods when telling one of the drifters about Fenix, Jorge says they were in Houston two weeks ago and Fenix made them leave to go north, Huston was then destroyed by a volcano which is shown happening live in New World. When I was trying to write this all up myself, I really couldn’t stretch Gods as Monsters happening any earlier than 2008 but of course inside the front cover we’re told Abe was shot in 2011. I remember Abe also mentioning (I think in New World) it’s been 15 years since Seed of Destruction but between New World and War on Frogs I just can’t find where those few extra years fit. Also Hellboy in Hell: The Decent happens (it sure reads like it) almost immediately after The Storm and The Fury so any reason why it’s here as happening in 2013 and not 2009 (as you have it dated). It seemed to be going smoothly until King of Fear/New World. It’s interesting reading them one after another in order but this lockdown has given me far too much time to look into it haha.
This is a common comic book problem, but usually it’s fixable. You have the X-Men or the JLA in a 10-issue arc that only takes up a week of time from their perspective? Fine, just assume they spent the rest of that period on ordinary adventures nobody got around to telling readers about.
But as you point out, there really doesn’t seem to be much down time between issues in the apocalyptic later period. That led me to assume everything was happening fairly quickly; based on the dates we did have I thought it most likely that several years of stories took place in much less time within the Hellboyverse, so the timeline of events was lagging years behind ours.
Since I made that decision, I’ve seen stories with dates that show the timeline can’t be compressed that much. So yes, the timeline is a bit of a mess. I haven’t figured out a perfect solution yet. On the plus side, the world ended so I guess that simplifies future work.
The world ending is a deal breaker all right! but it’s been fun to re-read and rebuild my reading order while also using yours so it’s great to have your one here! I know they put out a ‘official timeline’ a couple of years back but even that skipped over so many of the stories it also didn’t make sense. the Hellboyverse is the only comic series I’ve read that can be given a clear story structure especially towards the end when the Abe Sapian series flows alongside BPRD. I think it was in The Garden (III) or Shadow over Suwanee that mentions Johann is returning from Japan after his B.P.R.D story The Broken Equation so it is great how, outside of dating them, they do work very well with each other. I found that after The New World I ignored giving them dates apart for when it’s mentioned in story (it seems Abe is the key to this as a few times over the series he’s said “it was fifteen years ago” and even later “it was almost 20 years ago” so those stories are easy to work out but not worrying about dates for the others takes the pressure off. I do find it interesting that almost every BPRD book after king of fear at least once per tpb mentions the passing of time with a causal line such as “the attack last month” or “last week this happened” and I even remember Kates trip to Russia coming up as happening “next month” in the preceding book so that’s still something. Now that the modern stories are finished it’ll be good to go back to earlier dated stuff when the new Sarah Jewel and Young Hellboy tpbs come out…and of course we still have more Hellboy and The BPRD on the way, dates and all. It’s good talking to a fellow Hellboy chronologer so thanks for the reply and stay safe out there, I wouldn’t be surprised if an Ogdru Hem spurted out of the ground as the final act of this pandemic!
It is indeed a great deal simpler to track the retcon stuff. And it’s nice to see the days when Hellboy could just run around and punch things with his big stone hand.
Finally reading the stories from the 60s can’t wait till all the omnibus are out and I can sit down read this list from start to finish.
Thanks for keeping the list up to date.
My pleasure. I wish my library had the omnibuses as they do contain some extra material… but they don’t.
have you considered updating this to include young Hellboy the hidden land? I have not read it yet so I don’t know how important it is.
Importance is not an issue with me. I’ll put it in but as I don’t do the single issues any more (not since they started putting extra material in the TPBs) it’ll have to wait until the collected edition comes out next month.
Pingback: Assorted graphic novels I’ve read recently, plus a book | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Thanks so much for this list! I’ve just finished reading ALL of it over the course of a month or so, thanks to Hoopla/my local public library. The vast majority of it is available in omnibuses, which makes access easy, but jumping around a bit of a pain. The last BPRD omnibus before The Devil You Know omnibus shuffles some stories around, but since they all take place in 2015, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. Reading it this way was such a fun way to watch the world unfold, thanks for putting the work in. I really enjoyed all of it (except for some of that later Abe Sapien spin-off stuff… I struggled a bit to remain interested) and I’m so curious to see where the world goes! I cheated a bit and read the Edward Gray: Acheron one-off; can’t wait for more Mignola art!
Glad you found it useful — as noted up top, that’s exactly why I made this list.
Pingback: Well everyone else is blogging about their 2022 stats, so … | Fraser Sherman's Blog
Pingback: The Hellboy-verse and other comic-book settings | Fraser Sherman's Blog