Comic Book Review – Hellboy – Krampusnacht (Dec 2017)

Hellboy Krampusnacht One Shot (December 2017)

Written by Mike Mignola

Drawn by Adam Hughes

Austria 1975

Hellboy is seen in the woods of a village when he is stopped by an apparition of a woman in white pleading with him to “save her boy”. Hellboy is walking towards a house when the occupant, William Schulze, asks Hellboy to come inside. William wants Hellboy to stay for dinner but Hellboy wants to know what happened at church. William was witnessed levitating objects as churchgoers ran from the building in fear. This act was a ploy to gain Hellboy’s attention, especially after Father Muller told Hellboy that William believes himself to be Krampus.

Hellboy is not convinced at William’s remark, until William gives him a skull. Hellboy experiences a memory of little Gottfried Huber from Salzburg from 1832, a victim of Krampus. After Hellboy returns to his senses, William has transformed into Krampus. Krampus has endured hundreds and hundreds of years trapped on Earth and wishes to die to return to Hell. Hellboy shoots the monster with the Samaritan but does no damage. Krampus wishes to die by Hellboy’s Right Hand of Doom.

Hellboy and Krampus fight throughout the house as the monster keeps asking Hellboy to kill him. As the battle rages, the fight causes damage to the house, revealing more hidden skulls. Krampus has the upper hand and is choking the life from Hellboy, when Hellboy has another vision – decrepit, little skeleton children apologizing for their misbehavior. One of the children gives Hellboy a knife. Hellboy, with all his might, stabs Krampus with the knife, as the house shakes violently, its contents of bones starting to rattle, as Krampus loses power and turns back into a goat.

Three days later at BPRD headquarters on Christmas day, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm and Hellboy are discussing the incident in Austria, musing on the true origins of Krampus. Is the monster just a demon goat of witches done up in fancy dress for the holidays? Or is he the Scandinavian Yule Goat Joulupukki, the Pre-Christian goat man version of Father Christmas? Or could it have been a magic talking goat who forgot he was a goat and thought it was a Prince of Hell that wanted to go back to Hell but still only a goat?

It could be all or none of the above mentioned reasonings, but the Professor commends Hellboy for his actions as all the children will receive proper burial and finally rest in peace. We learn that Hellboy, before leaving Austria, buried the goat so Krampus cannot return to wreak havoc on any more children.

I was unaware of Krampus until the legend made the leap to the big screen in 2015 by famed director Michael Dougherty. Some background– “The night before the Feast of St. Nicholas, December 5th is officially Krampusnacht, the night when the horned helper to Saint Nicholas collected all the naughty children. Either with a stern spanking from his birch switch or carting them off in the basket on his back, the threat of a visit from Krampus was often enough to keep little ones in line during the holidays.”

Back to Hellboy, this may come as a shock to those that read my reviews, but I must confess: this was my first foray into the world of Hellboy. I don’t know what took me so long to dip my toe into this universe, but I will definitely be going back to the well for more.

For $3.99 you get the main story plus some pinups dubbed ‘Christmas Memories’ which are both heartwarming and funny and bonus sketches of Adam Hughes’ art. After finishing the main story my sole thought is this – Is Krampus really dead? Can a legend ever truly be destroyed?

This would make a great stocking stuffer for those friends or family that love horror with their holidays.

Up Next- Hellboy Winter Special 2018- Release Date December 12th, 2018 –  Three wintery tales featuring a Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck team-up.  A New Year’s Eve seance goes wrong when Hellboy visits a family’s English home, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba revisit B.P.R.D.: Vampire with a new tie-in story, and Tonci Zonjic returns to write and draw Lobster Johnson