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.
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 designed the Batman: The Animated Series version of Mr Freeze at Bruce Timm's request. He also produced several character and location designs used in Batman Beyond. In addition, Mignola also drew covers for several Batman storylines including A Death in the Family and Dark Knight Dark City
- 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:
- Cosmic Odyssey (artist, with writer Jim Starlin and artist Carlos Garzon, 1988, DC Comics, TPB, 226 pages, Titan Books, ISBN 1840237155, DC Comics ISBN 1563890518)
- Seed of Destruction (TPB collects Seed of Destruction #1-4, 1994, Titan, 2002 ISBN 1-84023-537-3, Dark Horse, 2004, ISBN 1-59307-094-2)
- Wake the Devil (TPB collects Wake the Devil #1-5, 1996, Titan, 2002, ISBN 1-84023-540-3, Dark Horse, 1997 ISBN 1-56971-226-3, 2004 ISBN 1-59307-095-0)
- The Chained Coffin and Others (TPB collects The Wolves of St. August, 1995, The Corpse and the Iron Shoes, 1996, Almost Colossus, Dark Horse Presents 100 #2, and Christmas Special, Titan, 2002, ISBN 1-84023-538-1, Dark Horse, 1998 ISBN 1-56971-349-9, 2004, ISBN 1-59307-091-8)
- The Right Hand of Doom (TPB collects Dark Horse Presents #151, DHP Annuals 1998 & 1999, Abe Sapien: Drums of the Dead, Gary Gianni's The Monstermen, and Hellboy: Box Full of Evil #1-2, Titan, 2002, ISBN 1-84023-539-X, Dark Horse, 2004, ISBN 1-59307-093-4)
- Conqueror Worm (TPB collects Conqueror Worm #1-4, 2002, Titan, ISBN 1-84023-541-1, Dark Horse, ISBN 1-56971-699-4)
- Weird Tales Vol. 1 (TPB collects Weird Tales #1-4, Titan, 2004, ISBN 1-84023-783-X, Dark Horse, 2003, ISBN 1-56971-622-6)
- Weird Tales Vol. 2 (TPB collects Weird Tales #5-8, 2004, Titan, ISBN 1-84023-997-2, Dark Horse, ISBN 1-56971-953-5)
- Strange Places (TPB collects The Third Wish #1-2, 2002 and The Island #1-2, 2005, Dark Horse, April 2006, ISBN 1-59307-475-1)
- The Troll Witch and Others (TPB collects stories from The Dark Horse Book of... The Dead, Witchcraft, Hauntings, and Monsters as well as Hellboy: Makoma, 144 pages, Dark Horse, October 2007, ISBN 1-59307-860-9)
- Darkness Calls (with Duncan Fegredo, 6-issue mini-series, 2007, TPB, June 2008, ISBN 1-59307-896-X)
- ZombieWorld: Champion of the Worms (writer, with art by Pat McEown, 3-issue mini-series, 1997, Dark Horse Comics, TPB, 80 pages, 1998, ISBN 1-56971-334-0, 2005, ISBN 1-59307-407-7)
- Jenny Finn: Doom Messiah (script, with art by Troy Nixey and Farel Dalrymple, tpb includesJenny Finn #1-2, Oni Press, 1999, 128 pages, Boom! Studios, June 2008, ISBN 1934506141)
- Ironwolf: Fires of the Revolution (art, with writers Howard Chaykin and John Francis Moore, and artist P. Craig Russell, 104 pages, 2000, Titan Books, ISBN 1563890658, DC Comics, ISBN 1563890658)
- Hollow Earth and Other Stories (TPB collects Hollow Earth #1-3, 2002, Abe Sapien: Drums of the Dead: Abe Sapien versus Science and Lobster Johnson: Killer Inside My Skull, 2003, Titan ISBN 1-84023-582-9, Dark Horse ISBN 1-56971-862-8)
- The Soul of Venice and Other Stories (TPB collects The Soul of Venice, Dark Waters, Night Train and There's Something Under My Bed, 2004, Titan ISBN 1-84023-931-X, Dark Horse ISBN 1-59307-132-9)
- A Plague of Frogs (TPB collects A Plague of Frogs #1-5, 2005, Titan ISBN 1-84023-931-X, Dark Horse ISBN 1-59307-288-0)
- The Dead (TPB collects The Dead #1-5, 2005, Dark Horse ISBN 1-59307-380-1)
- The Black Flame (TPB collects The Black Flame #1-6, July 2006, Dark Horse ISBN 1-59307-550-2)
- The Universal Machine (TPB collects The Universal Machine #1-5, January 2007, Dark Horse ISBN 1-59307-710-6)
- Action Comics Annual #6 (DC)
- The Adventures Of Superman Annual #6 (DC)
- Aliens versus Predator #0 (Dark Horse)
- Alpha Flight #33, 34 (Marvel)
- The American: Lost In America #4 (Dark Horse)
- Aquaman Vol. 2 (?) #6 (DC)
- Batgirl Special #1 (DC)
- Batman Annual #18 (DC)
- Batman/Judge Dredd: Vendetta In Gotham #1 (DC)
- Conan #236 (Marvel)
- Conan #237 (Marvel)
- Dark Horse Comics #2 (Dark Horse)
- Death Jr. Vol. 1 (Image)
- Fallen Angels #6 (Marvel)
- The Frankenstein Dracula War #1-3 (Topps)
- Incredible Hulk #302, 304-306, 308, 309 (Marvel)
- Justice League Quarterly #14 (DC)
- Kickers, Inc. #9, 12 (Marvel)
- Lobo: Unamerican Gladiators #1-4 (DC)
- Man Of Steel Annual #3 (DC)
- Marvel Comics Presents #20 (Marvel)
- New Mutants #54 (Marvel)
- New Mutants Annual #7 (Marvel)
- Power Pack #20 (Marvel)
- Quasar #15 (Marvel)
- Showcase '94 #3 (DC)
- Solar Man Of The Atom #24 (Valiant)
- The Spectre #7-9 (DC)
- Starman #42-45 (DC)
- Strange Tales Vol. 2 #19 (Marvel)
- Strikeforce: Morituri #21 (Marvel)
- Superman Annual #6 (DC)
- X-Factor #55, 70 (Marvel)
- X-Men Classic #57-70 (Marvel)
- Zorro #6 (Topps)
- 1997: Won "Best Writer/Artist" Eisner Award, for Hellboy: Wake the Devil
- 1998: Won "Best Writer/Artist" Eisner Award, for Hellboy: Almost Colossus, Hellboy Christmas Special and Hellboy Jr. Halloween Special
- 2002: Won "Best Finite Series/Limited Series" Eisner Award, for Hellboy: Conqueror Worm
- 2006: Won "Favourite Comics Writer/Artst" Eagle Award
- Mike Mignola biography on Lambiek Comiclopedia
- Mike Mignola biography on Encyclopedia of World Biography
- "Devil in the Deep Blue Sea", career synopsis by Fletch Adams, [Broken Frontier, June 23, 2005
- Panel Discussions (by Durwin Talon, TwoMorrows Publishing, 2002, second edition 2007, ISBN 1-893905-14-4)
- Mike Mignola official site
- Review of Chaykin and Mignola's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser adaptation at The Daily Cross Hatch, from May 17, 2007
- Mignola on Hellboy's Extended Universe, Comic Book Resources, March 3, 2008
- NYCC: Hellboy Dominates 2008, Comic Book Resources, April 19, 2008
- InnerViews: Hellboy, a Monster Success—Mike Mignola Interview, Hemisphere Magazine, June 2008