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Punch-drunk for a potent pairing of Mignolaverse brawlers? Dark Horse Comics has a main card title fight in the form of a bruising new one-shot (May 28) starring Big Red and the Clawed Crusader — and SYFY WIRE has a sneak peek inside the ring alongside comments with its stellar creative team.
Written by Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson, then accented with flashy, period-correct artwork by Mike Norton and Paul Grist, Hellboy vs Lobster Johnson #1 wrestles with a wild weekend to give fans two '50s-set stories revolving around Hellboy's boozy, south-of-the-border adventures and exploits. Dave Stewart and Bill Crabtree provide the colors, while artist Paolo Rivera creates a knockout retro-style cover.
The plotline pits two legends as they finally meet face to face, deciding who might survive when Hellboy and Lobster Johnson meet in the devastating Ring of Death. Hellboy's infamous Mexican travels are revealed in detail with this double-barreled standalone arriving next week. Here Norton pencils Hellboy's ill-fated turn as nemesis to Lobster Johnson in a funky luchador flick, while Grist revives the Visitor as he looms in the shadows with recurring doubts about his decision to spare Hellboy.
Roberson hopes longtime readers recall that Hellboy grew up reading the comic book exploits of a Depression-era hero named the “Lobster,” who later inspired “Lobster Johnson,” the masked luchador hero of a series of low-budget Mexican horror movies.
"Mike Mignola and his collaborators have gotten a lot of mileage out of a months-long 'lost weekend' that Hellboy spent drunk in Mexico in 1956," Roberson tells SYFY WIRE. "Over the course of a long lunch with Mike a few years ago I had the idea, what if we did one of those low-budget Lobster Johnson horror movies as a black-and-white comic, complete with unconvincing effects and shaky sets. And it would feature Hellboy in a guest-starring role, but just like Ed Wood was forced to replace Bela Lugosi partway through the filming of Plan 9 From Outer Space, the unfortunate director of this fictional movie would have only gotten a couple of useful shots of the drunken Hellboy on set.
"And then, of course, we could reteam with Paul Grist for another tale of the alien character from The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed (which originated from that same long lunch) to explain to the reader just what the heck they read," he adds. "And then we were lucky enough to bring Mike Norton onboard to bring our low-budget horror movie to life, and I couldn’t be happier with how the whole crazy thing turned out."
Norton claims that this was some of the most fun he's had drawing comics.
"I’m a huge fan of terrible old horror movies, so the challenge of making a good portion of the story look like an actual 1950s black-and-white luchador movie was a welcome one," he admitted to SYFY WIRE. "This is my wheelhouse. If they do a whole series of Lobster Johnson movie comics, I’m there!"
Pull no punches and power your way into our five-page preview of Dark Horse Comics' Hellboy vs Lobster Johnson #1 in the full gallery below, then tell us if it hits you in just the right spot.