Red. Broken horns. Right hand of doom. Massive chest and wiggly tail. Mike Mignola’s Hellboy needs no introduction if you’re a true comics fan.
The unlikeliest of unlikely heroes – a demon from hell summoned by the Nazis during World War II but now siding with the good guys and taking on supernatural threats daily – he constantly finds himself in situations that hold the middle ground between comical and insane.
Amid it all, Hellboy’s attitude is always ‘the world is a crazy place, let’s not take ourselves too seriously’. Meaning that although he’ll always have a worse day than you’ll ever see, he’ll pour all the bad stuff down with a beer when the fight’s over.
In retrospect, Hellboy is probably the biggest indie-to-mainstream hit before The Walking Dead, but Mike Mignola sure never expected that to be the case when he set the character loose in 1994 through Dark Horse. As he told the LA Times’ Hero Complex:
“When I started ‘Hellboy,’ I thought it wouldn’t work but at least I could look back on my deathbed and shakily point to this one thing and say ‘once I did a book that was about what I wanted to do.’”
And here’s another astounding quote, from a story on io9, where Mignola selects some of his favorite pieces of the past 20 years but says this before sharing his picks:
“I should say upfront that this might come across sounding like I like my own work, which is a completely skewed version of me ’cause I generally do not like anything I do.”
Go figure. Thank god though things worked out the way they did!
If you’re into some more reading on Hellboy’s big birthday, check USA Today and Multiversity, who have some good coverage up. And don’t forget to snag your copy of our Comic of the Week, Hellboy: The First 20 Years HC.
Share your favorite Hellboy art in the comments below, on our Facebook page or via Twitter tagging #amazingart and #HellboyDay.
I much prefer Mignola’s black and white work to the coloured illustrations.