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    Mignolaversity: Editor Katii O’Brien Looks Ahead to 2019

    By | January 10th, 2019
    Posted in Interviews | % Comments

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    So dawns a new year. This year just happens to mark 25 years of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy Universe. For now, Dark Horse is keeping details about what’s ahead secret, but we convinced editor Katii O’Brien to give us a few hints and give us our first look at the final issue of “B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know.”

    If you missed it, we also talked to her about last year’s books in a retrospective interview.

    “Hellboy Winter Special 2018”
    Cover by Mike Mignola
    Last year ended with the “Hellboy Winter Special 2018,” continuing a tradition begun in 2016. Each tale in this issue feels almost like a preview of where the Hellboy Universe could go in the future. In ‘Happy New Year, Ava Galluci’ we got a kind of glimpse of “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957,” and ‘Lost Ones’ explored a little more of Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s “B.P.R.D.: Vampire” storyline. Will we see more of these stories in 2019?

    Katii O’Brien: Readers may not see these exact stories and characters again as soon as this year, but we certainly like to leave those doors open. It’s certainly been great to see how much readers like the lineup this year.

    ‘The Empty Chair’ was particularly interesting. Not only was it a new “Lobster Johnson” story, but it was set in 1930, outside of the 1932–1939 era he’s famed for. Going ahead is there a plan to further explore before 1932?

    Katii: There are no plans to explore that time period right now, but never say never! The next Lobster Johnson appearance will be something a little different and I think a welcome surprise…

    From ‘The Empty Chair’ by Tonci Zonjic

    The “Hellboy Winter Special” annuals have been fantastic. It’s nice to know there’s a regular home for the short stories. Can I convince you to do a double-sized issue in 2019? I honestly can’t get enough.

    Katii: I can’t promise a double size, although we do tend to make them longer than regular issues (this year’s was 26 story pages versus the standard 22). But I can say that you will be seeing more short stories in the future.

    Our dear witchfinder, Sir Edward Grey, seems to be popping up a lot lately, even outside his own series, such as his recent appearance in “B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know” #12.

    From “B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know” #12, art by Laurence Campbell

    Katii: Grey has been busy lately! You can expect more “Witchfinder,” but I cannot say when quite yet. The next installment has been well underway for awhile already, and is one of our most clever stories in the series yet. It’ll be a pivotal moment for Grey.

    The big thing ahead is that “B.P.R.D.” is ending in April. Obviously there’s not a lot you can say about that at the moment. Still, “B.P.R.D.” has been the staple Hellboy Universe title for fifteen years now. Is it the plan for “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.” to step up and become the regular title?

    Katii: Yes, exactly.

    For now “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.” has been focused on the 1950s, but you and writer Chris Roberson have hinted that may not always be the case. Is it possible we’ll see some stories structurally more akin to something like “The Visitor: How & Why He Stayed,” which spanned decades? I’ve always been curious what the B.P.R.D. did after they’d learned about the vampire plot in 1966 in “Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead” and how that lead to Hellboy tracking down Countess Ilona Kakosy (one of the heads of the great vampire families) in 1982 in “Hellboy: The Vârcolac.” While we haven’t had many stories about vampires in this era, there are several references to encounters in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.

    From “Hellboy: Krampusnacht”
    Art by Adam Hughes
    Katii: I won’t say exactly what the format will look like, but readers will certainly see us jumping around a bit more. Different times, different places. Different agents! Personally, I like to see historical events from the B.P.R.D.’s perspective. We’ve done so much with World War II for example, which has led to such rich storytelling, but there are a lot of places and time periods that have such a distinct look and feel that I’d love to see. Look at what Adam Hughes did in one panel on the last page of ‘Krampusnacht,’ putting Hellboy in bell bottoms!

    Continued below

    Sometimes it’s the little things. Eventually we’ll hit on some of the plot points you mention as well as others, but we just like to tell a fun story with our characters.

    Yes, we’ve barely scratched the surface at this point. Is there anything you’d particularly like to see?

    Katii: I recently heard about a legend of a Yule Cat in Iceland that eats children. It sounds like our sort of thing.

    We’ve had a lot of one-shot spin-offs these past few years, and I assume we’ll see that pattern continue in future, but are there any plans for new continuing series?

    Katii: There are a couple of new series in the works that will be multi-volume stories. But that’s all I can say for now!

    There are a lot of announcements in store for later this year, for new books and returns of existing titles. We’re working with some new creators, as well as welcoming back a few that readers will be very excited for. Thank you to everyone for reading our books!

    This April, “B.P.R.D.” comes to an end. Don’t miss it.

    The finale!

    B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know #15

    Cover by Mike Mignola

    Written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
    Illustrated by Laurence Campbell
    Colored by Dave Stewart
    Lettered by Clem Robins

    On sale April 17, 2019
    Full color, 32 pages
    $3.99
    Ongoing

    After fifteen years of B.P.R.D. comics, the series reaches its explosive conclusion!


    //TAGS | Mignolaversity

    Mark Tweedale

    Mark writes Haunted Trails, The Harrow County Observer, and The Damned Speakeasy. An animator and an eternal Tintin fan, he spends his free time reading comics, listening to film scores, watching far too many video essays, and consuming the finest dark chocolates. You can find him on Twitter @MarkTweedale.

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