See more of Dianne Garcia's photos in “Mike Mignola Signs Hellboy: The Fury #3 at The Comic Bug.”
On August 10, comic book fans headed to The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach for a signing from Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. The event held significance for more than just the fact that Mignola was signing copies of the conclusion of a major story arc at his local comic book shop. Hellboy: The Fury #3 is, effectively, the end of Hellboy as we currently know it.
“Part of what has been going on is I've been wanting to get back to drawing the book myself and, for me to draw the book myself, it would need to be a different kind of book,” says Mignola. “The story was progressing in a certain way and I said, 'Then let me finish this whole storyline so that I can take over after this and do the book that I'm excited about doing.'”
We were going to try to write this without spoilers. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. If you have any concerns in that regard, you might want to stop reading now.
As the cake inside The Comic Bug and limited edition posters Mignola brought to the store last night indicated, Hellboy is no longer amongst the living. That doesn't, however, mean an end for the character. Hellboy in Hell, which was teased at the end of The Fury #3, is on the horizon.
“A book where I get to draw whatever I want,” says Mignola.
His version of Hell won't be quite what pop culture consumers are used to seeing.
“It's everything I want to draw,” he says of Hellboy's new home. “I love drawing old architecture with lots of shadows and walls and lots of creaky angles. It's not going to be big pots of fire because that's pretty boring.”
There will also be “insects, giant insects.”
“They're supposed to be these unknowable creatures, but insects and underwater stuff tends to be what I look at,” he explains. “There's a lot of stuff that's halfway between an ant and a praying mantis and there are a lot of these little sea creatures that look kind of like, my daughter said they were krill, like little tiny shrimp or something.”
Mignola says that the old storyline will not be completely lost. He'll be dealing with some of the remnants of Hellboy's prior life at the beginning of the series.
“Hellboy is in Hell. He goes home, he finds out if he has brothers and sisters, he goes to the house where he was born, all that kind of stuff,” he says. “Then it just meanders wherever I want it to go.”
We were curious as to whether or not the character's return to his birthplace will result in a self-discovery story for Hellboy.
“For him, there's a little bit of that at the beginning, but I don't really want it to be about that, so I do a lot of that really fast in the first couple issues,” he says.
Mignola says that he's a fan of gothic literature and was inspired in part by the idea of a “story-within-a-story,” where one character's interaction with another will lead to a new storyline.
He describes his intentions for Hellboy in Hell as “this strange structure where you kind of lose track of where we started and we just kind of go, giving this kind of dreamlike quality where it drifts and drifts and drifts and goes wherever it wants to go.
Mignola adds that, “Hellboy in Hell stuff doesn't have to go to any particular place.”
This leads us to the other big shift in Mignola's work. Hellboy had previously been told through a string of successive miniseries, a style that has since gone on to influence a new generation of comic creators, most notably, the duo behind this summer's hit, Witch Doctor. With Hellboy in Hell, Mignola will lay that manner of storytelling to rest.
“We're just starting it with number one and it's just going to go on until I don't want to do it anymore,” he says. “It just rambles wherever it wants to go.”
Described by Mignola as his “semi-retirement book,” Hellboy in Hell appears to be a very personal project for Mignola.
“With Hellboy, I've told my big story,” he explains. “Now it's kind of like, kill this character off and drift him off into this Hellboy inside my head, just rattling through all the images I want to draw and all the stories that I've collected over the years that I want to do.”
And the new story will bring Mignola back to his drawing roots, having placed those duties aside for some time.
“It's the book where I sit down at the drawing table every day and just draw what I want to draw without trying to tell a specific story.”
Follow @lizohanesian , @punkagogo and @laweeklyarts on Twitter.