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Circle of Hell, Boy - Part 2
Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski talk Hellboy!
By Arnold T. Blumberg
January 09, 2002
Christopher Golden's first Hellboy novel, THE LOST ARMY.
© Dark Horse Comics
We continue our look behind the scenes of the latest HELLBOY
miniseries, MIKE MIGNOLA'S B.P.R.D.: HOLLOW EARTH
"Hellboy is a presence that's felt throughout out the book," says Sniegoski. "It's almost as if you're hearing the echo of [his departure] with all the characters. [They're saying,] 'Hellboy is gone. Where do I fit into this world now?' There are great flashback scenes of the characters' first meetings with Hellboy."
What's that? A first glimpse at the events that brought these characters together with Hellboy? That's right, and the two writers are excited to have the opportunity to reveal this aspect of the Hellboy mythos.
"It was really neat that Mike let us do this," says Sniegoski. "It gives a real resonance of what Hellboy means to them, and it's something I think the readers will think is awesome."
"All of these characters existed beforehand," says Golden. "We are trying to explain to you what Hellboy meant to these characters, what the B.P.R.D. means to them, and why they're going to stay. Why don't they leave? That's what this whole story is about."
Chris and Tom hope this is just the beginning of a series of B.P.R.D. stories, but although this and the other HELLBOY
minis will increase the number of issues a year, don't expect monthly HELLBOY
any time soon.
"It's unrealistic because of the demands of the art," says Golden. "Ryan is pencilling and inking the whole thing himself, with Mike drawing the covers. I also think the sales would have to warrant it. In Golden's Perfect World, Mike would do three or four issues of HELLBOY
, and we would do a few issues of B.P.R.D.
Whether or not "Golden's Plan" is achieved, the miniseries has given Golden a chance to work with some truly creative collaborators.
"It's just a great team, but also I love these characters," says Golden. "They're so much fun, and it's so interesting. Its mythology is completely insane but has its incredible internal logic."
Hellboy wields Thor's hammer in Christopher Golden's novel, THE BONES OF GIANTS.
© 2001 Dark Horse Comics
"Not only will fans dig [HOLLOW EARTH
], but people who just like good comics will dig it too, and it will hopefully introduce them to HELLBOY
," says Sniegoski, suggesting that this new series will provide the all-important jumping-on point for newcomers. "I think people who give it a try will go out and read the HELLBOY
collections and any new miniseries that might come out. It's got the stuff Mike loves, it's got the stuff I love and Chris loves. We threw it all into the pot. We're all fans of good old-fashioned pulp adventure, Edgar Rice Burroughs, forgotten civilization stuff. It's got all that stuff that makes us go, 'they don't make 'em like that anymore.'"
Hellboy may not be the biggest star in the superhero pantheon, but he survives in an often fickle industry. What accounts for Hellboy's enduring popularity?
"What makes it for me is his perverse sense of humor," says Sniegoski. "He's like the big buddy you had in high school, the goofball [who had] things just kind of happen to him."
Mike Mignola's HELLBOY
© 2001 Mike Mignola
And although he began his career in comics, Hellboy has now had something else happen to him - he's crossed over into the world of prose as well. Golden penned a HELLBOY
novel, the aforementioned THE BONES OF GIANTS
, which hit bookstore shelves in December. The genesis of that particular project had its origins in Golden's first meetings with Mignola.
"My relationship with Mike began a number of years ago when I [interviewed him for an entertainment magazine]. When Dark Horse did TARZAN, THE LOST ADVENTURE
, it got me thinking [that] Hellboy's perfect for this. It's such a pulp story in the best possible way, so I called him up and asked him, 'Maybe I could do a prose back-up short story.' He said, 'Yeah, sure, let's talk about it.' Then he called me up and said maybe we should do it as a novel instead. I wasn't going to argue, and that's how the first novel I did with him, HELLBOY: THE LOST ARMY
came to be."
Christopher Golden edited the Hellboy anthology, ODD JOBS.
© Dark Horse Comics
Following THE LOST ARMY
, Golden edited a Hellboy short story anthology called ODDJOBS
before returning to novel form with December's THE BONES OF GIANTS
"I wrote THE LOST ARMY
, but Mike edited it and illustrated it heavily," says Golden. "They expressed interest in another novel right away, but it was a number of years before they said please get to work. Mike had told me ages ago about this idea he wanted to do where the bones of Thor, the God of thunder, are discovered in the frozen Northlands. Lightning is striking Mjolnir over and over again, and nobody can lift the hammer except Hellboy. [Mignola] did more illustrations for this one than he did for LOST ARMY
And what of the oft-rumored HELLBOY
feature film? Golden and Sniegoski know about as much as fans do.
"I hit the web to see if Vin Diesel is signed yet," says Sniegoski. "And I think Del Toro is an amazing choice for director because he really respects the source material."
"I hope to God it happens for a million reasons," says Golden. "I would just love to see that." Soon, comic fans everywhere may gladly join Golden and Sniegoski in entering this particular circle of Hell.