Duncan Fegredo is re-teaming with Mike Mignola for Giant Robot Hellboy, a new three-issue miniseries with a title that should make most comics fans bug their eyes and say, “whoa.” (I know I did.)

And recently, Fegredo made some time to talk to us here at The Beat about the book. The first issue is out Wednesday, and while we’ll have more review coverage of it throughout the week, as you can see by the preview pages below — it’s very very good. Joining Fegredo and Mignola on the book are colorist Dave Stewart and letterer Clem Robins.

Check out our conversation with Duncan below, after the first issue cover!

Duncan Fegredo talks GIANT ROBOT HELLBOY

ZACK QUAINTANCE: Where did the original idea for Giant Robot Hellboy come from and how did you work together to shape it into this story?

DUNAN FEGREDO: Giant Robot Hellboy started life as one of many wonderful pencil sketches that Mike drew throughout the pandemic. It was both therapy for him and all of us. Those sketches provided a moment of levity each time he posted them on social media, and of course they were auctioned and the proceeds provided very real relief where it was needed. Giant Robot Hellboy obviously kept Mike entertained because he drew six or seven variations of the character. Short years later I guess he was still entertained by the idea, because when Mike suggested we collaborate on a new Hellboy one shot he suggested that Giant Robot Hellboy would be a fun half-issue story. I don’t recall what the other short stories might have been because Robot soon took over the whole issue, and it grew from there. Hellboy, waking to find himself captive in a huge robot version of himself, it’s irresistible, isn’t it?

Duncan Fegredo

ZACK: What made the 1960s the right decade for this?

DUNCAN: There is, as you probably know, a fairly elaborate timeline worked out for the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. books. This story has elements introduced in an earlier B.P.R.D. book set previous to this story, so it was a case of identifying a vacant slot in that timeline that wasn’t going to conflict with other existing events. Or, alternatively, Mike wanted to do a story with cool, leather clad spies, outrageously uniformed scientists, elaborate lairs and funky technology discarded by Jack Kirby!

ZACK: Were there any specific influences for the designs and aesthetics? Curious about everything from Giant Robot Hellboy to the lab to Jian’s suit?

DUNCAN: The robot was already pretty much designed, I just had to get my head around his mechanics, and dare to fiddle with Mike’s aesthetics. In short I saw fit to make him more complicated to draw, it’s just my way, no disrespect to Mike intended as I didn’t even realize I was really changing stuff until it was too late! I do feel the extra detail was necessary just to see the scale of the robot, it’s like the Star Destroyers in Star Wars, so many tiny details to drive a poor artist insane—but they look massive, so job done. The lab was very much a mashup up of a crappy old warehouse with a Kirby-esque makeover. Those computer consoles: it’s the 60s, give them futuristic yet boxy angles and a groovy elliptical screen, Kirby would! The scientists, at Mike’s suggestion, were inspired by Marvel’s A.I.M. I think Jian’s suit was also suggested by Mike, I figure it might be what Diana Rigg would have worn had she had a little more firepower.

Duncan Fegredo

ZACK: For lack of any smarter way to put this — did you have more fun on this one than other comics? I mean, there are mutant spiders, among so many other excellent visual things…

DUNCAN: That is kind of a loaded question… Yes, it has been fun to work out some of this crazy stuff but once you get past the planning stages, the nuts and bolts of how stuff happens, and how to make that work as a comic page you are left with the harsh realities of drawing it for real. I’m not saying that isn’t fun, it really can be, those moments where you’ve struggled with a figure, wrestled with what the heck all eight spider legs are doing and it comes together, it actually works, that is great. But multiplied up by panels and pages, it’s a lot of work, a lot of grind. And that’s okay, that is the job. It’s all worth it if the reader is moved to laugh, to be excited. That is the best, it’s why I chose to do comics in the first place, I loved the way they moved me and I wanted to do that for other readers to get excited by. I’m lucky that working with Mike on Hellboy has given me that. But the same applies for all comics, it is always the aim… Even Ultimate Adventures, though it didn’t deserve it!

ZACK: Finally, it’s a kaiju comic so I feel like I have to ask — what if anything can you say about other monsters that might be coming? We don’t see them all in the first issue, right?

DUNCAN: I can say that I recognise you had to ask. No, we don’t see them all in the first issue. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to put spoilers on the cover if I could help it but there is a heavy clue on the second cover that has been released. In fact that cover was a lot more crowded originally but I redesigned it to hold back a few surprises. As it is I’m pleased with the more iconic images, I’m happy I showed a little restraint, it’s so unlike me!

Duncan Fegredo

Giant Robot Hellboy #1 is out October 25!