(originally written in 2014)

it came out in june, i think, 2004.  

the eric so ‘hong kong’ hellboy.  all limbs and belly.  long coat, tail through the back.  

belt.  holster.  the good samaritan. 

11 inches.  limited to 999 pieces.  world wide.

all signed by so and mike mignella.  certificate of authenticity.

i knew it was coming.  had the cash.  

but i missed it.  and i regret it.  still.

i was all nara back then.  lonesome pup.  smoking little girls.  vinyls.  and viewfinders.

i was traveling.  picking up pieces when i could.

i remember coveting a burton stick boy and match girl set. 

and buying a tiny little nara pup in a cup – the big one out of my price range. 

i remember the kozak dunnies.  and how much i wanted one.

i remember picking up a couple of  monskey.  ozzie bozz.  sunn-eye.  

(before they were keychained.  cheap box vinyls.)

and i remember hearing about the eric so hellboy.

i knew of so.  from his bruce lee figures.  70’s style.  super cool.

i wanted one of his hellboys.  more than a full sized nara.  more than a kozak dunny.  

i loved hellboy.  

but i didn’t read the graphic novels.  not dutifully.

i heard of hellboy from the dark horse presents annual.  august 1999.  

a 2 page story.  pancakes.  

still my favorite hellboy piece.  by far.  

i was working in a bookstore in 1999.  

an old fashioned literary shop.  full of poetry.  and pulitzer prize winners.  the whole front of the store featured the lamenters.  the brooders.  those in deep thought.

now it’s all baby toys.  clothes.  to the right.  and new releases.  board games.  to the left.

the literature section has dwindled.  duking for space with the t-shirts.  kitchen supplies.  

and calendars.

they steered away from the mainstream in those days.  always looking for the new.  

and cool.  

outside of the greeting cards and magazines – the store was completely full of books.

we had a culture section.  a poetry section.  a drama section.  and a graphic novel section. all in the same alcove.

dark horse was a good fit.  founded by a comic book store owner.  focused on creator owned properties. 

we carried the dark horse presents annuals.  the staff flipped through them in the lunch room.

and that’s where i read pancake for the first time.

it featured a young hellboy.  called into breakfast.  he wants noodles.  but gets pancakes.

he says he doesn’t like them, until he tries them…  turns out hellboy loves pancakes.  the demons in hell are defeated – now that hellboy has eaten pancakes, they say he will never return to them.

it was a simple, two page spread.  black and white.   

i’m not sure what it was about that piece – but i was hooked.  maybe it was hellboy with his puppy in one of the first panels.  maybe it was the pancakes.  i’m just not sure.

it’s been reprinted a couple of times, as far as i know.  in 2000.   colored.  in hellboy vol. 4 right hand of doom.  and again in the hellboy library edition the art of hellboy. 

the eric so hellboy was something i wanted.  and i’m not sure why i never bought it.  i think it was around 150 bucks then.  

(the tiny nara pup was $80 and could fit, easily in the palm of your hand.)

i look, sometimes, on vinyl sites and ebay to see if someone is selling theirs.

i’ve seen it as low as 575 – but the box was damaged and there was not a signed card –

and as high as 1200.

i don’t collect vinyls anymore.  not really.

my place is full of books.  now.  art.

mostly inuit.  high arctic sculpture carved from stone.  prints, still done by hand.   

sometimes i imagine what it might be like to have that hong kong hellboy next to the shamen, the spirit helpers…

maybe i’ll settle for a sin city marv.  eric so’s latest dark horse collaboration.

brooding thug.  bandages supplied.  in real need of a healer.

an update:

it seems not a lot has changed since 2014-15.

i still don’t have the eric so hellboy. and i still don’t have the eric so marv. sigh.

i do have a dark horse hellboy, though. sitting on a shelf. with a tupilak.

the perfect combination to ward off any evil coming my way…

(oh. and i have a gallery now. where inuit art and vinyls rest comfortably together.)