Baked into the concept of Mike Mignola's Hellboy is the idea of the Apocalypse. And after decades as one of the most acclaimed franchises in comics, the big red guy's destiny is about to bring him to the final end.
Currently, the Dark Horse series B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know, is dealing both with the increasing apocalypse on earth and the mysterious return of Hellboy to both the team and the land of the living. In the months ahead, Mignola (along with co-writer Scott Allie and an art team led by Laurence Campbell) will end the B.P.R.D.'s modern-day story once and for all. Even with a movie in the offing and a new series of expansive Omnibus volumes arriving regularly in comic shops, the comic book world of Hellboy has reached its conclusion.
So where does that leave one of the most celebrated artists in modern comics? CBR caught up with Mignola to unpack his own plans for his work both inside and beyond the world of Hellboy. Below, Mignola digs into why he abandoned a new comic project, what final details he has to complete before saying goodbye to Hellboy and what smaller portents (like the return of Roger the Homunculus) mean for the grand finale to come.
CBR: The last time we talked it was around the end of Hellboy In Hell. You had wrapped the story and were ready to paint and do some personal projects...
Mike Mignola: Yeah, what happened to that? [Laughter]
I didn't want to say it! But it does feel like you're stepping back into the comics with a firmer hand than you have for a minute. Has there been a pull you've felt do do more writing or art there?
No. Basically everything I'm involved in now is stuff that I knew sooner or later I would have to do. The whole story of bringing Hellboy back into B.P.R.D. for the end of the series? That was always planned. And I knew my involvement, especially drawing-wise, would be minimal. The end of Hellboy In Hell did feel like, and in a large way was, the wrap-up of my involvement. But the end of B.P.R.D. is kind of "Phase 2" of the wrap-up of things. I'm actually doing the last five covers for Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., and I'm almost done with my fourth of the five. Now I'm feeling like I'm one and a half covers away from really being done.
That doesn't mean I won't occasionally write a short story or do more down the line. But I'm still trying to focus on other things. The thing that's caught me by surprise is that when you wrap up your big body of work and are suddenly free to do whatever you want...I didn't think it would be as overwhelming trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do if I could do anything. [Laughs] I have spent a lot of time running in circles saying, "Am I going to do this, or am I going to do this?" Am I going to do another book? No, I don't think I'm going to do that. People have asked for years if I would do an Art of Mike Mignola book, and I'd love to see that book someday. But I don't feel I've done the artwork for that book yet.
So as of today, I feel that rather than try to get involved in another comics project – not that I won't draw some comics because I still love storytelling – what I'd really love to do is wrap my brain around the fact that I can sit down and draw whatever I want. And it will just go into that future Art of Mike Mignola. I want create a body of work beyond Hellboy.