WonderCon! 2012: Spotlight on Mike Mignola
ANAHEIM, CA – Somehow, even with no news on what’s next for Hellboy, Mike Mignola managed to get fans excited at this year’s WonderCon. It’s no coincidence that the creator of such a rich and legendary occult detective would have a brain worth picking; for and hour he let fans do just that.
To the disappointment of some and the delight of others, Mike jokingly opened with “there will be no Hellboy III, so don’t ask.” Having no moderator or official structure for the panel, he stated that there is no official news for the future of Hellboy; although he is working on a graphic novel with Duncan Fegredo about the character’s early years. The main focus for him right now, however, is the upcoming Hellboy in Hell; anything else is considered secondary compared to the follow up on The Fury.
The panel-goers had some excellent questions to ask, the first being about the process in which Mike’s characters evolve. He explained that although it takes an initial idea and a huge amount of work to get them started, after a while the creations take on a life of their own, and the creative process becomes completely organic. He never could have imagined what his world and those inhabiting it have become. Hellboy himself began through commissions when convention-goers would ask Mike to draw something besides Batman. He’s always loved monsters, so he’d make slight changes in the development anytime someone would ask for an original drawing. He finally decided on the name, and was shocked that it wasn’t already taken.
Another attendee asked how Mike is able to make his world already feel so “established.” For clarification, he went on to explain that the world in which Hellboy and B.P.R.D. takes place in feels real. When new characters are introduced, or back-story is revealed, it never seems “clamped-on.” Mike’s answer summed it up perfectly – “There’s so many chunks of history that haven’t been incorporated yet.” He loves incorporating history and historical figures into his pre-existing universe instead of beginning new properties. It’s always been nice to have only a handful of writers besides himself working on the world he built. This has been a good fail safe to prevent contradictions and inevitable “reboots.”
A few fans had questions about Joe Golem and the Drowning City, a new illustrated novel Mike worked on with Christopher Golden. Joe was actually created years ago as a “lifeboat” in case the Hellboy movie completely bombed. The comic series was supposed to be released as planned, but he quickly realized, after 9/11 happened, that a story about a ruined New York City would not be a good idea. After postponing it, he decided to co-write a novel about Joe Golem because, as he put it, “I love making stuff up, but hate writing it down.”
As the panel started wrapping up, he may have spoke too soon. He was able to give a little snippet about what may be happening in the Hellboy universe, although it may be mostly tied into B.P.R.D. “There’s something going on with vampires, they’re out there, but they’re in hiding. That’s why we haven’t seen them,” Mike said. He claimed that we’ll see the return of a certain character from B.P.R.D. 1947, and he’ll take on a life of his own. One can safely say that his approach on any upcoming monsters or places, whether it’s vampires or hell, is sure to be captivating – “It behooves me to make it as weird as possible. I get paid to go crazy. It’s a funky place. It’s my comfort zone.”