In the Limelight

Writer-artist Mike Mignola got his start illustrating spots in The Comic Reader in 1980. His first published piece was a spot illustration of Red Sonja in The Comic Reader #183, which led to his first published front cover with #196. Around this time, he graduated from the California College of the Arts with a BFA in Illustration. During the early 1980s, Mignola worked as an inker for Marvel Comics on such titles as Daredevil, Power Man and Iron Fist, The Incredible Hulk, Alpha Flight, and the Rocket Raccoon limited series. He later transitioned over to DC Comics, where he drew the Phantom Stranger and World of Krypton limited series along with producing the Cosmic Odyssey miniseries with writer Jim Starlin. Mignola also drew covers for several Batman stories and crafted the Gotham by Gaslight one-shot with writer Brian Augustyn. 

Throughout the early 1990s, Mignola worked on covers and backup features while doing work for hire illustrations. In 1993, Mignola debuted his Beast of the Apocalypse in a four-page promotional comic from Dark Horse Comics at Comic-Con International. The character later returned in Mignola’s creator-owned project, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, with Dark Horse. While Mignola wrote the story, it was scripted by John Byrne. This series introduced Hellboy as a well-meaning half-demon, who was summoned from Hell to Earth as a baby by Nazi occultists. Hellboy eventually joined the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) as the main contender against dark forces. 

Since his debut, Hellboy has spawned numerous miniseries, one-shots, intercompany crossovers, and spinoffs including B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien, and Lobster Johnson. The character has also been adapted into two live-action feature films, directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Ron Perlman in the title role. Not to mention two straight to DVD animated films, and the video games Asylum Seeker and The Science of Evil as well as a playable character in Injustice 2. Drawing inspiration from Darkness Calls, The Wild Hunt, The Storm and the Fury, and Hellboy in Mexico, a reboot of the Hellboy film series debuted on April 12, 2019. 

Outside of his shared universe of Hellboy titles, Mignola has created additional supernatural and paranormal themed titles for Dark Horse. Initially launched as an illustrated novel, the horror title Baltimore later continued as a comic book series. Created by Mignola and Christopher Golden, this series followed Lord Baltimores hunt of the vampire Haigus as told by his three friends, Doctor Lemuel Rose, Thomas Childress Jr., and Demetrius Aischros. The creative team paired again for the illustrated novel turned comic book, Joe Golem: Occult Detective. Set in the same universe as Baltimore, this title revolved around an occult detective in New York City during the 1960s and 70s. 

During this time, Mignola returned to his black comedy roots with the one-shot comic book The Amazing Screw-On-Head. Starring the character of the same name, The Amazing Screw-On Head stars a robot living during the Lincoln administration who functions as a US Government agent. His head can be attached to different bodies, granting him different tactical abilities. While each of these titles remain Dark Horse classics and have garnered their own fanbases, nothing has ever quite matched the overwhelming popularity of the Hellboy universe. 

Mignola has also lended his artistic talents to the film industry. He served as an illustrator for 1992’s Bram Stokers Dracula, was the production designer for Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and was a concept artist for 2002s Blade II and Pixars Brave. Bruce Timm hired Mignola to provide character designs for Batman: The Animated Series, utilizing his redesign of Mr. Freeze for the series. His design of the 1880s Batman costume in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight later appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Mignola also worked closely with del Toro during the 2004 and 2008 Hellboy features. 

Throughout his career, Mignola has been recognized for his considerable talents, numerous times. He has won 12 Eisner Awards, five Harvey Awards, seven Eagle Awards, as well as the Don Thompson Award, an Inkpot Award, Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award and an Inkwell Award. To this day, Mignola’s “German expressionism meets Jack Kirby” style makes his a favorite within the comic industry and a favored guest on the convention circuit.