This week marks the release of the Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club One-Shot.
Seven Wives Club is Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes followup to their 2017 Eisner Award-winning one-shot, Hellboy: Krampusnacht. The duo is once again also joined here by letterer Clem Robins. This story sees Hellboy helping a young girl whose ghost hunt has gone wrong, in the process landing in an abandoned medical school that might be haunted by a long-ago murder (it’s definitely haunted by a long-ago murder).
And today The Beat has a brief interview about Seven Wives Club with Adam Hughes…enjoy!
ZACK QUAINTANCE: Hi Adam, welcome back to Hellboy! What was it like on your end returning to the character and working with Mike Mignola again?
ADAM HUGHES: Thank you very much for having me back, Interview Person!
What was it like? It was a goddamned nightmare. I’m not gonna lie to you. It’s tough for me to work with one of my favorite creators ever, on my favorite comic. If you manage to acquit yourself without too much shame, you can just slither back to your own corner of the medium.
But noooooo….! You win an award, and then you kinda HAVE to do a follow-up, and it’s allllll performance anxiety from that moment on. I don’t know about YOU, but every time *I* win a major award––hashtag HUMBLEBRAG––I’m just the Emotional Wreck of the Hesperus on any subsequent work in that particular area. I struggled with every panel of “The Seven Wives Club.” If I was drawing Pauline’s left shoe, I’d obsess: “but is it an AWARD-WINNING drawing of a shoe…?” Pure agony.
Drawing all the Spanish moss was pleasant, though.
QUAINTANCE: Your last collaboration, Hellboy: Krampusnacht, won an Eisner and is also one of my personal favorite holiday-adjacent comics stories of all-time. What connection (if any) is there between that story and The Seven Wives Club?
HUGHES: None whatsoever. I pondered lying to you, and saying “Anyone who spots the three “Krampusnacht” Easter Eggs gets a free sketch!” but I’m emotionally exhausted from the week-long Election Night of 2020 and am in no mood for my trademark impishness.
QUAINTANCE: I’ve always found hospitals and medical schools to be really fertile ground for horror. How much does that setting play into this story?
HUGHES: Well…a LOT, I hope. It’s a haunted house story. I tried to fight my natural tendency to draw close-ups and medium shots by filling the first two thirds of the story with lots of wide shots of the creepy old medical school. I wanted everyone reading it to really feel the all-pervading crepuscular GLOOM. Also: old hospitals and medical schools are REALLY creepy! Were they BUILT haunted? Were they ever friendly and inviting, even on Opening Day? They just look like nightmare factories.
QUAINTANCE: Where does this story fit into the larger Hellboy narrative? Is it a period piece at all?
HUGHES: It IS a period piece. It takes place in the early 1990s. 1992 or 1994, I cannot recall which. I finished it in May and have not looked at it since.
Where does it fit in to the larger Hellboy narrative? Well, it takes place during Golden Age Hellboy, back when we all first met him. He’s a monster-hittin’ field agent for the B.P.R.D., back before all the Right Hand of Doom weight landed on him like a bag of wet cement. It’s when he ghost-busted all day or night, clocked out, then grabbed a couple burgers before getting back to the crappy motel he and his partner were forced to bunk in on the road. It’s merely one of those great ‘Monster of the Week’ tales that make Hellboy TPBs full of short stories such a joy to read. If Hellboy fans place it in their hearts somewhere near those great Richard Corben single stories, hey, I can die happy.
QUAINTANCE: Finally, I just have to ask…any chance you’ll be doing more Hellboy stories in the future?
HUGHES: That’s not really up to me. Ask Mignola and Dark Horse once their AH! bruises have healed. I mean, yeah, I COULD just draw my own Hellboy fan stories on the internet, because who DOESN’T want to see “Hellboy vs. the Surprisingly Buxom Medusa,” but that wouldn’t necessarily be cricket, would it?