ECCC 2013: Mike Mignola Keeps Hellboy In Hell

Hellboy’s still in Hell and Mike Mignola came to Emerald City Comic-Con to talk about it. The “Hellboy in Hell” and “B.P.R.D.” creator talked about the present and future of the Dark Horse series as one hero goes to hell and another group of heroes suffer Hell on Earth!

Find out why we shouldn’t expect to see God in “Hellboy,” what it’s like collaborating with Guillermo del Toro, and exploring mythology through the “Hellboy” universe.

Dark Horse editor Scott Allie was onstage with Mike Mignola, artist Tyler Crook, and colorist Dave Stewart to talk about whatever fans wanted to talk about in the Hellboy universe. Except for “Hellboy 3″ news. There’s no new news on that front, Mignola said.

When asked about favorite storylines, Allie says that “The Corpse” and “The Fury” were his favorites, the former because the story had to be told in two-page installments. “The Fury” had the best payoff to him, though, based on its emotional result and Hellboy’s feelings for Alice. Mignola added that Allie’s involvement on “The Corpse” was actually as a fill-in with orders to not edit Mignola’s work, but to simply fix the writer-artist’s spelling. Mignola says that towards the end of the book, Hellboy was about to drop a corpse into a hole in the ground that looked like a black square, and Allie called to tell him it didn’t really look like a hole. Mignola says he was so thankful to get that feedback because he wants every book to be the best. He immediately called Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson to ask for Allie as the regular editor.

As for his own favorite storyline, Mignola says “The Crooked Man” is his personal favorite, referring to the three-issue mini with Richard Corben. Crook says his was “Hellboy In Africa,” singling out Corben’s artwork and the moment where Hellboy discovers the boy in the bag.

On driving his “Hellboy” stories with fables, folklore, and myth, Mignola says he has no interest in giving those tales any kind of real-world logic. He’s more fascinated by the deep fantasy aspect of those stories and the loose logic in which they take place. He hopes to adapt tons of varied cultural stuff. With “Hellboy in Hell,” he’s able to have free reign on interpreting world folklore (and not just myths from Easter Europe) to his own devices because it’s such a stylized, fantastic environment.

When I asked him about using God with a capital “G” in his stories, Mignola says that although his stories feature old gods, demons, and Arthurian legend prominently, he prefers to keep the big questions of the universe vague. He says that traditionally in his books, those characters that talk with certainty about the big questions are usually crazy. That doesn’t mean that they’re wrong, but they’re crazy.

Talking about the look of “Hellboy In Hell,” Mignola and Allie noted that the title character hasn’t been red for a while allowing him to have some contrast with the reds in his environment.

Because he’s constantly researching, Mignola says that there’s a part of his brain that no longer allows him to read for pleasure.

“B.P.R.D.,” which is co-written by John Arcudi, is typically done through collaborative calls with Mignola and Scott Allie. Mignola says that by the time a script ends up in artist Tyler Crooks’ hands, no one knows who did what because it’s such a continuous process of collaboration.

“Hellboy in Hell,” currently an ongoing, will be coming out at its own pace. Mignola says that when issues are tied together, he’ll make sure they come out together so that fans will have a sense of continuity. Even when an artist wants to move off of a current “Hellboy” universe title, they typically rotate to other books because Dark Horse knows their work and is comfortable with it. Mignola seems to appreciate the familiarity of a regular, consistent stable of co-creators/collaborators.

Asked about “Hellboy” animation, Mignola says none of that is up to him and is determined by other rights holders. He says that Hollywood is pretty scared of the name “Hellboy” at this point. The same goes for “Hellboy” on TV. Mignola seems deeply ambivalent about having any involvement in the Hollywood process, and says that he would rather do anything besides having to pitch a TV show.

On collaborating with Guillermo del Toro, he says that you can’t really nudge the director in any particular direction–he has his own vision and distractions. He says their working relationship was great in the beginning, but there was a clash in styles because Mignola’s style required on minimal affect while del Toro liked embellishment in visual elements. He pointed to the first film and Rasputin’s gauntlet which was simple in Mignola’s initial art with del Toro sending it off to ask for all kinds of steam-pumping elements.

When asked if scarred, Jaguar God-possessed John Damio would make a return, Mignola says that he doesn’t want to do the Marvel/DC thing of resurrecting a dead character–even if there are still some questions left open about his curse and fate. The character’s death was actually all John Arcudi, who surprised Scott Allie and Mignola when he said he wanted to kill the character he created off. Interesting note: he was originally intended to be an undead soldier before morphing into a military man who had to keep his transformations into a murderous creature in check with the help of a supernatural guru. He was murdered recently by the Wendigo. Similarly, no one knew how well-received Roger would be, ultimately keeping the golem around for several storylines before he was killed off saving Liz.

“Hellboy In Hell” #4 is on shelves this week.