In May of 2010, Mike Mignola and Richard Corben were the writer and artist on a one-shot 32-pager Hellboy in Mexico, which I reviewed in my Hellboy in Mexico post.
Hellboy: House of the Living Dead, is a direct sequel to that one-shot, in a hardcover graphic novel format that clocks in at a whopping 56 pages! Mignola admits in his forward to the graphic novel that it was written as a love letter to the Universal horror movies of the 40’s: House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula. The story begins with Hellboy drinking in a bar, devastated over the loss of his luchador comrade to vampires. Hellboy is soon coerced into participating in an ultimate wrestling match with a massive Frankenstein-like monster! That is only the beginning of this madcap story of Hellboy’s fight and eventual confrontation with vampires, a mummy and a werewolf! Mignola’s writing is terse and intense as always and Corben’s artwork is perfectly suited to the wild visual needs of the many fantastic creatures and settings of this graphic novel. If I have any complaints with this graphic novel is the steep price of $14.99. Even at 56 pages, it is still a fairly quick read – even for someone like me, who likes to linger over fantastic art. I did not purchase this at my comic shop (where I buy all my Hellboy comics), because of the price; but instead asked for it as a Christmas present. It was a wonderful gift and I have no doubts that I’ll be reading this again – along with its prequel – in the near future!
ComicBookResources.com did an interview with Mignola about Hellboy: House of the Living Dead several months before its publication. Here are a few brief exerts:
CBR: What made you want to return to this time in HB's life?
MIGNOLA: It was so much fun doing the first one! When I did the first one-issue comic, at the end Hellboy mentions that he doesn't remember what happened the rest of the time he was in Mexico. That was really going to be it, but then I just thought, the beauty of a chunk of time that he doesn't remember -- either he doesn't remember or he says he doesn't remember because he doesn't want to tell anybody what happened -- that's a great period to tell stories, because you can do the craziest stuff and maybe it really didn't happen, maybe he was so drunk he thought this is what happened. It kind of took on a life of its own.
This story, I made up because I saw how much fun Richard had doing the "Hellboy in Mexico" stuff and I wanted to do a Hellboy in Mexico story, so I made up this story for me -- and then realized it would be so much better drawn by Richard. So I turned it over to him. I've actually plotted a couple more stories that take place in this chunk of time. So it's really that whole lost weekend. Five months in Mexico is going to be a significant chunk of Hellboy stories.
CBR: So this is the first (or rather, second) of many?
MIGNOLA: I wouldn't say "many," but right now there's a short story I'm going to be doing for "Dark Horse Presents" that takes place in Mexico and then Richard's graphic novel. Then there's talk of at least one, if not two more after that.
CBR: Aside from Hellboy being upset about what's happened to his luchador friend, what's going on in "House of the Living Dead?"
MIGNOLA: As the story starts, he has become a wrestler. There's a beautiful opening sequence of Hellboy in the ring, tossing other Mexican wrestlers around. And then he's hired to fight somebody's champion. And it's the "go out to the crazy guy's old house" [story] and then it's like "House of Dracula" or "House of Frankenstein." For whatever reason, there are a lot of monsters in this one place. It's a parade of crazy stuff. In some places, it's really funny; in other places, it's really disturbing. In a lot of places, it's really spooky, so it does what Richard and I do really well together, which is, stuff where you go "I can't tell if this is supposed to be funny or not." Richard, more than I guess anybody I've ever worked with, you never really know which way he's going to spin stuff. Something I might write as so absurdly ridiculous funny might come across very straight the way he does it, and some stuff I had intended as very sober and sad and serious will end up kind of funny. So you have to write a certain way for Richard, where it's fine if he's plays stuff either way. In some places I'll tell him, "this needs to be really sad," "this needs to be really quiet," but a lot of it, he's so good at what he does and it's so amazing working with him, you don't always know what you're going to get. I like to give him as much room to do what he does as possible.
I recommend reading the entire interview with Mignola at: ComicBookResources.com
Then go out and beg, borrow or steal – okay, go out and buy a copy and read Hellboy: House of the Living Dead!