What’s kept the American comic-book superhero stories going since the creation of Superman, anyway? Why doesn’t it die? Why didn’t it already die but good, like the unlikely faddish twist on pulp it surely was in inception, like so many other lifestyle and entertainment fashions of its day did, a long time ago? There are bound to be some good answers to this, proposed by learned & unlearned persons in books and magazine articles. Someday I might find time to look into it.
I said it’s occurred to me that H.B. is an answer to Superman. Well, but aren’t all the comic-book hero figures who come after Superman answers to Superman, one way or another? Heck, Superman’s been cast as answer to himself often enough by now, maybe.
Then again, these answers to Superman come in different kinds, and there might be something to be said for comparing them. So, where does Mignola’s turn at it belong in the whole range of such ‘answers,’ and so on — we can always talk about that. Or rather, somebody can. That’s a project better left to the real comics geeks.
One of the notable curiosities about the ‘Mignolaverse’ is that it kicks off in 1994, seemingly, as a team hero series of the by then thoroughly worked-over X-Men gifted-children type but, without ever taking that convention very seriously, soon abandons it, splitting Hellboy’s story off from the Bureau’s, or its from his, whereafter they’re maintained as essentially separate series. The B.P.R.D. carries on, of course, in something like the original team vein, with the hero angle considerably diminished and a heavy dose of X-Files to round out what it lacks in the way of X-Men substance. And Hellboy, title and character together, is plunged in what ends up being clearly another direction altogether, borrowing apparently from Gaiman and who knows what other long list of sources.
I seem not to have much use for this site anymore but to post very occasional HB sketches. If I really were a great Mignola fan, that might be alright, but I don’t think I am. I’m a middling Mignola fan at best, and I have plenty of other stuff to keep my mind occupied. Still, something I feel I ought to be able to do here — though I won’t take time for it now or probably anytime soon — is talk about the appeal this character has for me in spite of Mignola’s apparently shallow conception (as interviews with him generally seem, to my mind anyway, to attest) of him and his little story world.
Scratchy little (~ 3 1/2” high) red pen Hellboy on 3 × 5 card. Drawing very infrequently these days. Interest in Mignola stories flagged a while back & has stayed low. But I still like the idea of playing with this.
Still the occasional light noodling & doodling (in ballpoint, here) on Mignola characters. Male ones, that is. I haven’t come up with the nerve to fool around with his female characters yet though they’re key, no question, to what makes the stories appealing.
It may be time to admit publicly that I’ve gotten around only in the past year or so to acquainting myself with Mike Mignola‘s B.P.R.D. stories — long, long after they achieved cult fandom and critical success and spawned a couple of crappy muppet movies. Mignola’s characters are kind of irresistible for me. This in spite of my lack of feeling since childhood — distaste, really — for the macabre and for monster stories of all kinds, and in spite of their thinness (not as comic book characters go, but as fictional characters I’m generally attracted to go).