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Mike Mignola

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Mike Mignola (born September 16, 1960) is an American comic book artist and writer, famous for his horror comic, Hellboy. He has also worked for animation projects such as Atlantis: The Lost Empire and the adaptation of his one shot comic book, The Amazing Screw-On Head.

Career before HellboyEdit

Mignola was born in Berkeley, California. He began his career in 1980 by illustrating spots in the Comic Reader. His first published piece was in the Comic Reader #183, a spot illustration of Red Sonja (pg. 9). His first published front cover was the Comic Reader #196; Dominic Fortune, the Spirit, and Doc Savage in November of 1981.

In 1983 he accepted an inking spot at Marvel Comics working on Daredevil and Power Man & Iron Fist for Marvel Comics, and later worked on titles such as "The Incredible Hulk", Alpha Flight and the Rocket Raccoon limited-series.

After some initial work for DC Comics, such as 1987's Phantom Stranger and The World of Krypton, Mignola began to attract greater notice at DC. 1988 featured several high-profile assignments, including covers for Batman: A Death in the Family and pencilling Cosmic Odyssey, a galaxy-spanning 4-issue mini-epic featuring an ensemble cast of DC heroes, and Gotham by Gaslight, in which a Victorian version of Batman faces Jack the Ripper. The success of that 52-page one-shot inspired DC to launch the "Elseworlds" concept.

Through the early 1990s, Mignola worked on covers and backup features for various DC and Marvel comics. Mignola did the art on Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure for Marvel, and, with Howard Chaykin and P. Craig Russell, he worked on Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and Ironwolf: Fires of the Revolution for DC. He also illustrated the comics adaptation for Bram Stoker's Dracula for Topps Comics, having assisted with design and storyboarding for the Francis Ford Coppola film.


Previously, Mignola had always worked on characters and properties owned by others. He deviated from that practice in 1994, when Mignola's first Hellboy story, Seed of Destruction, was published by Dark Horse Comics. Hellboy draws heavily on Mignola's own interests — folklore, B-movies, ghost stories, monsters and pulp stories — and the series about a paranormal investigator from Hell, the eponymous Hellboy, soon proved to be a popular and critical success with its abstract artwork and H. P. Lovecraft-style horror. It has since been the endeavour Mignola has been most closely connected with, and he has kept up a steady stream of Hellboy stories and merchandise.

Prior to Hellboy, Mignola was not experienced in writing his own stories, and thus, at Mignola's request, the first series was scripted by John Byrne. However, the next Hellboy story, Wolves of St. August, was scripted by Mignola, who also wrote the majority of the subsequent Hellboy tales, though other writers and artists have also worked on the character since. All major story arcs were drawn by Mike Mignola himself, but in 2007 artist Duncan Fegredo took over drawing duties with Mignola remaining on as the writer and cover artist. He also writes the popular spin-off B.P.R.D. with John Arcudi; it is drawn by Guy Davis with Mignola as the cover artist.

According to Mignola, much of Hellboy's personality was based on his father.



Example of Mignola's artwork, featuring Hellboy.

Mignola is particularly noted for his highly distinctive style, which was once called "German expressionism meets Jack Kirby" by Alan Moore, in an introduction to a collection of Mignola's Hellboy works.

While Mignola has heavily influenced a new generation of comics artists since he began working on Hellboy, he was something of an odd man out in the superhero comics industry in the beginning of his career. Mignola's imagery stood in stark contrast to the style of his contemporaries. Where others would draw muscular men and slim, well-endowed women, Mignola's characters were usually bulky and rough-looking, and more often than not defined by large shadowed areas rather than fine details. Mignola often takes the same approach to architecture, particularly in Hellboy, where he often sets the scenes in slowly dilapidating Victorian and Gothic surroundings. He also commonly draws machines that feature steampunk imagery.

Work in film and televisionEdit

Hellboy was made into a feature film in 2004 by director Guillermo del Toro. Mignola was closely involved with the movie's production and a sequel was released in 2008. Recently, Hellboy has been made into two direct-to-video animated films, Sword of Storms and Blood and Iron in 2007.

Prior to that, Mignola worked as an illustrator for Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 movie Bram Stoker's Dracula. He was also the production designer for the Disney feature film, Atlantis: The Lost Empire in 2001, and was a concept artist for 2002's Blade II, also directed by del Toro.

Mignola's The Amazing Screw-On Head debuted in 2006 on the Sci-Fi Channel, starring the voices of Paul Giamatti and David Hyde Pierce.


  • Mignola and the creator of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Kazuki Takahashi, once participated in an art exchange. Takahashi, who is a fan of American comics, drew a picture of Hellboy with Yugi Mutou's hairdo, a Millennium Puzzle, and a duel disk. Mignola drew a picture of Hellboy wearing a Millennium Puzzle and a T-Shirt with Yugi's face, and the two exchanged their artwork. These pictures can be seen in an American issue of Shonen Jump.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist creator, Hiromu Arakawa is a fan Mike Mignola's work on comics.
  • Early on Guillermo Del Toro and Mignola both agreed that Ron Perlman, an actor long revered for his ability to express emotion through heavy layers of prosthetic make up, was the only actor who could portray Mignola's Hellboy character in a live action film. The studios were against it and wanted a more recognizable "name" actor in the title role, but Del Toro fought for Perlman and eventually won.



Comics work includes:






External linksEdit



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