IMAGE: Heather Leah Kennedy
Look around Portland right now and you’ll probably see some trace of Mike Mignola’s artistic tentacles. The second film based on his Hellboy comics series, directed by Mexican wunderkind fantastique Guillermo del Toro, is still playing in theater pubs around town; Hellboy and its spinoffs emanate from Milwaukie publisher Dark Horse Comics; and if you went in Powell’s City of Books between 1995 and 2001 you might have stumbled on Mignola perusing the folklore and storytelling books in the mythology section. Now based outside Los Angeles, Mignola. 48, is coming back to town this weekend as the Artist Guest of Honor at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, and WW caught up with him to talk Hellboy, Lovecraft and Powell’s.
WW: You used to live in Portland. Why’d you leave?
Mingola: My wife hated it! She hated almost every second of living there. I loved it. It is a little rainy and dreary. We’d come from New York, and she’s from New York—and it’s hard to transplant a New Yorker. For me, there was Powell’s—we lived near Powell’s, I could go to Powell’s every night, so I was pretty content. There was an art-supply store, and Powell’s, and half a dozen coffee shops within a hundred feet of our apartment. I could’ve stayed. But she’s the boss.
What do you think about film adaptations of Lovecraft? Have you seen any that really got it right?
There’s one called Dagon that I thought was really nice. It had a really nice, weird atmosphere. For the most part I think the trouble I have is, usually there isn’t a lot of money put into them, so usually the scale is kept very small. And I think small-scale is fine, as long as you’re aware that it’s small-scale, and therefore, if you’re going to use a creature, keep the damn thing in the dark. But unfortunately, what springs to mind when I think of Lovecraft film adaptations is a rubber monster waving around, way too well-lit. And the beauty of the Lovecraft stuff is that you barely saw this stuff, and if you did see it, it drove you crazy. So if you put a guy in a rubber suit, or you have a rubber puppet wiggling out of the closet...I haven’t seen anything yet that would drive me crazy.
Before Hellboy 2 came out, director Guillermo del Toro was talking about doing a third movie. Where does Hellboy 3 stand at this point?
I have not heard anything at all since [The Dark Knight] opened; [Hellboy 2] went away really fast. The problem, even before Batman nuked us out of existence, is that the Hellboy films are so firmly in del Toro’s court, and del Toro’s gone. He’s off to do The Hobbit for who knows how many years. And, like me, he’s got a million other projects, too. So he will talk about Hellboy, he’ll mention Hellboy 3, but he’ll also mention Frankenstein and this and this and this. I talk to Guillermo, and he talks about five movies he wants to do. The next day I open up The Hollywood Reporter, and here’s an article about 10 other movies that he didn’t mention yesterday, that he’s also planning on doing. So God knows what he’s going to do. I have no idea what’s going to happen there at all.