New comic books to know: ‘Hellboy,’ ‘The Flintstones,’ ‘Black Hammer’ and more

Comic book movies are all the rage, but it still seems like people are hesitant to pick up actual comic books. Here are a few recent releases that are well worth your attention.

‘Fun: Spies, Puzzle Solvers, and a Century of Crosswords’

By Paolo Bacilieri

Bacilieri mixes the history of the crossword puzzle with a narrative about a writer working on a book about the same topic. The history is interesting, the fictional part is a bit meandering and random at times, but it’s really the art here that will awe you, with luscious cityscapes and intricate renderings of New York City. (SelfMadeHero, $24.95)

‘Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea’

By Mike Mignola and Gary Gianni

With the news of a rebooted “Hellboy” movie announced, now’s a good time to revisit the character with this beautifully drawn paranormal story, which has Hellboy trapped on a mysterious ship, complete with all the monsters you’ve come to expect from the series. Gianni’s artwork is a real treat here, with his delicate line work bring a haunting quality to the book. (Dark Horse Comics, $14.99)

‘The Flintstones Vol. 1’

By Mark Russell and Steve Pugh

Perhaps the most surprisingly excellent comic of the year is this new adaptation — re-imagining, really — of the classic cartoon series. Writer Russell and artist Pugh deliver a timely and biting social satire. The second volume comes out in October, and trust me, you’re going to want that, too. (DC Comics, $16.99)

‘Black Hammer Vol. 1: Secret Origins’

By Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston

A lot of people will talk about Lemire’s other new graphic novel, “Roughneck,” but this superhero mystery about a team of heroes trapped in a small town is a fascinating riff on classic comic book tropes. Honestly though, you really can’t go wrong with anything Lemire writes. (Dark Horse Comics, $14.99)

‘The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History’

By Hope Nicholson

OK, this technically is not a graphic novel, but it’s as tangentially related as you can get. Nicholson goes decade by decade from the 1930s through today, looking at trends and some of the unique characters, both well known and obscure, from each period. Even if you think yourself well-versed in comic lore, there is a lot to learn here, and you’ll be putting together a long list of new comics to read as you work your way through the book. (Quirk Books, $24.95)