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).

Let’s put off to another time what about or how or whether in fact I do particularly like the stories. I’m not enough of a comic book reader to get all my thoughts about them into a decent nutshell in any case. The thing I bother to note here is just that they’ve kept me wanting to draw. (I’ve decided that it is the stories and not sheer Mignola infatuation alone that’s to credit.) Not that I am drawing much at all these days, in reality; but every time I read a couple of pages of these things (on my iPhone, usually in the bathroom), I want to start exploring them and their world, and before long other fictional worlds, with a pencil. Not much else has done that for me in the past year or two, as my attention’s been heavily occupied with other problems.

Still, I’m not drawing much, just very much wanting to from time to time — and usually while sitting on a toilet, not at for instance a desk.

But here are a few satisfying-enough Hellboy scribbles from rare moments when I haven’t been pulled away by thoughts more pressing or diverting — or been too intimidated, being out of the habit, to pick up the pencil. It’s not much, but it’s not nothing either.

6 Replies to “Hellboy”

  1. i like Mignola’s artwork too. my all-time favorite comic book artists are David Mazzucchelli (incredible figures – see Daredevil: Born Again and Batman: Year One), John Byrne (especially his work on the Fantastic Four), Jim Lee (X-Men) and Arthur Adams. lately i’ve also been appreciating Chris Bachalo, with his wonderful kinetic style.

    perusing artwork that i enjoy (such as yours) inspires me to draw, as well. : ) thanks for sharing your talents.

  2. Dave, nice that you still look in here! Thanks for the kind words.

    I have a very uneven appreciation for comic books and their creators and always have, for reasons I’m still probably some way from understanding. If I get too close to all that stuff, it has a dampening effect on my desire, in spite of admiration for what they can do. That’s true with Mignola too, but there is something about the little story world he’s made (and the way he in particular draws it, though not he alone) that works unusually for me. Posting about it here seems in order.

  3. Thinking of your fascination with Mignola’s images vs. M’s stories gets me reminiscing about my early fascination with John Romita Jr’s work on The Amazing Spider-Man (mid-70s). The writing was pretty bad — a favorite story involved Peter Parker drinking a “cure” for his spidey-powers, only to wake up with two extra sets of arms — but the artwork sure appealed. Romita emphasized an almost plastic smoothness in his muscular curvature, making these heroic figures a part of their very modern environment (glossy skyscrapers and the like), yet contrasting it too, frequently resorting to gothic techniques (pelting rain, etc.). The art sold the story.

    I also wanted to draw like that, but never mustered the chops.

  4. Sleek curvaceous figures characteristic of Romita are how I remember being introduced to hero comics (just at the tail end of the 70s in my case, or very early 80s), via the comic book box on the low table in the kids’ room at the library down the street. (The library’s still there, but I’m guessing the box is not.) I remember Spidey (and MJ — !), but no particular story lines.

    I’ve got to take a little time to say more about thoughts around these Hellboy tales. They aren’t great, but they get something about the medium right, for my sensibilities anyway. Mignola succeeds with me where better writers and better draughtsmen (of monster stories especially) don’t. It’s something I’ve been wanting to poke at here.

  5. I agree about the thinness of the character or even plot development, but I too find them alluring.

    The style is something I’m drawn too, as is the world and the atmosphere he creates with a few lines (of the pen or of text). There is a certain schlocky Lovecraftian (and he was plenty schlocky enough) feel that I enjoy, halfway between Indiana Jones and Edgar Allan Poe.

    Also, I expect, it’s the myths and folktales he invokes. Something I’ve long be fascinated by. Sure others have done this too, but again there’s something in Mignola’s style that hooks one.

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