Saturday’s Hellboy Day, according to Dark Horse Comics, but at 13th Dimension it’s been HELLBOY WEEK! And today, we’ve got a MIGHTY Q&A with Eisner-winning colorist Dave Stewart!
(In case you’ve missed them, this week we’ve brought you a two-part interview with creator Mike Mignola, as well as interviews with editor Scott Allie and writer/collaborator John Arcudi.)
Dan Greenfield: Hellboy is one of the most atmospheric comics of the last 20 years and the color palette has a lot to do with that. How much collaboration is there with you and Mike or you and any of the artists?
I always try to get the artist’s or writer’s input on the project. The level of that varies. Mike and I sometimes talk a lot about what he’s looking for. He thinks about how to use color when he is creating the story. Scott Allie thinks about color a lot when he writes so that always seems like a deeper collaboration. Then some teams we don’t talk a lot about it. A lot more straightforward. But I try to take take the things I learn to those projects.
How much has your approach changed since you first worked on the book?
It’s developed quite a bit. Just learning how the color and value works with his art was important. I started separating the book freelance. I’d take painted guides and interpret them into the computer. Eventually Mike and I working so closely led to me coloring the book. We’ve gone from linear blends to more of a flat painted look. And we’ve developed a short hand.
What lessons has working on this kind of character and this kind of property have you learned?
I think it really developed some of my ideas about coloring. You can’t just lift this approach and apply it to anything, but the basics of good coloring in a really graphic way have informed my other work. Working on such a successful creator-owned project has really been a privilege.
Do you ever go back to your earlier work and wish you could do it over again differently?
Hmmm. Some stuff. You maybe overdo it on rendering or too subtle with a color palette. Maybe the choice of a certain color palette doesn’t print well. Too dark or light.
What’s your favorite Hellboy storyline?
The current one, Hellboy in Hell. How could it get better?
Do you have a favorite Hellboy character?
I guess it’s always been Hellboy. A regular guy that just happens to be a key to the world’s destiny. I love that he’s a giant red demon that acts like he might just be turning a wrench in a shop.