Ask me why I love comics, and there are lots of answers. Writing, art, characters, an unhealthy obsession that goes back over 20 years, etc. Every once in a while though, a book comes along that becomes the answer to that question all by itself. Hellboy/Beasts of Burden: Sacrifice is why I love comics.
I'm going to go ahead and assume that at this point, pretty much all of you know who/what Hellboy is, and pretty much none of you know anything about Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson's Beasts of Burden. I really can't recommend reading Beasts of Burden for yourself enough, it's absolutely wonderful, but the short version is, Beasts of Burden are a group of cats and dogs who belong to the Wise Dog Society, sworn to protect the small town of Burden Hill and it's human inhabitants from paranormal threats. It may sound childish and not all that exciting, but believe me when I tell you that there are a LOT of comics that I would stop reading long before I would this one.
As you may have surmised from the title, Sacrifice teams the Beasts with Hellboy to look into some mysterious cat disappearances. Three bodies have been found, apparently killed in some sort of sacrificial ritual, outside a strange tunnel deep in the woods. Of course once they get inside they find more than they bargained for, and are in desparate need Hellboy's assistance after discovering that the ritual was an attempt to revive a certain zombie priest that they'd dealt with in the past. Twice.
The thing that makes Beasts of Burden so great is that it would make a great children's book if it weren't so damn creepy. The writing is absolutely brilliant, somehow managing to have a light tone to it even when dealing with such dark and disturbing subject matter. The same can be said for Jill Thompson's beautiful painted artwork. The beasts themselves all have their own personalities and mannerisms, and it comes across flawlessly in her art, the colors are bright and cheerful and at the same time filled with blood, creatures, and all sorts of creepy imagery.
My love affair with all things Hellboy is well documented here in the Batcave, so I'm not going to bore you yet again by gushing about how much I love Mike Mignola's little hellraiser. I will say that Sacrifice did the character plenty of justice, but that was to be expected being that Mike co-wrote the book. In fact this team-up comic managed to do what few can, it felt like both a Hellboy comic and a Beasts of Burden comic.
Do yourself a favor and see if your comic shop has any of this book on the shelf, and if not ask them to order it for you. If you like what you see, and you should, give the rest of Beasts of Burden a shot. I love it, and we all know I only like things that are awesome. Plus the only way I will get more Beasts of Burden to read myself is if it sells well, and I want more, so go buy it!