There are many brilliant comic book stories out there, written by so many wonderful writers accompanied by beautiful artistry and coloured with a multi-layered depth; it’s those elements that make Midnight Circus one of the most memorable stories I have read to date. The first time I read Midnight Circus, I was in so much awe; I couldn’t believe what I had just read. Mike Mignola has created a wonderful character with Hellboy, and while he is an intriguing character as an adult, seeing his vulnerability and curiosity as a child is just as entrancing to read; it’s one of the reasons this story stands out.
Midnight Circus is such an appealing story because of the fact that it mirrors childhood as well as incorporating the dark tale that is Pinocchio.
Midnight Circus is a very thought out story with a natural progression, nothing feels forced, rushed or stale. Even though Mignola melted the story of Pinocchio into his own creation, it felt like a unique and fresh spin on the fairytale, while keeping the core and darkness of the original story very much intact. An element that stood out for me was the development of Hellboy from the beginning of Midnight Circus right up until the end. During the first few pages it is clear how alone he feels, and with each moment that passes that he is at the circus, you can actually see and feel that Hellboy is realising what is really important, and part of his childhood naivety dies by the end of the story.
For most of my life I just read about superheroes fighting off a colourful list of rogues and trying to make a scummy, bleak city, just a little nicer to live in. And I will always love the good vs evil side of storytelling, but Mike Mignola’s Hellboy brought a character and an entire universe so unique and unlike anything before that it stands out to me and brings out more emotions in me than my favourite superheroes ever did. Mignola’s has a gift to make something so mystical and supernatural and put a human core to it so as readers we can relate. His stories and characters are not so outlandish it makes you read it and think “What the hell is this?”. He melts light and dark into his mixing pot of arcs, colours, artwork, emotions and characterisation and in doing so, you will feel something you haven’t before.
Being shown Midnight Circus for the first time five months ago, changed my life. You may think “So how the hell can a comic book change your life?”, well I will let you in on that. Midnight Circus expanded my mind and made me see comics as a whole, in a completely different light. It made me more aware of what was out there and my experience with comics has been the best I have had in the 22 years that I have been reading them. Mike Mignola is the only writer to really get into my head and heart and make me cry at the sheer depth and emotion of the character that is Hellboy. Mignola managed to open up my emotions and let my guard down with his honest writing and make me feel something I hadn’t ever experienced. And when feeling completely free reading Midnight Circus I thought to myself “This is what storytelling is really about”. Mignola has written Hellboy in a way that makes you work to understand his characters, it’s about piecing it all together, so by the end of a story arc you feel more fulfilled, if not accomplished that you took that time to understand everything that was on offer to you.
I will never forget the emotions that ran through me the night I was given Midnight Circus to read, so I could never thank Mike Mignola enough for creating something so unique, exceptional, and overall life-changing.