That is until The Crooked Man.
In 1956, somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia, Hellboy encounters Tom, a man who in his youth sold his sold to a backwoods demon known as the Crooked Man. Together they travel back into the dark heart of the Appalachian Mountains to confront that demon and see if Tom's soul can't be saved.Maybe it got to me because this was the first supernatural Hellboy story that took place in the United States, you know, close to home. It could have been because of its location in the mountains. That is kinda freaky since I live so close to the mountains. It also could be that it had to do with demons, and that can be very real to me. There are a ton of reasons, watching a witch slip into a human skin, the Mellingeon Witches (which are the settlers that disappeared at Roanoke which mixed in with the Croatan Indians) who follow and call for them while they hike to find the Crooked Man and the tense stand-off between the Crooked Man and his followers and Tom, Hellboy and a priest in a church.
While all that can be downright spooky, that is not what makes this story so spine-chilling.
I'll never EVER go hiking in the Appalachian Mountains.
What really got me was the creepy art by legend Richard Corben. His interpretation and first appearance of the Crooked Man is what gave me a huge case of the willies.
This fantastically creepy story is now my all-time favorite Hellboy stories. If you like to be frightened and haunted by something odd and unsettling, this book is for you. I won't give away any more details or what happens to Tom. You'll just have to read it for yourself.