This May, Dark Horse Comics will be releasing “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Night of the Cyclops,” a one-shot story by Mike Mignola and Olivier Vatine. Today we have with us artist and co-writer Olivier Vatine to discuss the project and to give us look at some upcoming promotional artwork from Kirby’s Comic Art.
Olivier, this isn’t your first time drawing Hellboy. Back in the ’90s, you drew a pinup that appeared in the collection “Hellboy: Wake the Devil.” What’s your history with Hellboy and how did you end up being invited to have your work in that collection?
‘Night of the Cyclops’ is a very exciting project, not just because you’re drawing it, but also because you’re co-writing it along with Mike Mignola. How did this project come about?
The setting of Greece is particularly interesting. We’ve seen Hellboy’s investigations in many places all over the world, yet he’s never been to Greece in the comic before. But one of the big antagonists in the series is Hecate, a Greek goddess. Not to mention Greek mythology is such a rich playground for telling stories. I feel like there’s a lot to explore there.
OV: Born and raised in France, for me Europe and the Middle East were big parts of the history program at school. I love this subject. The faun character naturally refers to ancient Greece, to something between Fantasia’s “Pastoral Symphony” and Ray Harryhausen’s “sword and sandals” kind of setup. That’s what is cool about Hellboy—he can roam around many fictional genres. And Mike was okay with him wearing a toga—a little nod to Steve Reeves.
What’s your process like as you co-write with Mike Mignola? Given that you are both artists, does that change the dynamic of the collaboration?
OV: Once we were agreed on the story structure, I did a lettered storyboard of the book in order for Mike to have a draft to comment on. Then he did a pass of rewriting to make Hellboy sound like Hellboy. Next, I blue-lined the layouts and inked them on paper. It took me one year to complete the book—not very fast by US standards, but as it was a standalone issue, there was no pressure. Working on this book was one of my best experiences in comics, and I cannot thank Mike enough for lending me the keys of his toy chest. A special thanks to Katii O’Brien and the editorial team, too.
Kirby’s Comics Art recently mentioned on their social media accounts that you have drawn a series of promotional images for ‘Night of the Cyclops,’ which they’ll be selling on their site. We are sharing with our readers a first look at these five illustrations. I couldn’t help but notice one of them references that original pinup from “Hellboy: Wake the Devil.” Could you tell us about these illustrations and what led you to want to do this extra promotional work?
OV: Annabel Kirby was in the loop from the beginning, and was excited about doing some extra promotional material. I used the look of my concept sketches for ‘Night of the Cyclops’ (sepia inks on toned paper with white highlights) to draw some bigger pieces. It was a good excuse to revisit the original fan art twenty years later.
The first three promotional illustrations will be available from Kirby’s Comics Art today. They will also be selling a run of giclée prints of Olivier Vatine’s cover (seen below) limited to 100. And look for “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Night of the Cyclops” on May 25, 2022.
Written by Mike Mignola and Olivier Vatine
Illustrated by Olivier Vatine
Lettered by Clem Robins
On sale May 25, 2022
Full color, 32 pages
Just as he finishes up one job in Greece, Hellboy is detoured into another adventure by. . . a goat? Join Hellboy in a strange hidden land of treachery and togas as he takes on the wrath of a jealous god. Featuring the storytelling genius of Mike Mignola and Olivier Vatine, with art by Vatine and letters by Clem Robins, the Mignolaverse meets classical mythology in this new one-shot!