Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for August 14, 2011

Hellboy – The Death of Hellboy

Mike Mignola is killing off Hellboy. Read Mignola’s open letter posted by Dark Horse Comics:

I’ve been planning this one for a long time. Well, sort of.

Almost from the beginning of Hellboy I knew that if the series went on long enough, I would eventually kill him. I didn’t know exactly how or when, but I figured that when the time was right I’d know. I actually did kill him off in the middle of The Island, but it didn’t take—it just wasn’t quite his time yet.

When Hellboy quit the B.P.R.D (at the end of Conquerer Worm) and ended up at the bottom of the ocean (The Third Wish), I could see we were headed in this direction. When Duncan came onboard to draw Darkness Calls, I told him I wanted him for a three-book arc and I knew the third book would end in Hellboy’s death. I know back then I had a rough idea for the third book, but over the years its plot changed so many times—I’m sure Duncan must have heard me tell him half a dozen different versions of it over the years, and (I hope, for his sake) he must have just stopped listening after a while. I remember that at one point the Gruagach (the long-suffering pig-man) was going to become the major villain and he would be the one to kill Hellboy, but, as is so often the case, these characters don’t always stick to the roads we make for them. Gruagach in particular took on a life (a very sad life) of his own, and the story sort of followed after him. I had to trust that he at least knew where he was going and it turned out that he did. When I asked Scott Allie (long-suffering editor) if I could have a couple extra pages for The Fury #3, it was so I could give Gruagach a proper exit. I just couldn’t leave him hanging in that tree.

And speaking of hanging in a tree—that’s probably where I’d have ended up if I’d tried to draw these last three books myself, so thank you, Duncan Fegredo. The simple truth is that Duncan is amazing. His storytelling is spot on, and he has a nearly inhuman ability to draw everything well. When I write for myself, I tend to avoid certain things, but with Duncan as artist I was free to write the story I wanted to write without worrying about how to draw Hellboy kissing a girl or what a helmet made of birds would look like. And, in my humble opinion, Duncan is one of the best artists working when it comes to giving characters real personality and emotion. I was spared writing a lot of awkward dialogue, because when Duncan draws two characters looking at each other, more often than not you can tell what they’re thinking. I would say I’ll miss writing for Duncan but, fortunately, I don’t have to. While I will be taking over the ongoing Hellboy story line (I’ve always said that in my world, when characters die they just become more interesting) as both writer and artist, there are still a lot of untold stories from Hellboy’s past—a simpler time when he didn’t have to worry about being the Beast of the Apocalypse or king of England. Duncan’s agreed to stick around and draw a bunch of those. I couldn’t be happier.

And now I have to get back to the drawing table.

– Mike Mignola