Comic-Con: Mike Mignola on ‘Hellboy 2,’ Superheroines, and Guillermo Del Toro

Photo: Dan Kois

Among a certain kind of indie-loving comics fan, there's one superhero movie that will eclipse all others this summer. You can keep your Hulk, your Iron Man, even your Hancock: Give us Ron Perlman chomping on a cigar and whooping supernatural ass in Hellboy 2 any day. We sat down with Mike Mignola, Hellboy's creator, to talk about handing his red, scowling baby over to budding auteur Guillermo Del Toro.

So which comic-book movie are you looking forward to this summer?
Hey, nothing against Hellboy 2, but that Iron Man trailer is so cool, I don't know why anyone would be excited about anything else. I'm super happy with the way it looks, but I always think that if I'm associated with something, no one's gonna give a shit. And that's Stan Lee!

Talk about how Liz Sherman differs from some of the other female characters in this summer's crop of superhero movies.
I'm really proud of her. She's a strong character in this movie, much more than she was in the first Hellboy movie. In fact, she almost comes across as stronger in this one than Hellboy is. She carries him in a lot of ways.

In between Hellboy and Hellboy 2, Guillermo Del Toro directed Pan's Labyrinth, which obviously changed the way a lot of people looked at him. Did you know he had a movie like that in him?
No! Look, I knew he was great, but I watched Pan's Labyrinth with Guillermo, and I was speechless afterwards. Honestly, I couldn't believe he'd come back and direct my story. I took great pleasure in saying to him throughout Hellboy 2, "Don't forget! This is your follow-up to Pan's Labyrinth! Everybody's watchin'!"

How did your relationship change on this movie?
The first movie was him adapting my work. Really, this one is taking my characters and putting them in a pure Del Toro world. I was a lot more willing to argue on the first movie, to defend my story and my ideas. But then everything I argued against ended up being the parts of the movie everyone liked the best.

Like what?
Um … almost everything that involved emotion? I would be like, "Hellboy can't say that!" But then it worked. So on this movie, I just said, "You clearly know what you're doing."

What comics are you working on?
I'm still writing Hellboy, but I'm also sitting down soon to draw comics myself again. It's been two years without drawing comics regularly, and I'm sort of nervous. Some of the things I'm working on will be new stories in the Hellboy world, but some are non-Hellboy-related. At my age, there's a certain body of work I want to accomplish, and a lot of it doesn't have anything to do with Hellboy, and if I don't get started with that, it'll never get done, you know?