Itty Bitty Hellboy
So, the key here is to try and get through this review with the bare minimal usage of the words cute and adorable. I plan to fail this test... miserably.
Itty Bitty Hellboy is that book that you didn't realize you wanted or needed, and after being pimp slapped by it, the absence of its presence becomes all too real. What is going on though? Things are going all ultra-chibi, ultra fast? Is this an attempt to drag the youngins back to the table? Because, honestly, forget them; I was all over this book like a toddler in a ball pit.
Visuals? Oh yeah, we have visuals. Artist/writer Art Baltazar and sidekick writing buddy Franco, manage to conjure up a ridiculously adorable universe that constantly tosses nods at the gritty Hellboy universe and manages to smother it in cuteness. Each story is rather brief, and honestly. the composition is more like the Sunday comics than a traditional comic book, and really, it works perfectly for flow. It makes each charming little story delightful and easily digestable.
Every page feels like crayola threw up something both cute and oddly deranged. Its like Dali decided to take a stab at the Care Bears or something, and... wow... actually that would be really cool. Anyways, no, the aesthetic cultivated but Baltazar is amusing to the core, and backgrounds, though a bit sparse, create a fantastic world that is oddly simple and rich at the same time.
In tone and pacing, its odd how duo Baltazar and Franco manage to dance about some of the base characterstics of famously gritty and and morose figures, and actually on some level invoke them, while cranking up their antics to sheer childish elation. Seriously, its odd. Johann neurotic nature lingers in the background each time before Itty Bitty HB and Liz convince him to do something childish and stupid time and time again.
Now, if you were looking for something serious, one glance at the cover should have been warning enough. This is a compilation of absurd amounts of adorableness, obviously aimed at a younger fan base, but much like Shrek, there are occasional nods to an older crowd if you have the patience to dig through the work.
In summation, yeah, this is aimed at the wee folk, but if you can man up and punch through the bright colors and gigantic cute eye balls, there is something in here for Hellboy Fans of all ages. Visually, its fantastic, and the narrative is fun and light, and oddly compiles into a relatively coherant narrative overall. It does a fantastic job of both admiring and mocking the Hellboy universe.
4 out of 5.