From the Editor
Twenty Years of Hellboy
Back in the early days of Dark Horse, I created a list. On it were the names of the writers and artists I wanted to bring to the company: names that included the giants of the industry, as well as names representing the new talent I thought would be open to growing along with Dark Horse. I added to and subtracted from the list as time went by, but I would always refer to it before traveling to the assorted conventions we attended. One of the names on that list was Mike Mignola. Mind you, Mike was not a comics superstar in those days; in fact, I don’t even remember what caused me to put his name on the list. Maybe it was the Gotham by Gaslight book he did for DC, and it probably wasn’t Rocket Raccoon, which he did for Marvel, but who knows now? That was a long time ago. Whatever the case, I found his work irresistible, a personal approach to his art combined with an eye toward past masters, creating a unique style all his own. From the first time I saw his work, I knew I had to have him making comics with Dark Horse.
Over the years that followed, I’d track Mike down at each convention and propose that he quit working on other people’s properties and start creating his own. Mike would say such things as, “Why do you want me?” or “No one would be interested.” This exchange went on for some time until one day, at some now-forgotten comics convention, he walked up to me and said, “Okay, I’ve got a book for you, but you won’t want to publish it.” Well, there was no chance of that, but I asked what he had in mind. “It’s called Hellboy,” he said, “and I won’t blame you if you pass.” I immediately voiced my eagerness to become Hellboy’s publisher, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now, twenty years later, dozens of Hellboy graphic novels, series, and one-shots combine with new creations such as B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien, Lobster Johnson, Witchfinder, and Sledgehammer to form a sort of Mignolaverse. Nor does it stop with comics. Two feature films, two animated films, two video games, multiple toy lines, and countless other products pay tribute to the talent and brilliant mind of the self-effacing creator behind it all. By agreeing to write this piece commenting on the twentieth anniversary of Mike’s horned hero and acknowledging all of his many successes, I get the opportunity to say something that can never be understated … thanks, Mike, for twenty years and all you’ve done for Dark Horse!
— Mike Richardson