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New Hellboy Special Traps You In The '90s With A Child-Eating Cat? - Exclusive

The world of "Hellboy" is getting a new winter special where creator Mike Mignola's iconic character will be dealing with the deadly, child-eating ... Yule Cat. Yes, you read that right. 

Hellboy debuted at Dark Horse Comics more than 30 years ago, with the half-demon starring in many fantastical comic books since. The devilish agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) has had his adventures with the supernatural adapted for the big screen in Guillermo Del Toro's "Hellboy" films, where Ron Perlman portrayed the titular character, as well as director Neil Marshall's recent live-action reboot starring David Harbour.

However, a recurring theme that hasn't yet made its way beyond the comics is Hellboy's Winter Specials, one-shot stories set in the cold winter that Dark Horse has been publishing since 2016. For this year's special, Mignola is teaming up with artist Matt Smith ("Jim Henson's The Storyteller Fairies") for a new tale that has Hellboy traveling to Iceland to take on a giant cat. The furry feline refuses to play nice, as it has a penchant for eating children, which, of course, puts it in direct conflict with our hero.

Hellboy takes on a massive feline foe

"Hellboy Winter Special: The Yule Cat" #1 by Mike Mignola, Matt Smith, Chris O'Halloran, and Clem Robbins will see Hellboy visit Iceland, which is no stranger to having its own supernatural creatures, for the first time in 1990. He will take a trip to Reykjavik, where the disappearance of children is being linked to a giant cat beast. The feline is inspired by Jólakötturinn, the Yule Cat of Icelandic folklore, with the creature sitting atop its mountain perch and coming down to the cities below to feed on humans.

Smith, who created, wrote, and illustrated the story, expressed excitement about diving into the Icelandic setting for the comic, saying it's a great setting for a Hellboy adventure. He also teased the conflict between Hellboy and the Nordic Yule Cat, saying, "I've made no secret about my love for the Icelandic Sagas. They're at the heart of Barbarian Lord, my first foray into comics." Smith also promises that the tone is ideal for a Hellboy comic. "It makes sense that Hellboy would go there. Something would pull him there eventually. The epic landscapes, the trolls, and the fantastic history — it's all a fitting backdrop for our man. Then there's this cat. It's big, it's mean. It's not going to like Hellboy treading on its grounds, and the hard feelings will be mutual."

Smith further shared that the comic takes place close to the events of the 2021 miniseries he illustrated, "Hellboy: Bones of Giants," saying, "Hellboy likely hasn't forgotten about the wrath of old Norse giants. But a giant, child-eating cat — that would be something new."

Hellboy's Yule Cat adventures are coming soon

In addition to story details, Looper also has the first look at the covers for "Hellboy Winter Special: The Yule Cat" #1. The main cover, from Matt Smith and Chris O'Halloran, features Hellboy walking through the snowy terrain with the Yule Cat trailing right behind him. The image shows off the supernatural feline foe's massive size, which towers over Hellboy.

Describing Smith's work on the project, Mignola assures fans the art is great," adding, "I have been very fortunate to have him working on Hellboy and thrilled that he came up with a story of his own, especially a holiday story about a monster cat! Merry Christmas to me and to everybody who loves this kind of thing. He does it so well."

Of course, it wouldn't be a Hellboy winter special without a cover by Mignola, and we have the exclusive first look at that as well. The variant features the iconic comic book creator's trademark style, with Hellboy and the Yule Cat sharing the spotlight. Check out the variant cover and the accompanying text information for the issue.

Hellboy Winter Special: The Yule Cat marks Hellboy's first visit to Iceland in the character's 30+ year years of publication. In the one-shot, Hellboy travels to Reykjavik, where children are disappearing and a giant beast has been spotted...could it be the infamous Yule Cat of Icelandic lore?

"Hellboy Winter Special: The Yule Cat" #1 is scheduled to land in comic book shops and online retailers on December 6, 2023. If you're looking for a chilling story as a holiday gift, the special should appease both Hellboy and horror fans. It might also be perfect for the cat-lover in your life — as long as they don't mind a dark and murderous twist in their reading material.