“Hellboy” and “Lobster Johnson” are two of Mike Mignola’s creations that have legions of fans. It’s pretty rare that these two ever meet in any capacity. The most recent meeting is “Hellboy VS Lobster Johnson: The Ring of Death” with writer Chris Roberson and art by Mike Norton and Dave Stewart and it is downright hilarious.
Hellboy and Victor Koestler decide to watch some late-night TV and the movie where Hellboy stared in called “Lobster Johnson and the Ring of Death” comes on. It’s one of those Mexican luchador movies where a good luchador battles a bad luchador. In this case, Lobster Johnson is good and Hellbot is bad.
This story is so ridiculous, so out there hilarious that it must be seen to believe. In fact, it gets the whole luchador movie motif down to the T. The masks, capes and even the plastic bats on the obvious strings are all here to see. Oh, and let’s not forget a wrestling ring appears out of nowhere for the final battle. It makes no sense, but it’ still enjoyable.
The art is amazing here. It takes the 1960’s luchador movie style and gives it a “Hellboy” feel. The Lobster looks like those big, brawny 1960s luchadores with the long, flowy cape and they gave Hellboy a long beard and henchmen wearing skull costumes and masks. Norton and Stewart really captured the essence of these movies.
There’s also “Down Mexico Way,” with artists Paul Grist and Bill Crabtree. It’s a “behind the scenes” of “Lobster Johnson and the Ring of Death” where Hellboy is doing his scenes drunk. That’s really the entire four-page comic. This is more of an “oh Hellboy” moment than an actual story. It’s really up to the reader to like this or not. The artwork is much lower quality than the main story which is a bummer.
“Hellboy VS Lobster Johnson: The Ring of Death” has an amazing story that’s an homage to luchador movies with great humor and art while the “behind the scenes” story feels a bit lackluster.