Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hellboy's 20th Anniversary

Comic news website Multiversity Comics is helping celebrate Hellboy's 20th anniversary. And with Hellboy being my favorite comic character, and Mike Mignola being so important in my understanding of what comics can be (from both an artistic and professional perspective), I was thrilled when Multiversity asked me to do a piece for the month long-reveal of Hellboy artwork by other comic creators.
I decided to have Hellboy all dressed up with no where to go...walking down a hallway with painted images of his past in ornate frames covering the walls. Each one is a reference to something from a Hellboy story, and below, I've provided bigger images of each framed image & info on what it references.
The 'Drinking with Skeletons' from "The Island". I own a page from this story, the page just before this reveal shot when the sailors are still seen as alive. Not only is the reveal panel great (they were dead all along) it also leads to this awesomely quotable dialogue "Don't mess with me, lady. I've been drinking with skeletons"

The WWII era photo taken the night Hellboy arrived on earth and was adopted by Trevor Bruttenholm. I debated having a more formal portrait of Hellboy's adoptive father on the wall, but felt there were so many other bits to show in 20 years of stories, this tiny one would have to do.

Baby Alice and the Wee Fairy Folk. This scene is from the one-shot issue The Corpse, but fans who have kept up with Hellboy comics will know that Alice grows up and plays in important role in Hellboy's life before he dies and goes to Hell. Showing Alice as a baby gave reference to both stories in a way showing adult Alice might not have.

Pandemonium. Capitol City of the Hellboy version of Hell. I love how Mike shows Hell as a place of beauty...and that the hellish nature is in what goes on there and the disorienting feeling of time and space not syncing up properly.

The Bird from "Nature of the Beast". In the story Hellboy is reluctantly hunting down a worm/dragon in a wooded area covered in flowers. When he first arrives, a bird is chirping a song (shown by a word balloon with musical notes) but when the menacing dragon is slithering through the low floral coverage and approaching Hellboy, the bird's word balloon is empty. Birds going suddenly silent is used in prose and film as a warning...and Mike's trick with the balloons to use it here is such a great visual.
The Baba Yaga. Hidden behind the candelabra Hellboy is holding is the famous witch of Russian folklore with her collection of skull lanterns. 

:Looming over Hellboy's head are the Ogdru Jahad...the seven dragons of the apocalypse destined to destroy the world if unleashed. Hellboy's right hand has the power to un-imprison them.

Hellboy's Father 

Hellboy's Mother Sarah Hughes, a was a witch & also a descendant of King Arthur.

Cavendish Hall. The setting of the first Hellboy mini-series. looming over it is Sadu-Hem..the Lovecraftian monster in the series climax. 

This piece is not a direct reference to any specific Hellboy characters or story. Just a few of the impish demons Mike's been drawing in "Hellboy In Hell" carrying around Hellboy's crown (in case he should want to take it up)
The Troll Witch riding a goat wielding a wooden spoon into battle against an army of trolls. I really like this story for it's folktale quality and it's pacing. And the image of her riding a goat into battle with only a wooden spoon is too great.

Lastly, this sliver of a painting shows Excalibur set in the stone waiting for the rightful heir of Arthur to pluck it up and command all of England with it.

Because Hellboy is also one of the subjects celebrated in this year's Comic Con Souvenir book and that is a color-only book, I colored the piece and will submit it with fingers crossed it will make the cut. I'm a big fan of Mike Mignola and a big fan of Hellboy, so getting to celebrate 20 years of that work was an honor and a pleasure.

2014 Appearances:
C2E2: April 25-27
Comicpalooza: May 23-25
Heroes Con: June 20-22
San Diego Comic Con: July 23-27
Boston Comic Con: August 8-10
NY Comic Con: Oct. 9-12


Tim Bolton (Ranatuor) said...

David, that is extremely gorgeous and I love all the thought you put into the background behind Hellboy. I wouldn't mind seeing a HB/BPRD comic by you.

-- Tim B

Alex Sheikman said...

I second the notion of a Hellboy/BPRD comic by David! That would be awesome!

Lyn Jensen said...

Looks like Hellboy is simply one Hell of a butler!

Nick said...

Is a print of this available for purchase?

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