The world of Hellboy comics is quite different from the world of Guillermo del Toro's films. Once he introduced the Golden Army in Hellboy II, del Toro strayed pretty far from what Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has continued to do with the character and universe in an ongoing series of comics.
In recent years, Mignola has scaled back his involvement in the comics series simply to writing new stories and leaving the artwork to others. But the creator told SCI FI Wire exclusively that he plans to return to drawing the Hellboy comics as well in early 2010, as soon as he finishes a few stand-alone comic books. (Those will tell humorous oddball tales, a la his Amazing Screw-On Head book from 2002.)
"I've got half a dozen stories that are not Hellboy-related," Mignola said in an exclusive interview last week at the Saturn Awards in Burbank, Calif. "I'm going to do that stuff and just some really odd stuff. Then I'm going to roll back into doing Hellboy myself."
This will come as welcome news to fans of Mignola's quirky, angular artwork.
Dark Horse' casual publishing schedule for Hellboy affords Mignola the time to work at his leisure. This way he can ease back into writing and drawing. "There's only so much that another artist can do with your story, but when you're in charge of the whole thing, there's a whole world of possibilities you can do," Mignola said. "Yeah, I'm very excited about it."
When he resumes work as Hellboy artist/writer, Mignola promises to take his flagship series in a radically new direction. He has long spoken of an overall plan to head toward a dark, apocalyptic finale. This is finally it.
"Just it's one thing to plan stuff a billion years down the line," Mignola said. "It's a very strange thing when you get there and you go, 'Oh, it's actually time to do those things.'"
If anything, Mignola's ideas have become darker. "Hellboy is in an extremely dark place, and where we go from that is still a very dark place, but it's going to have a little bit different personality than what I originally intended," he said. "It's going to go really, really dark, and then it's going to take a left-hand turn. So it'll still be dark, but it'll be a different kind of dark."
The Hellboy spinoff comic series BPRD continues to run as well. The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense employs Hellboy, along with many monster heroes with stories to tell. Mignola plans to give Lobster Johnson his own series, which will not affect his involvement in BPRD. The Johnson series would take place during his life as a New York City vigilante in the 1930s, while BPRD is set in the present day.
Mignola has written previous Johnson series setting events in 1937 and 1939, but there is plenty of wiggle room, starting in 1932.
"I've always written stuff very vague and very open-ended, so I've dropped hints about things that have happened, but I haven't tied my hands too much," Mignola said. "So there's a lot of freedom with what I'm going to do."
Mignola is also ready to release his Victorian-era comic book Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder. Set in the Hellboy universe, Grey could be the first supernatural hero. "His title, 'Witchfinder,' is a derogatory term, actually, for guys like Matthew Hopkins, who were basically hired to hang women who may or may not have been guilty," Mignola said. "This guy saved Queen Victoria's life from witches, so since he's done that, they've hung this title on him, Witchfinder, which he's not particularly fond of."
Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder is due out in July. Hellboy and BPRD continue to be published by Dark Horse. Look for Mignola's spinoffs later this year.