A MODEST AND BELATED BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION FOR MIKE MIGNOLA
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.
Mignola’s vision is of course best expressed by the empire of “Hellboy-verse” comics, which includes the titles B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth, Abe Sapien, Lobster Johnson, Witchfinder, and even inspiring a kid-friendly spin-off series Itty Bitty Hellboy. They’re all set in his own supernatural horror-heroic world that blends spooky atmospherics and bizarre humor to create some of the best, most distinctive American comics ever put to paper.
Outside of comics, Mignola’s designed for animation (Atlantis: The Lost Empire), created concept art for a number of acclaimed films (Pan’s Labyrinth, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Blade II), and even branched out into writing and illustrating prose novels (Baltimore, Joe Golem). His own creations have been adapted to both live-action films (Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army), and cartoons (Hellboy: Sword Of Storms, Hellboy: Blood And Iron, The Amazing Screw-On Head).
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).