This is a big month for Hellboy. There’s a new movie out, which reviews aside has gotten people talking about the character. Also, the storyline driving both Hellboy and B.P.R.D comics for near three decades is concluding in next week’s B.P.R.D. The Devil You Know #15.
With all that going on, I had the opportunity recently to email a few questions to Hellboy’s creator, Mike Mignola. His answers are direct and interesting, as to the point as Hellboy reacting to a gigantic monster he’ll probably have to fight later. I’ll stop jawing now and get right to my chat with Mike Mignola.
Zack Quaintance: First things first. Next week we’re getting a finale that seems in some ways like it has been almost 30 years in the making. So, how does it feel to be finishing the main Hellboy/B.P.R.D. narrative in Devil You Know?
Mike Mignola: It’s very satisfying to have it all wrapped up—and ended the way it was supposed to end.
Quaintance: Was this always the planned ending, beyond what you’d already laid down in Hellboy in Hell?
Mignola: It wasn’t planned from the very beginning, but I have had it in mind for a long time. From the time I wrote the Plague of Frogs miniseries I knew the B.P.R.D. was fighting a losing battle, and even before that—when Rasputin mentioned Ragna Rok—I knew we would eventually be dealing with the end of the world/beginning of the world. It just took a while to figure out exactly how we would get there and how it would all work.
Quaintance: It’s really exciting to see Duncan Fegredo coming back for the first post-Devil You Know comic, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D – The Beast of Vargu. Aside from being absurdly talented, is there a certain energy that makes Fegredo well-suited to kickoff this next phase of Hellboy comics?
Mignola: There are certain storytelling tricks in the The Beast of Vargu—for those I wanted an artist who I’d worked with before who would understand what I was going for—and I’ve been wanting to work with Duncan again ever since he wrapped up The Storm and the Fury. I was afraid he’d had enough of drawing Hellboy after that whole epic, so I was very very happy that I was able to lure him back.
Quaintance: Speaking of, what does the next phase of Hellboy comics look like, is it all back-filling previous eras or will there be new stories past The Devil You Know on the timeline? Personally, I’d love to see more shorts….
Mignola: Right now there are several Hellboy short stories in the works—some by Chris Roberson and quite a few by me. Right now they are all set in Hellboy’s past. I do actually have a couple ideas for things that take place after The Devil You Know. Hard to say how or if Hellboy will feature into those plans, and The Devil You Know leaves him in a very strange place that I’m not even sure I understand.
Quaintance: The new Hellboy film also hits theaters this week, and it looks like it has a lot more, or at least different, imagery out of the actual comics. How was the experience of watching this one for you, especially compared with the del Toro movies?
Mignola: This new one certainly does follow the comics more closely—mostly the Wild Hunt storyline, with a lot of other bits sprinkled in. It’s actually very surreal to see characters and situations that are so close to the actual comic page.
Quaintance: Hellboy aside, I’m excited to read the follow up to Mr. Higgins Comes Home later this year too. I know it’s not until fall, but would you mind tipping maybe just one bit of mythology, legend, folklore etc. that helped to inspire this one?
Mignola: I actually had almost nothing to do with the followup to Mr. Higgins. If I recall correctly, Warwick [Johnson-Cadwell] came to me with a whole lot of ideas for stories featuring Professor Meinhardt and Knox—some really new and interesting takes on vampires—and I told him he should just write it himself. I was busy with other things and it was clear that he had more than enough ideas for a book. He’s done an amazing job and I hope he’ll do more.
Quaintance: And last, any plans to play the new Hellboy board game with your family?
Mignola: Nope—not going to play the actual game, but I do look forward to getting my hands on all the cool little figures.