Light the fires of hell, because it sounds like Mike Mignola's Hellboy is preparing to come back to our screens in a big way. Since 1993, Hellboy has not just remained a horned hero of his own comic book, we have watched Mignola's world branch out into a plethora of spin-offs. Now, as The Descent's Neil Marshall brings a new era of #Hellboy to cinemas, Mignola himself has high hopes that it will lead to something bigger.
Boy Oh Boy
Speaking to The Verge, #MikeMignola revealed ambitious plans for Marshall's Hellboy to be just the start of an expanded universe based on the occult occurrences and his chilling characters:
"I hate to say Mignola-verse. It’s spooky whenever I use it! It’s certainly nothing I ever imagined doing, and the thing I’m most proud of — and I wish I could take all the credit for it — is the fact that it’s all happened very organically. The beauty of being able to do stories set in various time periods and stuff, they all work together really well. There's still a lot of ground to cover."
If you look over the Mignola back catalogue, there are enough stories to fill a whole library and concepts that are just crying out to be adapted for film, TV, or even more comics. Mignola first crafted his Abe Sapien spin-off in 1998, which followed the amphibious assassin who was later played by Doug Jones in #GuillermoDelToro's two Hellboy movies.
Next came the brutal vigilante Lobster Johnson as a riff off the popular pulp stories. With a Batman-esque vibe of darkness, Lobster Johnson would perfectly fit the R-rated movie world that "new" Hellboy seems to be pushing for. Finally — and most notably — we had the B.P.R.D. spin-off, which tracked the fictional government organization who employed Hellboy in the first place. While all of the above would be wonderful movies, it is really just the tip of the iceberg.
The Future's Red
Ironically, the Hellboy comic line was actually brought to an end with Hellboy in Hell in 2016. While this left Mignola to concentrate his efforts elsewhere, even the B.P.R.D. arc will end in just a few months thanks to the upcoming The Devil You Know. With Mignola seeming to wind down his writing, now could be the perfect time for the acclaimed writer to give his universe the vision he wants on the silver screen once again. It certainly sounds like the material is there for more:
"Twenty-five years of Hellboy, B.P.R.D., and related books... you can read all that stuff and it's a coherent, complicated story. That’s not something I ever set out to do, but I’m happy with how it turned out. I just don't think there's anything like that in comics right now, now that Marvel and DC keep scrapping their continuities and starting over."
Remember though that we have (nearly) been here once before though. We were shocked to learn that as recently as late last year, there were talks of a Hellboy spin-off that was reported to focus on the nautical adventures of Abe Sapien. Those involved seemed to be as shocked as we were when Mignola announced the full reboot and the tragic canning of any Del Toro continuation. However, while it looks like Abe won't be getting his own sequel (just yet), the plans are most certainly still there, and Mignola has learned his framework for other expanded universes:
"I was reading Marvel comics in the ‘70s, and one of the things that was great about those stories was that they felt like a whole giant world. You could read Captain America and find stories about him in the 1940s. Then, you find out that there were other characters in the ‘40s, and what happened them. You got the sense that this was a big populated world with a history that made sense. Now, most of that is pretty much gone now, but that’s the feeling that I’ve tried to keep with Hellboy and B.P.R.D."
"What I didn’t want to do is a story that begins in Hellboy but continues in [the spinoff series] Lobster Johnson. My feeling was if you want to read B.P.R.D., you’ll get as much as you need to make the story work. But the more of these books you read, the more you see the history and how the threads connect."
Given the cult following of the Del Toro era — as well as the hype surrounding the reboot — it is clear to see that there is more than an appetite in Hollywood for Hellboy and beyond. We have already seen the titular character rise from his own development hell, but who is to say he is alone in his resurrection? As one of the best comic book writers around, who wouldn't want to see more of Mignola's work make into an expanded Hellboyverse — oh, remember though, just don't call it the Mignolaverse.
Would you like to see more Hellboy spin-offs?
(Source: The Verge)