Today, Felicia Day’s Geek & Sundry channel – along with Dark Horse Comics – premieres a brand new motion comic based on Mike Mignola’s most recent Hellboy storyline, The Fury. And you should definitely go and watch it, particularly if you’ve never read the book before… But Mignola won’t be there with you. As we found out in a spirited conversation with the creator, Mignola prefers to give his blessing on Hellboy products, and then leave them to their own devices.
Instead, he’s taking the time to concentrate on prepping the brand new Hellboy series, “Hellboy in Hell.” Though the series doesn’t hit stands until the end of the air, we talked to Mignola about what’s in store for Big Red, whether it will intersect with B.P.R.D., and way more:
MTV Geek: Okay, I’m going to keep this brief, but let’s talk about the Hellboy Motion Comic premiering on Geek and Sundry today–
Mike Mignola: It will be brief, because I know almost nothing about it!
Geek: [Laughs] So what DO you know about it then?
MM: I know they wanted to do it. I know I said, “That’s great, I’ll talk to whoever is doing it and give them my input. But… I won’t ever be able to watch it,” because hearing an actor voice actually say dialogue that I wrote, I find so uncomfortable that it makes my skin crawl.
Geek: Is that because it just sounds different from the character’s voice in your head?
MM: Yeah, there’s that… We did discuss different actor voices, all of which is so alien to me, because– I just hear it as these voices in my head. And there’s a level of embarrassment of just hearing myself read out loud. I even ran into it on the movies, where on the rare occasion when there was dialogue in the film that was lifted straight out of the comics, it’s just really uncomfortable to me. I just think, “Couldn’t you have come up with something better?” It sounds silly, that I thought of it.
I gave them blessings, I gave them my input as far as what I thought certain things should sound like, but comics to me are comics. I see it the way I see it, and if someone wants to do something else with it, that’s great… But it’s not what’s in my head.
Geek: Why then allow them to do the motion comic? Is it that they’re so separate, to have one doesn’t mean the other is invalidated by existing?
MM: Yeah, I know it’s the kind of thing people like. And I know Dark Horse was very keen on doing it. I had seen some stuff the same person had done… And I was impressed. I thought it was much better than I could have imagined it being, but it was somebody else’s stuff. I could say this would be great, and I could probably watch other motion comics done, of other people’s work, but when it comes to my work, I know I’m never going to be objective enough to watch it.
There are certain things when you just know, you’ve got to let other people say that something will be good, or something will be bad – you just can’t be objective enough to only do it yourself… At least in my case.
Geek: The Fury is obviously a very monumental story in Hellboy history… How do you take something like that, and boil it down into five minutes?
MM: I actually wasn’t even aware of the time – maybe they told me about it at some point… I never really thought about that, I never even really asked if this was going to be edited down, or are they just going to speed through it. Five minutes sounds pretty fast to do a three issue mini-series. I have no idea. I’m blissfully unaware!
[Editor’s Note: It’s actually six five-minute episodes, the first of which is being broadcast today! Okay, carry on.]
Geek: Something like this, though, it could act as a really good advertisement for the upcoming Hellboy stories.
MM: That is certainly one of the reasons you say yes to these sorts of things! Hopefully it will reach to an audience that might not have read the comic. So yeah, it’s like a five minute commercial for Hellboy, and a teaser for the actual book that I’m doing. In a way, even though the movie was very cool, I looked at things like the movies as a really good commercial for the comic, because what I do is the comic. I say yes to other things, a computer game, or anything else – what I’m hoping is it might snag an audience, and bring them back to reading what, to me, will always be the real Hellboy: the comic.
Geek: To talk about the comic a bit, was there anything in the execution of “The Fury” that didn’t go as you were expecting? Either worked better, or never quite nailed it the way you wanted to?
MM: It’s a hard thing to say. I’d been thinking about that storyline for a couple of years by the time we did it, so there always going to be things that don’t quite live up to what’s in your head. That’s not the artist’s fault, that’s just me saying, as an abstract concept, that’s great; how do you actually break that down into pictures on a page?
The thing that worked out better than I could have imagined, there’s a sequence where a guy comes down a flight of stairs and receives the Holy Grail: he becomes the new King Arthur. That sequence was beyond my wildest dreams. That came really close to getting the awe and majesty that I felt that scene needed. All the relationship stuff. All the Hellboy and Alice stuff… I could never have pulled that stuff off.
I’m not great with girls, I’m certainly not great with facial expressions, and the acting in that comic was so good, there was a lot of awkward dialogue I thought I was going to have to write… That I didn’t have to write, because there was so much there in the artwork. I love when I can back off and just let the pictures tell the story, and Duncan Fegredo did an amazing job with that stuff.
Geek: There’s that little teaser at the end of the series… When I turned the page and read, “Hellboy in Hell,” I thought, “Well of course that’s what comes next” – it was obvious in the best possible way… How did that come together, and what was it like holding back on that info for so long?
MM: It was a tricky thing to keep a lid on where we were taking the storyline. I know other publishers probably would have really pushed hard to have a big announcement that, ‘Hey, in this issue, somebody is gonna die!’ I didn’t want to have any of that stuff, I wanted it to be an experience where you turned the page and you go, “Holy crap! I didn’t see that coming!’ But then I’m not a big PR guy. [Laughs] I’m not very good at marketing.
Over the years, I’ve talked about doing Hellboy in Hell. What I tried to do the last year or so was put a lid on that, not mention it anymore… So maybe people would forget I wanted to do Hellboy in Hell – so when they got to this thing, they’d say, “Oh yeah! He really IS going to do Hellboy in Hell!”
I haven’t said much about Hellboy in Hell, the book is far enough away that it just hasn’t come press time. But… It was a great place to make the announcement that I was back drawing the book, and everything else. I was very happy with the way that worked out, catching people by surprise. Originally we weren’t going to make that announcement in the comic, but I thought, man, I really don’t want to leave people reading this book thinking, “That’s it?” I didn’t want to spend the next six months explaining, no, no, there’s going to be another comic. Let’s put that teaser in there.
Geek: When are we going to find out more about Hellboy in Hell?
MM: The first issue comes out in December, I can say with some confidence… Because it’s done. In fact, I’ve bumped it back a couple of times, to make sure I had a lot of wiggle room to take my time and do it right. The first four issues will come out monthly starting in December, which is nice because there’s a sort of Christmas vibe to the first issue of Hellboy in Hell. December just seemed perfect. The first four issues are one storyline that settle Hellboy into Hell.
Beyond that, it’s a lot of one and two issue stories. It’s not going to come out monthly, but it’s not going to be a four issue mini-series. It’s an ongoing series. I just can’t promise that it’ll be every two months. You might get two issues one year, you might get six issues one year. I just don’t know. It’s my place where I’m going to do what I want to do.
Geek: With Hellboy being in Hell, and B.P.R.D. currently experiencing Hell on Earth, should we be looking for clues in the titles for interconnection… Or is that looking into it way too much?
MM: I can’t say that we won’t do something like that, but the books do take place in two radically different locations. The fact that Earth is starting to look a little more like Hell, and Hell is… Not quite what you’d expect… The books will relate to each other, but not in any particular way. It’s not like you’ll have to read this issue of B.P.R.D. to know what’s going on in this issue of Hellboy. They’re really on different tracks for the foreseeable future.
You can check out the Hellboy Motion Comic on Geek & Sundry today, or right below: