Today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, IDW Publishing announced the newest addition to its deluxe line in “Hellboy in Hell and Other Stories: Artist’s Edition.” The ultra-high end collected edition contains the first five issues of “Hellboy in Hell” as well as several stand-alone “Hellboy” stories.
IDW’s Artist’s Edition line scans in artist’s actual art boards and presents them in their natural state (with all the little nuances of the original art visible: Blue pencils, white out, paste-overs, etc.) so that regular fans can have the experience of owning original artwork of famous comics without having to take out a second mortgage to do it.
Hellboy, created by Mike Mignola, debuted in 1993 for Dark Horse Comics and centers on an exiled demon who works for a shadowy government cabal as he hunts down demons and monsters. Over the past 20 years, the character has starred in countless comic series, two animated movies and two live-action films starring Ron Perlman and directed by Guillermo del Toro.
IDW Publishing special projects editor Scott Dunbier spoke with Comic Book Resources about how “Hellboy” joined the Artists Edition line, the level of involvement Mignola will have in the project, his dream Artist’s Edition books and more.
CBR News: Scott, how did “Hellboy in Hell” end up becoming the next book in the Artist’s Edition line?
Scott Dunbier: It actually won’t be the next book; it’ll be released next summer. We have a pretty good-sized queue ahead of it. But, to answer your question — it’s “Hellboy” by Mike Mignola. That’s pretty much as good as modern comics gets.
It’ll have the first five issues of “Hellboy in Hell” as well as several other complete stories. The first two [Hellboy stories] that were printed in Dark Horse giveaway comics back in the early ’90s will be included. Also, the story that appeared in “John Byrne’s Next Men” as well as one of my favorite stories, “The Corpse.”
With “Hellboy in Hell” still coming out from Dark Horse, are you working with them at all on this release?
No, we’re working directly with Mike on this.
Will there be more Artist’s Editions for “Hellboy,” maybe reprinting his entire saga?
That is completely up to Mike Mignola. If I had my way, sure — I’d love to do more. But we’ll take it one step at a time and hopefully people will like it as much as I think they will. Again, its Mike Mignola’s “Hellboy” — what’s not to like?
Now, different creators have taken different levels of active involvement in their Artist’s Editions. how involved has Mignola been?
Mike’s wife Christine has been very helpful in getting us scans of the artwork. She scans it all for us, and she does a great job. Mike has been involved in the design process of the initial cover for the book. The way we work on Artist’s Editions is very creator friendly. It’s important to not only do books we are proud of, but also that the creators are happy with. Mike’s involvement will literally be as much or as little as he wants. Knowing Mike, he’ll say he doesn’t want to be involved. And, knowing Mike, he’ll be very involved. Which is how I prefer it, of course!
When did you first check out “Hellboy” yourself?
I was there at the beginning! [Laughs]
I’ve been friends with Mike a long time. I remember him talking about “Hellboy” way before it was published. I read some of the early stories before they were published.
What are some of your favorite “Hellboy” stories?
I really am very partial to “The Corpse” — that’s probably one of my favorite stories by Mike. “Wake the Devil” is great. The stuff he wrote for Richard Corben, like “Hellboy in Mexico.” Honestly, they’re all great, and Dark Horse has done beautiful collections of them — highly recommended if you don’t already own them!
What’s your favorite Artist’s Edition so far?
Generally, my favorite Artist’s Edition is the one I’ve just gotten from the printer. It’s hard to narrow it down. As a kid, I was a huge fan of Joe Kubert’s “Tarzan,” so to be able to work on that was a huge thrill. Wally Wood is probably my favorite comic artist of all time, so to be able to do the “Wally Wood: EC Stories” book was a dream. Also, the David Mazzucchelli “Daredevil: Born Again” book was a great one.
I’m lucky because I get to do these books with a great designer, Randy Dahlk. I mean, look at the “Daredevil” book! There’s actually braille on the cover that says “Daredevil.” That was a brilliant idea by him — I’m jealous I didn’t think of it myself. He just does a tremendous job on making these books as good as they can be. I can’t say enough about the guy.
Do you have a wish list for future Artist’s Editions?
Yeah, but it’d take a half an hour to get through it. There are just too many, and so many that are impossible to do. For instance, I’d love to do a “Watchmen: Artist’s Edition.” All that art is out there, but it’s been spread to the four corners of the globe. It would be nearly impossible and take years to get scans of all the pages. It’s just not realistic. So many of these books are possible because of artists who’ve kept their work or collectors who are rabid fans — they make my job that much easier.
If I was making a dream list, it would include Jack Cole’s “Plastic Man,” Watterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes,” Miller’s “Dark Knight,” Neal Adams’ “Batman” — and, naturally, Mike Mignola’s “Hellboy!”
Look for “Hellboy: Artist’s Edition” next year from IDW Publishing.