Hellboy in Hell marked the return of creator Mike Mignola‘s interior art to the Hellboy Universe. The character has been in Hell since 2012, but the mini-series concludes with issue #10 four years later. EW has reported that Mignola doesn’t have an immediate follow-up to the present day version of the character. Mignola previously revealed that he wanted to take time out of his schedule to try to his hand at the craft of fine art. After spending four years in Hell, it may be time for Hellboy to take a well deserved nap.
Here’s why Mignola sought to conclude the story at ten issues:
I just wrote a piece for the back of the trade paperback, so I just spent some time giving some thought to this. It was interesting because when I started the Hellboy In Hell stuff, I didn’t think it would go forever. I thought it would just be these odd little rambling stories. And then I did certain things in the book that I didn’t think would be a big deal, but they kind of turned into a big deal. And somehow, the dominoes started falling and I realized it’s not a bunch of unrelated stories. It’s one big story. And so I thought, well, that story is going to be this size. Well, things kind of work at their own pace, so things start happening faster than I thought they would…and I got to the end of issue eight and the last page of that issue, he’s sitting under a tree and I just went, oh, that looks like the end. I wrote the end on it, and I just went, oh no, that really does look like the end. I had all this other stuff I wanted to do, and it just felt like stretching out something that wasn’t quite done at that point, but I really saw I had done everything I wanted to do with this particular story. So I replotted a lot of stuff. Issue nine we have this nice conversation with his ex-wife and issue 10 was, here’s the ending that we wanted to do.
Vulture previously reported on Mignola’s plans to take a year off and focus on painting back in December of last year:
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,” said 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.
While the current version of Hellboy’s fate is unknown, Mignola revealed plans for publishing a previous version of the character in the immediate future:
I suspect it will mean very little to the outside world because the Hellboy In Hell stuff has been coming out so slowly, I don’t think people will notice when it stops. Fortunately, we had already come up with the idea of doing this series, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., so we had done a couple books about the B.P.R.D. when Hellboy was just a baby and then we thought it would be natural to come off of that and pick up Hellboy’s years when he was an agent. I got the ball rolling on that series and I still have a hand in that series working with Chris Roberson. Hopefully, that stays up and running.
Hellboy in Hell #9 debuts May 4, no release date has been announced for the tenth issue.