As you likely know, we’ve been sharing a ton of incredible, original art from some of our favorite creators for our 31 Days of Hellboy feature, but we’re not the only ones who appreciate great renditions of Mike Mignola’s creation. Writer Jai Nitz (of “Dream Thief” and “Toshiro” fame) has been collecting sketches of Hellboy since 1993 from some of the best and brightest of the world of comic art, and Nitz was kind enough to share his collection with us.
There are a LOT of pieces, so they are split into three parts. Hopefully, you’ve already seen the first two parts, but if not, check out part one here and part two here. We hope you enjoy, and give Jai a shout on Twitter and Tumblr to say thanks to this kind gentleman. Happy Hellboy Day, everyone.
Artists in alphabetical order, by last name, led by a certain artist whom you may recognize, with anecdotes below about select pieces.
Note from Jai: Mike did a two-or-three sketch series of Hellboy in Egypt after he did a run of Deadman covers with a similar setting. This was easily my favorite Hellboy sketch I’d seen, so I bought it from him. As usual, he cut me a deal.
Note from Jai: Mark was sitting next to Tim Bradstreet at the con when he did this sketch for me. Tim leaned over and asked, “Why is Hellboy grabbing the monster’s tongue with his non-rocky hand?” Mark replied, “Because he’s tough.” I’ve always loved that.
Note from Jai: Kevin, a fellow Kansan, has been a good friend of mine for years. His kids have babysat my kids. I try to show off my sketch collection as often as possible when comic friends come to my house. Kevin was over one day and looking through all the sketches. He got to his piece and without realizing it was his work he said, “That’s crude, but competent.” Then he saw it the signature. We decided that was a perfect summation of how artists feel about their own work. The post-script says, “(sorry… you should’ve asked for Jack B. Quick).” Kevin drew the cover of Dream Thief #3 for me.
Note from Jai: One of the oldest con sketches in the bunch, but it wasn’t for me. Mike drew it and my good pal Ande Parks inked it. The buyer never picked it up so Ande took it home from the con. Ande gave it to me years later.
Note from Jai: The Dude’s first Hellboy. Amazing.
Note from Jai: This was the first Hellboy sketch I ever got, and it is by one of the artists in my collection that most people haven’t heard of. Mark was a Missouri native who always came to the KC cons. He drew a few stories for Marvel in the 90s and a small-press book called Velvet. Comics is a tough racket and there are talented people who get close but never make it big; Mark is one of those guys. Everyone who sees this piece (Mignola, Nowlan, etc.) all have the same reaction, “Who IS this guy? He’s great!” I’d love to see him back in the saddle.
Note from Jai: A fantastic creator I’m always dying to work with again. This is also one of Mignola’s favorites.
Note from Jai: I recognized Ryan at my first SDCC. He was pretty stunned that anyone knew who he was. I asked him for a sketch and he declined. He came back to my table the next day with this sketch. We’ve been friends ever since. Ryan did the cover for Dream Thief #2.Continued below
Note from Jai: Chris often comments how this is one of his all-time favorite con sketches. I’ve heard him tell people who don’t know me or my work or my sketchbook that this is one of his favorites.
Note from Jai: The second Hellboy sketch I ever got? Love Larry and his work. Would kill to work with him someday.
Note from Jai: Matt did this in about 30 seconds. Every line has power and grace. What an amazing talent.
Note from Jai: I only got to hang out with Mike once. Me, Mike, Mark Waid, Phil Hester, and some other pros went to Six Flags in Dallas before a con. Mike was charming and candid. When we got to the con he treated me as a peer and still happily did this sketch for me. Comics misses Mike Wieringo daily.