Farewell for Now, MIKE MIGNOLA — See You Down the Line

Some of the industry’s biggest names pay tribute to Mike Mignola as Hellboy in Hell comes to a close — and the master steps away from comic art for a year.


UPDATED 10/18/16: Hellboy in Hell Vol. 2 hits bookstores this week. What better time to raise this tribute from the dead (metaphorically speaking)? Oh, and check out a 13 COVERS tribute here.

Mike Mignola has been churning out fantastic and fantastical comics for decades but with this week’s publication of Hellboy in Hell #10, he’s hitting the pause button to devote his time to painting.

He’ll still be involved in the Hellboyverse but, as he’s said, he’s looking forward to some time to create art for himself and see where it takes him.

“It’s been at least 25 years since I finished something and I didn’t know what I was doing next — I’ve always had a project lined up,” Mignola told New York Magazine’s Vulture last year. “I’ve painted in the past, but I only average about one painting a year, and the last painting I did, I actually really liked. So I thought, ‘Gee, if I do a bunch of paintings, maybe I’ll actually figure out what I’m doing instead of relearning every year.’ So I asked my wife, could I do this? Could I just take a year off and just paint? Of course, I can’t really take a year off — I am co-plotting B.P.R.D. and these various other books, but I’d like to take a year off from drawing any kind of comics, and just spend the bulk of a year doing color work. I’ve never taken a significant chunk of time to just do work essentially for myself. I have no idea where it’s gonna go, but it’s exciting. It’s what keeps me going.”

So as Mike embarks on his artistic walkabout, nearly 20 of comics’ biggest names — including Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis, Jill Thompson, Richard Corben, Adam Hughes and many others  — are here to pay tribute to a creative force who’s influenced and inspired a generation of contemporaries.

Hellboy in Hell #10 is due 6/1 from Dark Horse. Dan


“Mike Mignola is probably the most influential artist in comics since Jack Kirby. His way of creating beautiful compositions and his edgy and elegant style transcend our media and earn him a place among the greatest artists of our era. His work should be admired and celebrated forever.” — Rafael Albuquerque,  Ei8ht, American Vampire

“Twenty years ago I looked at Mike’s art on Hellboy and thought to myself: ‘I love his style, with his sharp angles, thin lines and large black areas, and it seems quite simple and fast to do. I’m going to copy him.” I never regretted being so wrong about something.

“It may look simpler than some art styles over-rendered in useless details, and may look faster than artists who ink with brushes and use lots of crosshatching, but the real hard work behind those drawings is inside the artist’s head, mixing the world with his imagination and translating it into those incredible drawings. The most amazing aspect of his craft are all the limits, boundaries and rules that he set for his drawings and how hard it is to draw everything under those rules and make it all work together. His art and storytelling are striking, bold, elegant and unique. So Mike is the real guy to blame, because he misled us by making it look so damn easy.

Mike has had a huge, undeniable impact on the comics medium, as he has influenced generations of young artists, and will continue to do so, even if they don’t want to try to copy his art style. What he has achieved as an artist is paired only by Kirby and Toppi, and like those two, there’ll never be someone like him.” — Gabriel Bá, Daytripper, Two Brothers


Mike Mignola defines what it is to be a comics creator in the purest sense of the form and word. Everyone I know who makes comics, from the most populist mainstream artist to the most punk-rock indie creator, reveres him as the gold standard. He invented a universe that ONLY he could have invented and produced it in a style ONLY he could have produced it in. A completely uncompromised vision of a world that would not exist if not for him, characters that would not exist if not for him, all in a style that could not be created by anybody BUT him.

“Almost no one I know who makes comics can go right back to their own writing or drawing after having read one of his works, because there is something so compulsive and hypnotic about his style that everyone that comes in contact with it has to shake it off before they can go back to their own work for fear of pale imitation. The only other person that does this is Will Eisner.

“Mike is so excellent, so consistently, that my fear is that people may take it for granted. Do not. He is one of the great comic legends of all time, and we get to watch him live.” — Brian Michael Bendis, Powers, Civil War II

“From another cartoonist’s viewpoint there is plenty to admire about the work of Mike Mignola. His writing is sophisticated, yet childlike, but certainly not childish like much in comics. His comic art is beautifully simple, so simple that other cartoonists think they can emulate his style, which is futile. He is one of the best. Congratulations on your masterpiece Hellboy in Hell, Mike.” — Richard Corben, Heavy Metal, Den



“Asking me to write a few sentences about Mike Mignola’s work is near impossible. A few sentences is not enough, but I’ll try.

Mike has never been complacent in his work. He has continued to grow, explore, and refine his craft. His influence is worldwide. I know because I have lived on several different continents and met well-known artists in the medium of comics who have been influenced and inspired by his work. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, he is one of the most flattered artists working today.

“I also think he is one of the most important talents to have worked in the field and he stands alongside of Hal Foster,  Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Osamu Tezuka, Alex Toth, Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Frank Miller, Katusuhiro Otomo, and Akira Toriyama. … He writes with unpretentious profoundness. A poet with the pen and the pencil. He is just a magnificent talent — and very funny too!” — Geof Darrow, Shaolin Cowboy

“There may be some fans who aren’t aware of the significance of Mike receiving the 2016 Spectrum Grand Master title. It’s important to know that this honor is not really an award. It’s not something Mike won in a competition. For over 20 years the title has been bestowed annually to an outstanding artist. This year, the title was bestowed to Mike by a group of his peers who have deemed his life’s work to be of the highest quality. His name now ranks with other Grand Masters such as Frazetta and Moebius, and his art will forever be a benchmark for future artists to be inspired by.” — Gary Gianni, Monstermen, Prince Valiant


Mignola is a living legend. I’m sure it makes him uncomfortable as hell to hear things like that, but it’s true. In Mike you have something truly remarkable. Not only is he one of the finest and most influential artists of our era, he’s also the creator of a comics universe that has been fulfilling his personal vision for more than 20 years. Dozens of comics companies have been born, grown old, and died in that time. Thousands of creator-owned comics have come and gone while Mignola continues to orchestrate a story world of the highest caliber.

“If he moved to a tropical island today and painted only for pleasure for the rest of his life, he’d still have achieved things nobody in this business will ever match. Fortunately for us, a tropical island would bore him to tears after a week. I can’t wait to see the art that his ‘time off’ will produce, and to read the stories that his brain will invent in the meantime.” — Christopher Golden, Snowblind, Baltimore

Mike Mignola makes any and every day feel like Hallowe’en. His work never fails to take me someplace, inspire me, and then drop me off home before the street lights come on. I get bravery as well as entertainment from what he creates. He and his craft are unique in the history of comics, and always shall be.” — Adam Hughes, Betty & Veronica, Catwoman


Mike was one of the earliest and smartest inspirations for a path through comics. I followed him from his early mainstream work and then watched as he walked away from it to create his own universe, find his own unique voice and vision and have complete control of it. It was a real eye-opener to see an amazing artist realize he didn’t need anyone else — just his own head and hands. A true inspiration.” — Matt Kindt, Dept H, Mind MGMT

Mike Mignola understands things about storytelling that few others do. Because the look of his work is so unique and fascinating, his understanding of and contributions to the nuances of storyteling sometimes gets overlooked… because his unique and personal style is so beautiful. But the depth of his storytelling understanding, the poetry of it… the way his imagery and panel design have just the right balance of information and movement… that’s the aspect that moves me most about his work. He is able to crystalize just the right moments, and then deliver them with an elegance and an economy of information… but just the right information… and with just the right personal touch and balance of expression and precision…

“That’s what makes his work so transcendent and influential, and even educational, adding to the grammar of this great medium.” — David Mack, Kabuki

“Everybody who makes comics has a list. Different lists for different people, of course, but everybody’s list has names on it, the names of creators whose work we’ll always buy, regardless. I guarantee you, Mike Mignola’s name is on virtually every creator’s list. Mike’s name is absolutely on my list, and has been since before Hellboy. No one else does what he does, and as far as I’m concerned, no one else inspires like he does. Working in comics is a grind. The business can wear you down, and leave you feeling at low ebb creatively.

Mike is one of a handful of creators whose work never fails to recharge my batteries. His output, whether it’s drawing or writing, makes me want to keep making comics. There’s no higher praise I can give. I’m sad for me that Mike is taking a break to paint. That means no new doses of inspiration for me for a while. But I’m very, very happy for him.” — Ron Marz, Green Lantern, John Carter: Warlord of Mars


Mike Mignola is the smartest comic book artist of his generation. He puts his words and his pictures together with great care and makes it all look very easy.” — Frank Miller, Sin City, The Dark Knight

“Things that clank. Things that squirm. Things dark. Things dead-alive. Just plain Things.

“Mike Mignola draws these things better than anyone on the planet just now. He makes them feel real, every rusty rivet and tentacle-sucker – and he taps into a world just beyond ours where the wildest pulp imaginings are simply sober histories of the way the world has always worked.”— Kim Newman, Anno Dracula


Mike Mignola and his work mean so much to me, it’s hard to put into words. As a kid discovering comics, his work stood out in the days of the lingering “Marvel style,” which had become stagnant and expected. There were a few guys who could light a new fire then. Mike was one of them and this was even before his distinctive style we know from Hellboy.

“As an influence, Mike has been with me since my first days. As his work developed into the heavy solid blacks we know of today, I only became more mystified at how he could break the rules and make them work with new ones. Slowly I got to know Mike. He was kind enough to excuse my fandom, and we’ve become pals. He and his wife and partner, Christine, have been supportive of my efforts to learn the craft and they have shown me humility and kindness in the face of fame and geek worship.

“I’ll miss Hellboy, and yet I feel ready to let him go. To see Mike create the full life of a character is rare thing in comics, a truly awesome task I am grateful to have witnessed. I’m looking forward to Mike’s paintings and what insanity he’ll dream up next.” — Michael Avon Oeming, co-creator and EP of Powers

“The greatest compliment you can give to an artist is to say they’ve influenced other artists. Mignola has done that. I feel no other artist in comics has had a more positive influence on the art of comics since Jack Kirby. Because he didn’t influence kids to put a bunch of useless crosshatching all over everything. None of that flashy crap. Without pretension he showed us effective panel layout and page design, abstract storytelling, use of positive and negative space. The meat and potatoes of comics. But other than that, he’s a blight on society and should be destroyed. Eric Powell, The Goon, Hillbilly


Mignola’s right hand is the key to another world — one filled with deities and demons that do his bidding. And like his signature creation, his art packs a punch that leaves a mark. Every artist I know counts him as an influence, but none draw like him… either out of respect or fear.” — Paolo Rivera, Daredevil and Hellboy and the BPRD: 1952

“The remarkable thing about Mike Mignola to me is that he has never stopped improving. Having followed his work since his early days doing mainstream superhero stuff, I’ve always been amazed at the way in which each new Mignola project is better than the one that came before it. But at the same time, his work is always immediately recognizable, and can never be mistaken for anyone else’s. He ranks among the all-time-greats in the medium, and I struggle to think of any other living creator whose body of work comes close to matching the scope and quality of what he has created over the years. We’re lucky to have him, and I for one can’t wait to see what he does next.” — Chris Roberson, iZombie.


“I love Mike Mignola’s work. I love his design, composition, graphic qualities, characters, humor and the embrace of the unexpected. Mike’s the very definition of the ‘artist’s artist’, the ‘writer’s artist’ and the ‘reader’s artist.’ He’s hit the creative trifecta.

“Thanks for 20 great years of Hellboy, Mike. Can’t wait to see what you cook up in the next 20.”— Bill Sienkiewicz, New Mutants, Stray Toasters

“I’ve been influenced by the art of Mike Mignola since his fanzine days. To say that I constantly learn something about the importance of design and the impact of good storytelling each time I read one of his comics would be an understatement. I love everything about what Mike creates. It’s like he’s creating comics just for me but I’m happy to share with everyone else!” — Jill Thompson, Beasts of Burden

Author: Dan Greenfield

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