Q: What major superhero can be most effectively dropped into a horror plot without causing it to stop being horror? -- @KaosExMachina
A: Y'know, I don't wanna make any of the other 215 people who have Asked Chris feel bad or anything, but this is easily one of my favorite questions that I've ever gotten. It's probably obvious by now, but I have a lot of fun thinking about different genre conventions and how they work, and this is the sort of thing that you can play around with forever, and that you can ask your friends and get all sorts of different answers and justifications, something that I actually did while I was getting ready to write this article. But it's also a really difficult one to answer.
It's like you said: When you add superheroes to horror stories, they tend to stop being horror stories.
If you were to pull a random sampling of professionals from across the comics industry and poll them on their favorite modern-day creators, Mike Mignola's name would doubtlessly rank near the top. Since he burst on the scene at Marvel in the early 1980s, pencilling an obscure limited series about a talking space raccoon, he's matured brilliantly – from his seminal work at DC Comics (pencilling books including World Of Krypton, Cosmic Odyssey, and Batman: Gotham By Gaslight), to his work at Topps, Marvel, and other companies in the early '90s (on Ironwolf, Bram Stoker's Dracula, various X-books, and many other titles), to his move into creator-owned comics with the mighty Hellboy, he's maintained a unique voice and an immediately recognizable art style, bettering himself with each successive project, evolving and refining his voice at every opportunity.
Whether it's baby Hellboy eating a forbidden breakfast, a snake and a magician flying kites, or a robotic super-spy with a detachable head in the employ of President Lincoln, there's a dry-yet-absurd tone to Mignola stories that drips with the glee of innovation and possibility, yet manages to keep it all contained within straight-faced third-person storytelling. And so, today, a few days after his 54th birthday, we're excited to celebrate Mike Mignola's career with a few fellow fans (who also happen to be notable comic-makers in their own right).
Dark Horse is getting its Comic-Con 2014 announcements started with some very good news from the realm of Hellboy. The blue collar apocalypse beast's heretofore unseen first mission with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense will finally be depicted in Hellboy & The BPRD, and by none other than Alex Maleev from a story by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi.
If you're heading out to Comic-Con International in San Diego later this month, well, you have my most sincere condolences. The good news, though, is that you'll be able to pick up plenty of convention-exclusive toys and books while you're there, and to entice potential customers, Dark Horse has released a list of everything you can find at Booth 2615 this year.
The list of products includes tie-in items for stuff like Mass Effect, Buffy and an exclusive Usagi Yojimbo print by Stan Sakai, but the real star of what's on offer is unquestionably Mike Mignola's Hellboy, which is featured two exclusive hardcovers and a plush doll featuring a Comic-Con t-shirt.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.
In honor of this year’s 20th anniversary of the first appearance of Hellboy, the enduringly popular and endlessly entertaining ex-paranormal investigator created by Mike Mignola. One of comics' most idiosyncratic characters with a supporting cast to match, Hellboy is cited by many artists rivaling Batman as the most fun character to draw and reimagine in different styles. Throughout the existence of Best Art we've featured loads and loads of visions of Hellboy and his friends in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, and what follows is a compilation of some of our favorites.
On March 22, 2014, comics fans across the world celebrated Hellboy Day, a special day commemorating the release of the first issue of Seed of Destruction, the first Hellboy mini-series from Dark Horse Comics, twenty years ago in 1994. In those twenty years, creator Mike Mignola, together with a number of talented collaborators, has expanded his most famous character into one of the coolest and most satisfying franchises in comics, with stories branching out into such spin-off series as BPRD (aka the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense), Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, and Sledgehammer '44.
Although I am sure Mignola has many more years' worth of stories about Hellboy and his compatriots left in him, now seems as good a time as any to look back at what has come before. While this list is by no means exhaustive — a complete list of awesome Hellboy moments would easily be one hundred times this length; sorry if yours got left off, pancakes fans — here are ten moments that I believe are emblematic of what makes Hellboy one of the most enduringly excellent and exciting books on the shelf.
Q: What makes a monster a Halloween monster? Why is Dracula okay but Godzilla is not? -- @chudleycannons
A: If you're following me on Twitter, then you may already know that earlier this week, I got into a heated argument with comic book writer and holiday enthusiast Benito Cereno over what does and does not constitute a "Halloween Monster." The whole thing sprang out of a Halloween-themed musical countdown that Benito's doling out over at his Tumblr -- stick around to find out how the Garfield Halloween special got him in trouble as a youngster -- that included Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla."
My argument -- which I posed to my ex-friend in a very civil and conversational manner that definitely did not start with "hey stupid" -- was that this song wasn't a good fit because Godzilla, while he is definitely a monster, doesn't fit thematically with Halloween. Benito's argument was that it was a fun song. But obviously, as we all know, you can't have fun without rules.
In yet another moment clearly meant to remind you that you are no longer young, The Simpsons is about to air it's 24th "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween special. Any current or lapsed fan of the show is familiar with a few of the traditions that go into the annual episode, including the altered opening and horror-inspired Couch Gag. The theme continues this year, and this time the producers of the show brought on Guillermo del Toroto create the opening. Just under three minutes long, the animation features guest appearances by a few comic characters, as well as a nod to Futurama, and some inspiration from Mad magazine and former Hellboy artist and frequent del Toro collaborator Guy Davis.
What's so impressive about Art Baltazar and Franco -- the Eisner-winning team behind Tiny Titans, Superman Family Adventures and Patrick The Wolf Boy -- isn't just that they create great all-ages comics; It's that they can seemingly take any concept and manage to give it a humorous, kid-friendly spin. The latest example comes courtesy of Dark Horse Comics, as the duo have teamed up to create Itty Bitty Hellboy, an all new ongoing title featuring their all-ages look applied to new stories of Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz, Lobster Johnson and the rest of the B.P.R.D. crew as kids.
Dark Horse has provided a six page preview of the upcoming series, and you can check it out after the cut.
Add Mike Mignola to the growing list of legendary artists -- Joe Kubert, Neal Adams, David Mazzucchelli, Wally Wood and Walt Simonson, to name a few -- whose work has gotten the Artist's Edition treatment from IDW. The first five issues of Hellboy in Hell, the most recent series in Mignola's Hellboy saga, will be collected in the book, according to an IDW press release.
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