We’ve known for awhile now that creator Mike Mignola was planning on revisiting the early days of Hellboy in ‘Hellboy and the BPRD‘ and now he’s sharing some details on what we can expect from the upcoming series that launches today. As a huge fan of everything Mignola has released through Dark Horse Comics so far I’ve been excited to see what he’ll uncover when exploring Hellboy as a young demon. In the series we’ll see Mignola teaming with long time collaborator John Arcudi and artist Alex Maleev.
It’ll be the early days of Hellboy’s tenure with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense and will be running during the ongoing ‘Hellboy in Hell’ series which is following his adventures through Hell after his death in ‘Hellboy: The Fury’ and also while his newer ‘Frankenstein Underground‘ is also running. Yes, Mignola has a lot on his plate and I’m eager to be eating it all up! We’ve seen quite a few miniseries and one shots that have shown the past of the BPRD and now we’ll be seeing it in even greater detail.
According to Mignola, “There’s a real beauty to Hellboy before he got involved with the beastly apocalypse stuff and his own death — that stuff complicates him quite a bit. And there’s so much room: the fact that Hellboy showed up in the ‘40s and we didn’t really pick up his story until the mid-90s, there’s this gigantic period where — other than a few short stories — we don’t see that character.”
I can’t wait to see Hellboy learning the ropes and seeing him fighting arcane threats in the past. It really is great because he set the tone in a way to have a classic origin on a modern character and now gets to explore what happened inbetween.
“All I was thinking was, because I grew up a Marvel Comics guy and so much of my favorite Marvel Comics stuff has its origins in World War II, I needed Hellboy to have his origins in World War II — but I wanted to do a contemporary book,” Mignola explains. “I didn’t have any conscious thought about ‘it’d be good to leave this gap for later.’”
I love how many time periods this will really let Mignola go into overtime. Of course, as a younger Hellboy is involved we’re going to be seeing a different side of him.
“Instead of this take-charge, follow-me guy, he’s the junior member — he’s not even a member of the BPRD at this point — he’s the grunt, so when they say ‘Someone’s got to carry that bag back to the house,’ it’s ‘Hellboy, do that,’” According to Mignola this is “day one of a Hellboy that [readers] recognize,” and that it’s ”really exciting to think, when he says this, it’s the first time he says it. When he does this, that’s the very first time he ever does it.”
We’ll see him going through a lot of firsts in this arc as he learns the ropes prior to becoming the man, erm demon, that we know. However, just because we’re checking out Hellboy’s past doesn’t mean you have to be worried about a reboot.
“The thing I’m proudest of is,” says Mignola, “we’ve been doing this for 20 years and at no point have we written ourselves into a corner or hit a dead end. Everything is building really organically.”
In fact this organic growth is going to lead to some apparent answers to questions we’ve been given since the character’s creation.
“The plan is to have everything we’ve done build to something that, hopefully, answers at least a few of the questions we’ve dropped over the past 20 years and resolve that story.”
Of course, with the apocalypse spiraling out of control, not everything can be wrapped up in a neat little package if the series is to come to an end.
“Certainly, when I wrote the [2004 BPRD: Plague of Frogs miniseries], I created a problem in that book and said, I don’t ever want to resolve this. Ultimately, this is going to snowball into the end of everything. That doesn’t mean I knew how we were going to get there, or how it was all going to go. I just started thinking of it as one big story.”
Of course, the end is very far off in the upcoming series and “It’s good to know where the thing ultimately goes when you’re writing the early stuff,” he says. “It forces the stories to be kind of small, or if you’re going to do certain things, our characters can’t know about it. I managed to say some things about where Hellboy is going, but not in such a way that it’d derail this book. I really do want the old-school, simpler Hellboy [in this series].”
Mignola also shared a little of his creative process on sharing the creative work with John Arcudi, “I come up with the big strokes, the big mythological ideas, and John’s real focus is on character and the people. The comfortable place we’ve ended up is me having this grand scheme of where it’s going and John being the one responsible for taking the humans to that place.”
To define that, basically outside of the central ‘Hellboy’ title which Mignola handles solo, Arcudi takes on 99% of how the rest of the series matches Mignola’s larger vision. Yes, the writing style matches up that well.
Thankfully though we shouldn’t be too worried about Hellboy coming to a complete close anytime soon as Mignola explains, “Around the 20 year mark, I did look around and think, well, we really have done something. I say ‘we,’ because it’s not just me; it’s John, and [longtime Hellboy editor] Scott Allie and all these artists. I do feel the enormity of what I’ve been allowed to do — at no point has Dark Horse said, maybe do this, maybe don’t do this. They’ve really left me alone to do what I want, and I’m very grateful for that. I think, with this series, what’s so exciting is something that I thought was closed — I thought we were done with this kind of Hellboy story, with the past — suddenly, when you open that up, there’s a million story ideas. There’s a million different things you can do.”
Are you looking forward to checking out ‘Hellboy and the BPRD’?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter