In an interview with Vulture, Mike Mignola reveals that his much-lauded Hellboy in Hell series will end with issue #10 which comes out early next year. And while he’ll remain busy with overseeing BPRD and other Hellboy-verse projects—and his Frankenstein Underground gn with art by Ben Stenbeck and Dave Stewart just dropped, he has no comics projects on the horizon. Which sounds a little sad until you hear what h does have in mind:

“It’s been at least 25 years since I finished something and I didn’t know what I was doing next — I’ve always had a project lined up,” says Mignola. “I’ve painted in the past, but I only average about one painting a year, and the last painting I did, I actually really liked. So I thought, Gee, if I do a bunch of paintings, maybe I’ll actually figure out what I’m doing instead of relearning every year. So I asked my wife, could I do this? Could I just take a year off and just paint? Of course, I can’t really take a year off — I am co-plotting B.P.R.D. and these various other books, but I’d like to take a year off from drawing any kind of comics, and just spend the bulk of a year doing color work. I’ve never taken a significant chunk of time to just do work essentially for myself. I have no idea where it’s gonna go, but it’s exciting. It’s what keeps me going. “

I for one would love to see a year of Mignola paintings. He’s reached a point in his career where he’s earned time to explore other facets of his creative spirit. 

On social media, the outcry has been “Is this the end of Hellboy?” Given that Mignola killed off his signature character and then went o to produce one of the greatest stores in his oeuvre—aided by the great color work of Dave Stewart as always—I wouldn’t write off the big red guy just yet. However it’s worth noting that Mignola has reached a very rare place in the American comics industry: the freedom to do what he wants, at least to some extent. I’m excited and happy for him.