Upper Deck Entertainment, in association with Dark Horse Comics, has announced plans to add Mike Mignola's Hellboy to UDE's Vs. System superhero CCG portfolio.  UDE's Hellboy release, which should be out early in 2007, will be the first in its new Essential Collection line and it will be an all-in-one, playable-right-out-of-the-box package consisting of two 60-card decks (a B.P.R.D. deck and a THULE Society deck), two Hellboy-themed Endurance Trackers, one rulebook and one lithograph (of which 100 will be signed by Mike Mignola and randomly inserted). 


Dan Bojanowski, Upper Deck's brand manager for the Vs. System, told ICv2 that the Hellboy release would be the first in a series of Essential Collections and that UDE was looking at other independent comic book characters, as well as at Marvel and DC characters that haven't already received exposure in the Vs. System, as potential candidates for the next Essential Collection.


The Hellboy Essential Collection (MSRP $29.99) will come packaged in a deluxe 2-part case (described as a folding box much like those used in the Extended Editions of the Lord of the Rings DVDs), which will contain the two decks in two UDeck plastic storage cases. 


The cards will feature original artwork by Mike Mignola plus new art from artists suggested by Mignola as well as some classic images from the Hellboy comics and graphic novels. 


Upper Deck chose the two-deck format rather than the traditional deck-and-booster pack configuration in order to make the game more 'new player friendly' and to appeal to the fans of the Hellboy graphic novels (and movie) who might not have tried any of the Vs. System CCGs.  The Hellboy Essential Collection is easy to play right out of the box and Hellboy fans will enjoy the 'Rasputin vs. Hellboy' two-player competitions -- and since this is part of the Vs. System, they will be able to match Hellboy against various Marvel and DC superheroes in contests with their friends. 


Matt Hyra, who designed the Hellboy Essential Collection, told ICv2 that he 'took great care to include all the most important characters and many of the fascinating minor players in the Hellboy saga.'  The set allows players to use the new game's two tournament legal decks to recreate the Hellboy comic's dark storylines and pit Hellboy against a variety of villains including Nazis, sorcerers, hollow earth explorers and werewolves.