Mike Mignola’s “Hellboy Into the Silent Sea” Studio Edition is a glorious, oversized deluxe treatment showcasing Gianni’s original artwork in an exquisite hardcover book. The 144-page collection includes revealing commentary regarding how two legendary comic-book creators seamlessly developed the Hellboy sea saga from the core of an idea into a finished work of art. The combined talents of Mignola and Gianni are on display as the reader follows along the path of the creative process: The script, preliminary roughs, reference photos, completed pencil drawings and finished inks are all shared and discussed. The pencil drawings, many of which have never been seen before by the public, provide insight not only for the student but also for any fan who enjoys lavishly reproduced comic art.

Presenting a detailed look at Gianni’s process of creating Hellboy: Into The Silent Sea through roughs, pencils and inks. Plus The MonsterMen, which should not be overlooked. All in a very satisfying package; let’s hope this Studio Edition is the first of many from Flesk.

For fans of the AE format, Flesk’s Studio Edition does things differently. Two different ways, in fact. The main story is shown with roughs, pencils and notes on the first two pages followed by the inks on the next two pages. And so on. MonsterMen shows the roughs or pencils on the left and the inks on the right.

Scans are clear and without visual issues. The inked Hellboy pages are very clean, with very few notes or corrections. We get a lot of that on the roughs and pencils, along with Gianni’s notes. The MonsterMen inked pages do show some corrections with correction fluid or paste-ups, along with the occasional uninked pencil. We’re treated to some colour with the same attention paid to the cover images. The inked pages are all off white with no signs of ageing. The pencils appear to be tan, but not sure if that’s the paper or a design element. Gianni notes early on that he lightboxed the inks from the pencilled pages, and both were 12″ x 18″.

The design is striking and effective, with Gianni and John Fleskes credited. Gianni’s notes with a background colour give them emphasis, as do the consistent placement. The design or layout page or pages are well presented, and the single panel enlargement at the bottom is a nice touch. Including reference material with the notes is sheer genius. Page numbers are appreciated, but no Table Of Contents. Title page, frontispiece, colophon and dividers are all black and white with crisp art enlargements. Always enjoy a cloth spine.

Production is outstanding. Extremely heavy matte paper stock in a sewn binding. Pages lay mostly flat after smoothing the center. No shrinkwrap or box adorns this beauty.

The only way to improve this book would be to have it at original art size, as Gianni’s work is quite detailed. Unfortunately, Fleskes has told me on multiple occasions he’s not interested in producing books at original art size. Pricing is key to moving material and $50 for this 10″ x 13″ volume is a steal.

I’m late to the party with this review. The booked was first done through Kickstarter and then sold through Diamond to local comic shops, but it’s long sold out from Diamond and Flesk. Your best bet at this point is to either buy from eBay or scour comic shops.