While we patiently wait for the stars to align on a final Hellboy film, comic creator Mike Mignola is still plugging along with exciting new adventures for the BPRD — and his latest might be the most intriguing.
While the character is currently in hell following his “death” in the current era comic, Mignola is launching a prequel series dubbed Hellboy and the BPRD that will tell the antihero’s origin story and dig into the unexplored 50 years from when he started working with the BPRD and the start of the original comic.
It’s a fascinating premise, and Mignola seemed relieved in a chat with ComicBook.com to have a new book that can get back to the “classic” stories of Hellboy before the franchise got so deep into its apocalyptic mythology. Plus, the younger version of the character also offered up its own unique set of challenges. Check out some excerpts from the interview below:
“It’s something we’ve been talking about for a while, and probably, if we had really focused a little bit earlier, it would have been the perfect book for the 20-year anniversary. It was a matter of finding the right artist, and that’s why we did it now, because we found the right artist. With Hellboy getting weirder and weirder, with the Hellboy in Hell stuff, it just felt like we were really missing classic, old school Hellboy, and there’s a real pleasure to writing Hellboy when he was a much simpler character, before the whole apocalypse nonsense and death. Also, we’d done the BPRD 1946, ’47, ’48. John [Arcudi] did a little sequence, a flashback sequence, in BPRD. It was Hellboy in ’49, and it just felt like a logical progression of those things.
We didn’t plan this thing as far back as when we started BPRD ’46, ’47, but the beauty of what we’ve done with Hellboy is there’s this gigantic chunk of years where we’ve seen almost nothing with him, except a few short stories here and there. We don’t have to reboot the book to be old school Hellboy, because there’s so much untold material out there. The idea of, as a companion to Hellboy in Hell, having this book will really - and then we’ll start in ’52 and then we’ll keep going – every five or six issues will be a different year. A lot of ground to cover…
That was probably the toughest thing to bear in mind when I wrote this, is this is Hellboy’s first outing with the guys. He’s actually not a full blown agent yet, he’s just kind of being allowed along with the guys, for the very first time. So, my tendency is always to have Hellboy take the lead on stuff, and here he’s the junior member. There was even a moment, I think in the first issue, where Alex drew Hellboy – as the guys are going up a flight of stairs or something – and Hellboy is kind of leading the way, and I had to say “no, no, no, he wouldn’t be that guy.”
He’s, I think, a little bit champing at the bit to get out there and do stuff. He’s eager, but he’s young. Visually, he looks like the Hellboy we know now, but to play him a little bit more insecure, and realize – unlike the Hellboy I do, where he’s done everything – this is where he’s doing certain things for the first time. It’s always very strange to go back and deal with the younger version of characters, especially when you’ve been writing them for 20 years. Yeah, I had to do a couple of little things.”
Along with the new comic, you couldn’t have a chat with Mignola without bringing up hopes that director Guillermo del Toro will finally be able to mount the final film in his Hellboy trilogy. According to Mignola, it’s still stumbling around development hell, and he doesn’t seem terribly confident that it’ll ever happen. But he didn’t think the first two films would happen either, so don’t give up yet:
“There’s talk every once in a while, but nothing concrete, nothing solid, nothing anybody should be jumping up and down about “oh boy, its coming.” It’s not entirely dead, some days it seems like there’s a spark of life there, but most days it’s just a matter of most studios, or our studio, Universal, seems totally uninterested in doing anything. So, you know, wait and see. Anything’s possible. I never thought they’d make the first one, and I never thought they’d make the second one, so maybe they’ll make the third, I don’t know, but nothing worth talking about is being discussed. At least not to me, and you would think that if anything was happening I would know.”
The first issue of Hellboy and the BPRD is set to hit shelves on Dec. 3.