Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: Abe Sapien

Here’s what I love about Abe: for a guy who can sometimes appear more fish than man, he is really relatable to the reader.  As I’ve just about finished up my load of books for April (Just the original zombie anthology, 1989s The Book of the Dead to go), I finally have some time to catch up on some magazines and comics before I start reading my next eight books for May (Most excited about The Keep by F. Paul Wilson, and To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis), which means I get to catch up with the Hellboy Universe.
Since I read my last few Hellboy trades there are actually four I haven’t touched: Hellboy vol. 12: The Storm and the Fury, BPRD: Hell On Earth vol. 2: Gods and Monsters, Edward Grey: Witchfinder vol. 2: Lost and Gone Forever and Abe Sapien vol. 2: The Devil Does not Jest which is the one I’m currently most excited about.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Hellboy Universe, Abe is a member of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence (BPRD), and is also a sort of bizarre amphibian or fish-man (scientifically classified as Icthyo Sapien) who lives naturally underwater but can survive in open air for a limited time (longer with a re-breather).  Found in a state of suspended animation in 1978 in a hidden laboratory beneath a hospital in Washington, D.C. his name comes from a date written on a slip of paper attached to his tube (April 14, 1865, which was the date of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln) hence, Abe and Sapien from the scientific classification.
Abe’s history before he was discovered is shrouded in mystery (actually it is explained but as that is a pretty major spoiler you’ll either have to get reading the series or cheat and look at Wikipedia), and in addition to his amphibious nature he is also telepathic and can perform psychometry (reading a psychic history from a physical object).  For me, it is Abe’s search to understand and better himself that appeals the most.

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