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Dragon*Con 2010: Hellboy creator Mike Mignola

Mike Mignola was not only the brainchild of his signature creation Hellboy, but has worked for Marvel and DC, inking projects for Wolverine and Batman. Mignola was also the illustrator for Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the concept artist for Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro’s Blade II.

Q: What was your inspiration for Hellboy?

Mignola: Well I’ve been drawing comics for 10 years, and I have always wanted to do stuff about monsters and supernatural and I did some of that work in mainstream comics but it just got to the point where I felt like to do the stories I want to do I make up my own character instead of making up a supernatural Batman story why not make up a character that’s more designed to do those kind of stories. So I figured nobody would want it but I thought let me do it once just to say I tried it and then I’d go back to doing regular batman whatever mainstream comics but it worked well enough that I was able to keep doing it.

Q: Were you trying to say something specific with the character?

A: No, I just wanted to draw monsters. It’s pretty simple; it’s usually what it comes down to. I just wanted to draw what I wanted to draw.

Q: Do you plan to take the character any further?

Mignola: Oh, yeah. This is my character, so I have no plans to make up another character. I’ve been doing him for 16 years and when I sat down to do him even though I didn’t think I would be able to do it for a million years. I did think if this didn’t work, I wanted to make sure it was a character I could use to do whatever I want. So if I wanted to do a western I could find a way to do it with his character. If I wanted to do a science fiction story I could do it with his character. So it’s basically everything I wanted to do. 

Now,  this story line I’ve got coming up with this character, which I can’t tell you about, but the last 5-6 years I’ve been mostly writing the character and having other people draw it. So by the next year or so we end the story line we’ve been doing and I take over drawing the book again and it will be–well, I’ve got the character in a really interesting place so it will be a really fun book for me to take over.

Q: Any teasers?

Mignola: I’m afraid to give anything away, but there are major changes going on with this character.

Mignola has done work with Marvel and DC comics. (photo by Maribel Garfias)

Q: You’ve also done other work beyond than Hellboy, what was your favorite?

Mignola: A few years back after I’d done Hellboy, I did a character called “The Amazing Screw-on Head“. It was a one shot comic I did and that was probably one of my two favorite things I done. There was also a short story that my daughter blotted called “The Magician and the Snake.” It was a story she just made up off the top of her head one day. I drew it as a comic and that is my ultimate favorite thing I’ve done, but it appeared in a little anthology book that very few people saw. So just this last week we finally collected them together into a book. And I even drew two or three new stories with that same kind of feel it’s a book called “The Amazing Screw-on Head and Other Curious Objects.” That’s my weird stuff–that’s really stuff I’m very proud of and before I did Hellboy I did a couple issues of Batman that I was real proud of.

Q: the movie are we expecting a Hellboy 3 anytime soon?

Mignola: I wouldn’t be expecting it anytime soon.

Q: Do you think the filmmakers did Hellboy some justice?

Mignola: Yeah, it’s always weird when I have to do stuff with film, even though I’ve worked on them before. I always knew it had to be different from the comic to appeal to a much wider audience. But yeah, I think for the most part it turned out very well. I was fortunate enough to have the director (Guillermo Del Toro), who was a big a fan of the comic and understood what the comic should be. So yeah, he made some changes but for the most part I was fine with what he did.

Mignola's "Hellboy" spawned two feature films: 2 live action, two animated, all acclaimed. (Photo by Sabastian Wee)

Q: Any advice for inspiring comic book artists?

Mignola: Just do it. I think I’m a good example of a guy who made up a comic that was exactly what he wanted to do and I got very lucky and I was able to make a living doing that. So my advice for that is: even if your doing mainstream comics or commercial stuff if its something you want to do, do exactly what you want to do and maybe you won’t make money but at least you’ve done something that shows what your about. I’ve known way too many guys who spend their whole career saying some day I’m going do this and some day I’m going to do that or the book I’d really like to do. Just do it and who knows? Maybe it will catch on and then you can start doing your dream job.

Interview by Sabastian Wee, Newton Managing Editor

Headline photo by Zoom Dan

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