Mike Mignola: You know I’m really thrilled with the puppet sequence for so many reasons. It’s such a weird sequence. It’s so much not what you’d expect to see in a comic book oriented film. It’s a real art film moment, something that Del Toro came up with the idea, and I was so excited. It’s one of those things that we were sure somebody was gonna stop him from doing and they didn’t, but it turned out beautiful and it’s the one place where you can see my design. I had a hand in designing a lot of different things in that picture but the puppets are very much my design.
Aaron Albert: Nice. In going through all this with Hellboy, did you think you had such a memorable character when you first created him?
Mike Mignola: No. I knew I created something that I liked but I sure as hell didn’t think anybody else was gonna like it this much. I mean my goal when I created the comic was just having those ten years of other people’s stories, I got to a point where I just wanted to do my own thing, and all I was hoping for was that it would sell enough that it would justify me being able to continue doing it as a comic. So they certainly never expected it to go anywhere beyond that.
Aaron Albert: And why do you think people have identified with him so much?
Mike Mignola: I think because on the one hand it’s got a superhero kind of element but he’s so much not a superhero. He’s written to be…he looks like the devil. He looks like a guy who would be a big, tough guy, but he’s written, hopefully I think, like a person.
Aaron Albert: Another thing I was wondering about, it seems like the movies have been a really good interpretation of the comic books ‘cause we’ve seen some comics that have been made into movies where the movie was vastly different from the comic, but its core and its style and its look and its feel, it seems like it’s really close to what you have in a lot of the comics. What has that meant to you to have that happen?
Mike Mignola: Well I’m certainly happy it worked out that way. The first time I met Guillermo it was very clear we saw eye to eye on a lot of stuff. At the same time it was very clear that the film had to be different from the comic or he wanted to make it different from the comic. I went into it saying, “Listen, I like what you do. I’m not one of those guys who’s saying it’s gotta be exactly like the comic so I’m not gonna fight you there. I want you to make whatever changes you wanna make so that it works in the film because comics and film are radically different mediums and you need a much broader audience.” So I gave him license to change it. In fact I suggested changes that made it very different from the comic. Guillermo actually brought it back closer to the comic ‘cause he loved the comics. What we’ve seen, the first film was taking my world and adapting it into the Del Toro Hellboy universe, and the second film is very much a continuation of that Del Toro Hellboy universe. So we’ve gone pretty far away from my version of Hellboy but it’s still true to the spirit of the thing I created, which is important. Iron Man is very different than the comic but it’s true to the origins. The Iron Man origin was in Vietnam and this was in the Middle East. It was true to the spirit. It paid attention to what worked about the character, whereas I think something like Fantastic Four there’s none of the feel of the comic in Fantastic Four. It’s important to have somebody running the show who knows why the comic worked and has an affection for what was in the comic.
Aaron Albert: I just think it’s cool that the spirit and the core of the character seems to be there in that film. I think that translated well, which is nice to see.
Mike Mignola: Well there’s a reason, Del Toro read Hellboy and fell in love with the comic. It spoke to his interests and it became a vehicle for him to do things he wanted to do. So he wasn’t just second guessing what I did, he was bringing his own stuff to it. Del Toro brings a lot to any project. Any project he does becomes a very personal project. Even Blade II, which in a lot of ways was kind of a commercial exercise for him, I was there with him working on that and he tooled that thing so that a lot of it became a Del Toro picture.
Aaron Albert: Excellent. As I understand it it’s gonna be about four years before you can work on Hellboy III. Is that correct?
Mike Mignola: At least that. If he’s doing The Hobbit he’s on for a good chunk of time. The other thing is I also always see a list of a million other projects that are Del Toro’s next projects. I’m hoping that four, five, six years down the road we’re working on Hellboy III but I’m realistic to know that he’s got a million things he wants to do.
Aaron Albert: Yeah. Could you see a third film being made without him?
Mike Mignola: Yeah. I mean it would be a different third film. Only Guillermo knows what his third Hellboy film is gonna be. He talked about this thing from the beginning as being a trilogy, which would end with the end of Hellboy. Now I’ve got an end for Hellboy planned but it’s 15, 20 years down the road, so I don’t know how he would end the Hellboy story. At this point at the end of Hellboy II we’ve got Liz Sherman who’s pregnant with twins and that’s so not what I’m doing. The third Hellboy film is completely in Del Toro’s head. I have no idea what that would be. I would love to see if another director was involved, I think you could see another director or another writer try to finish his Hellboy story. What I would love to see is somebody do a story that isn’t the end of Hellboy. A Hellboy story that takes place in 1958 in the Appalachian Mountains I think would be cool or takes place in Scotland in a haunted castle, a smaller Hellboy story that isn’t part of some gigantic story arc.