10 Things We Learnt From Mike Mignola Chat

10 Things We Learnt From Mike Mignola Chat

The Devil’s In The Details?

♦ Mike Mignola has taken a break from creating regular comics recently and Juxtapoz magazine just did a chat with him to talk about what he is up to at the moment. So here are 10 things we picked out from it…

  1. The new Hellboy movie is a fresh start for the character on the big screen: “t’s loosely based on one of my books, but it bears no resemblance to the Del Toro stuff, except where Del Toro is drawing from my materials. We’re adapting a different story, called “The Wild Hunt.” When we originally started working on the screenplay, it was going to be a continuation of what Del Toro had done but once we had a new director, Neil Marshall, and a new actor, Dave Harbour, the thought was “Why try to continue with somebody else’s version of Hellboy? let this be Neil Marshall’s and Dave Harbour’s Hellboy version.”
  2. Mignola doesn’t use models or live reference when he draws comic pages or creates a world in one of his comics, he reveals:”I generally don’t use models. I like using photo references and I love doing architecture. One thing that I was/am much more interested in, especially as I got more towards the end of Hellboy series, was hell. When I put Hellboy in hell, hell was an entirely made up thing that I wanted to draw. That’s where I think this gigantic transition out of comics started to happen, because I was drawing a lot of old buildings, a lot of architecture, trees, and more of the environment, rather than just drawing people. That was one of the reasons I threw him in hell in the first place, so I would just be drawing the things that I wanted to draw, and the compositions I wanted to do, including odd little cities, buildings leaning at funny angles, and stuff like that.”
  3. Mignola’s work is heavily influenced by German expressionist cinema, he agrees: “Certainly the angles and the shadows are very German. It’s very old German cinema, you see it in their poster art and in everything else. I never consciously said I wanted to do work like this, but it is the kind of stuff I’ve seen a lot of and I think I respond to those kinds of shapes. Ever since the beginning of my career, I’ve used a lot of shadows, which is really just the way I render.”
  4. The creator feels lucky that he does have total control over his comic creations: “I have complete control because I own it. I must say Dark Horse has been terrific. When I approached them with something called Hellboy, I said I wanted to do this thing and I want to own it and I want you to give me the same deal as Frank Miller. A bunch of us went together to Dark Horse with the idea that we would all create our books for them and they would give us a sort of separate imprint within Dark Horse. It’s good when you do this with guys like Frank Miller and other heavy hitters.”
  5. It was a battle to get Hellboy to the cinema the first time around, Mignola recalls:”It’s definitely more of a niche thing which is why it was not easy for Del Toro to get that first movie made, because it’s not Spider-man or Batman. It was one of his big frustrations. First of all, he wanted to make something called Hellboy, which most people didn’t know about. He wanted to star Ron Perlman, who most people did not see as a leading man, and he wanted what he wanted as a budget. It took him six years to find a studio that said we don’t get it but we trust you, we’re not going to give you this much money but we’ll give you this other amount and let you have Ron Perlman. That was a gigantic uphill battle that I don’t think anybody would’ve fought other than Del Toro.”
  6. Del Toro’s The Shape of Water features a creature who lives in the water but Mignola doesn’t see this as a film featuring Hellboy’s Abe Sapien in another guise:”If you look at the details of the costume closely, it looks to me like if you took the Creature from the Black Lagoon and made him much sleeker and shrink wrapped and put it on Abe Sapien, and that’s what this new guy looks like to me. But it obviously will be compared and some people even said that it was an unofficial Abe Sapien movie. I think it’s a movie that features a fish man, but people wanna read into and try to make it something else, and that’s fine but it’s not Abe Sapien. It’s just a different fish guy.”
  7. Mignola is coming to the end of his comic work, he reveals:”I am wrapping up the comics stuff. Working on few Hellboy related projects that I can’t talk about at this time. When I did Hellboy in Hell last year, I said I’m done with comics for at least a year. I’m gonna take a year off and paint. I painted for about four months and did some paintings that I was pretty happy with. Then I got dragged back into doing comics and I did actually start another comics project that I was writing and drawing. I got 19 pages into it and I said you know what, I wanna go back to doing paintings again. When I’m wrapped with the comics by end of the year, I’m really not sure what I’m doing. I wanna draw and paint for fun.”
  8. For him, painting is a more exciting and risky venture than just continuing to create more comics: “So the idea of just working for fun allows me to push my own artistic boundaries. Part of the excitement in doing paintings is that it has no safe commercial value. I know if I just did Hellboy paintings or other type of monsters, I know there’s a market for them. For me, to do a painting of an old house, church, or other architectural structure, there’s really no market for that.”
  9. Mignola has some advice for younger creators who are hoping that what they create could end up on TV or film:”I see so many people doing stuff thinking it will be a TV show or movie. I see so many books where it seems like they are pitching for a TV show, and that’s fine, but it’s a totally different thing and I can’t relate to that. My one word of advice to people would be that if you’re going to do your own thing, chances are it won’t work. I got lucky. I didn’t think Hellboy was gonna work, but it did, and over the years it turned into something. If you wanna do something, do exactly what you want.”
  10. He never set out to create something that has had a life in film and outside of comics, he points out:”One of my favorite questions, and it’s absurd to me, is how did I go about creating a transmedia franchise? And they think there’s an answer for that. And I go, “Dude, it’s called Hellboy.” It’s about a guy who’s red and has a tail. If there was any part of me that thought I was gonna sit down and create something commercial, I would’ve not done any of those things. Whatever success I have is entirely despite the way I went about it, so there are no rules.”

Mike Mignola Juxtapoz Interview www.tripwiremagazine.co.uk

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