When Mike Mignola finds a collaborator he connects with, he doesn't like to let go. In the case of alternative comics icon Richard Corben, the creator of Hellboy has become especially attached, and that connection has led to the pair's next book "Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil" which Dark Horse has shared pages from exclusively with CBR News.
"Richard and I were talking about shorter stories," Mignola explained. "Richard apparently likes drawing Hellboy, and my opinion is, as long as he wants to draw Hellboy, I will keep throwing stories to him. One of the things I said to him was, 'Would you mind if I came up with a couple of shorter stories for you to do?' Both of these were stories that had been knocking about in my head for a long time, and so 'Double Feature of Evil' was just us coming up with a name for a one-shot that would have two stories."
As in the recent "Hellboy In Mexico" story, the tales in "Double Feature" are set in the paranormal detective's past, before he discovered he was fated to be the Beast of the Apocalypse. "These are Hellboy stories set back in the '60s or early '70s. One is kind of a creepy, subtle haunted house kind of thing, and one is a 'bad night in a museum' kind of story," Mignola explained.
"Hellboy" editor Scott Allie also told CBR how the ins and outs of this one-shot (slated for later in 2010) came to be. "Lately, Corben's been telling us 'It might be nice to do a story like this.' And we go, 'Yeah, yeah! Anything you want to do, give us as much feedback, as much input, as much detail as you want, and Mike will go write the story!'
"With 'Double Feature of Evil' there was some internal factor in Mike making him think about these stories more often, but the external factor is that Richard did such an excellent job on 'Crooked Man' that we wanted to give him some more straight horror stories. A lot of Hellboy stories aren't really horror stories. They're monster stories or action adventure stories. 'Double Feature' is a pair of horror stories that Richard can pull off just about better than anybody. When Mike reads nowadays, he reads a lot of horror short stories and horror novels, and that kicks something up in him to do this kind of thing."
The main feature of the new one-shot runs longer than the second, museum-focused zombie tale, but Allie explained that both carry a unique horror idea. "The mummy story is definitely a kind of Kelley Jones/rubber monster thing. It's like a '50s horror movie. The earlier and the longer of the two has Hellboy in it less. There's a guy relaying a terrifying tale to Hellboy, and Hellboy gets drawn into it later on."
Ultimately, the goal both Mignola and Allie keep for Corben is "making sure he always has a script when he wants it" as the editor feels the connection between the two artists is so strong that the material Mignola writers for Corben is the b-side to his own tastes and something the comics legend can't find anywhere else. "Corben is a big score as far as Mike and I are concerned. I can't remember how we originally roped him in, but we were really glad to get him. The 'Makoma' story we did, we felt it was such a perfect Corben thing, but it was so unusual it didn't feel like a regular Hellboy story at all. There are a lot of stories we talk about where I'll say, 'Mike, this is something you've got to draw.' These aren't the big character building stories. They're visually interesting stories. It's gotten to the point where when we find ones that 'only Mike can draw' we'll start to go 'Well, maybe that one can go to Corben.'
"With Corben, 'The Crooked Man' I think was the best thing we'd given or that anyone had given him in a while in terms of the great subject matter that only he could do such a brilliant job with. And with 'Hellboy In Mexico,' again, I think he got something that no one could have does as well – I mean, the stuff with the Turkey? No one could have done it that brilliantly."