In a surprise announcement, Dark Horse revealed Saturday at Emerald City Comicon that artist Guy Davis will exit “B.P.R.D.” to focus on his creator-owned series of original graphic novels “The Marquis” and to pursue other projects. Davis has been the regular artist on the series since “Plague of Frogs,” the third miniseries following Hellboy’s departure from the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, the event which spun the Bureau into its own series. Co-writer John Arcudi and series creator Mike Mignola will remain on “B.P.R.D.” with newcomer Tyler Crook taking the artistic reins from Davis.
“B.P.R.D.,” which is published as an ongoing series of miniseries, focuses on a government-sponsored team that, as the name implies, is primarily concerned with supernatural threats and phenomena. Hellboy was raised in the Bureau since manifesting on Earth during World War II, but quit to pursue his own path following a series of ethical disputes with the agency’s higher-ups. Abe Sapien, an amphibious man, and Dr. Kate Corrigan now have a central role in the Bureau, while Johann Kraus, the “Ectoplasmic Man,” and pyrokinetic Liz Sherman are wild cards — Liz recently departed the Bureau following a confrontation with the manipulative Memnan Saa, who prophesied that Liz would do one of two things: prevent the apocalypse or cause it.
CBR News spoke with Davis on his decision to leave the series which has become heavily associated with his name and the artist’s favorite moments from his run.
CBR News: First, let’s talk about what’s coming up. What are your plans after “B.P.R.D.?”
Guy Davis: I just did a run of “Solomon Kane” covers and some creature designs for the new Dark Horse miniseries. Aside from that I have a couple other projects that I can’t announce yet, sorry.
But one of the main reasons I felt it was time to leave the “B.P.R.D.” ongoing series was just the fact that at the end of the day, there was only so much comic work I could fit in and I kept having to push my own “Marquis” book further and further back. Along with the other projects I want to do, I’m looking forward to getting back to finishing my “Marquis” series for Dark Horse.
And while I’m leaving the main “B.P.R.D.” book I started with “Plague of Frogs,” we’ve already talked about having me come back to do some smaller miniseries and shorter works inside Mike’s universe.
“Plague of Frogs” was only the third “B.P.R.D.” book, and you’ve been there ever since. Was it a difficult decision to leave the series behind?
It was. I’ve drawn more issues of “B.P.R.D.” than any other comic series I’ve worked on — it wasn’t a quick decision, but one I had been thinking about for a while. As much as I loved working on the main “B.P.R.D.” book and with Mike and John, it was starting to get too hectic of a grind with the continuous monthly deadlines along with other work I wanted to fit in.
“Gods” wraps up this week, and the next chapter of the ongoing is “Monsters.” What will be your last stretch on the series?
“B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: Gods” is my final story on the main “B.P.R.D.” book; everyone involved felt it was best to stop there. But I also did a couple “B.P.R.D.” short stories since — one for the Emerald City Comicon freebie, “B.P.R.D.: Seattle,” and another “B.P.R.D.” short story written by Scott Allie. They also asked me to come on board to do some monster and device designs for the new artist to work from for the next series.
You’ve done a number of convention appearances throughout your run on the book, as well. Have there been any moments from these tours that stand out in your mind, either something that’s gone really well, something you’ve found interesting, or… a horror story?
I really enjoy doing shows and have been doing them since I started working professionally in comics 26 years ago. It’s fun to get away from the drawing board and actually meet the people reading your work. I can’t think of any real horror stories that happened, I like reading that gossip myself, but I’ve been lucky to have a great bunch of fans over the years!
In your mind, what have been some highlights of your work on “B.P.R.D.?”
To be honest, the biggest highlight for me was just getting to be part of a great series that was a blast to draw for 56 or so issues. Working with a group of friends, telling some hopefully entertaining stories and trying to do something different or at least memorable with the genre.
The “Plague of Frogs” hardcover was released recently and features your first “B.P.R.D.” mini. Have you enjoyed seeing your early “B.P.R.D.” work in this deluxe presentation?
It felt nostalgic, but to be honest I usually cringe when I look at my older work in print — mainly because I see tons of things I wish I had done better. Abe and the gang look pretty rough back then compared to how I drew them later on. But I know it was the best I could do at the time, so as long as I can look back and say I got better with the next issue I’m fine. Just as long as it didn’t get worse [Laughs.]
But it was a beautifully designed volume, Dark Horse really went all out with it and made a great and heavy-looking package!
Are there any monsters or new characters you especially enjoyed designing? What was so appealing about the series and its world?
It would be hard to pick a favorite — all the monsters were fun in one way or another, just the variety and sheer number of them I designed with Mike was fun — but Daryl the Wendigo and the Black Flame would be ones I remember enjoying drawing a lot, along with the Victorian cyborgs from “Garden of Souls.” That miniseries would still probably be the one I pick as my favorite storyline.