Next week, cable network Spike TV makes its annual splash in the world of comics as they honor a number a mainstream creators during their star-studded Scream Awards broadcast. Honoring the best in science fiction, fantasy, horror and comics, this year’s ceremony will be taped Oct. 15 in Los Angeles and broadcast Oct. 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Spike.
The sixth annual edition of the event, this year’s Screams honor comics in the categories of Best Comic Book or Graphic Novel, Best Comic Book Writer and Best Comic Book Artist (see a full list of nominees here). The comic nominees were selected by an advisory board that includes Neil Gaiman, Wes Craven, Tim Burton, Damon Lindelof, George A. Romero, Robert Rodriguez and Rob Zombie.
For fans, Spike’s broadcast remains a draw thanks in part to the sheer novelty of comics culture getting a spotlight alongside other media. Past moments include scenes of creators like Robert Kirkman hitting the big stage alongside actors and actresses (and that was before the “Walking Dead” TV show) and a year where Stan Lee flew across the crowd on a Spider-shaped platform to receive a “Comic-Con Icon Award.”
Ahead of this year’s proceedings, CBR News is checking in with a number of the nominated creators to talk not just about Scream as an event but their output on the whole and comics place alongside the other media honored this week. First up: Mike Mignola!
Having just completed the years-in-development Death of Hellboy story – the capper to he and Duncan Fegredo’s multi-year partnership on the Dark Horse title – the creator of the big red guy is nominated as Best Writer while Fegredo earned a nod as Best Artist. And Mignola noted that he’s had some experience with the show in the past.
“I went twice. I hadn’t even heard of it when ‘Hellboy’ the movie was nominated and won, and that was really fun because we had access to the green room where all the real movie people were. It was actually very cool. I went another time when I wasn’t nominated, and that was fine also, but it wasn’t the same,” laughed the cartoonist. “Those days are long past, I fear.”
Mignola did get a memorable moment in 2009, though, as he was present to see Lee swing into action as the guest of honor. “I was there, and Stan flew directly over my head,” he said. “Stan is amazing. Just watching that guy go…he was funny the whole time. And what was a riot was that when it was over, we were walking up the hill away from the place, and there’s Stan trying to get to his car. He’s surrounded by paparazzi and reporters! Here’s a guy who 50 years ago didn’t think his life was going to look like that. That was cool.”
And while he won’t make this year’s taping, Mignola had a good reason to skip out: he’s preparing for work on “Hellboy In Hell” – the next phase of the character’s career for which he’ll return to writing and drawing the series in 2012. “I’m not as far as I’d like to be with it yet, because I still have covers and things to work on,” he explained. “I’m trying to get a bunch of covers out of the way right now so I can spend some long, uninterrupted time on the actual comic. But there have been whole weeks where I’ve just been back working on the comic, and it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages.
“I literally have been thinking of this storyline or this location for Hellboy for five years. I knew one of two things was going to happen: it was going to be fun everyday OR I’d imagine how great it was going to be, but ever panel would be ‘This isn’t good enough! I’ve got to erase all this!’ But so far I’ve just been able to relax into it and have fun. It’s such a completely new direction for the Hellboy stuff that in a way it’s easier to do. It’s not like I’m saying ‘Oh, I’ve done this story before’ or ‘It’s not as good as this other story.’ This is completely different. It’s a whole ‘nother world, so it’s been a real pleasure to draw so far.”
And before Mignola’s full-on art comeback, there are plenty of new stories set in the character’s world to look forward to. “There’s so much going on in ‘Dark Horse Presents,'” Mignola said. This includes a new “Hellboy In Mexico” tale in issue #7, a Lobster Johnson story in #9 and in between, a special B.P.R.D. one-shot featuring Fegredo’s next HB-related work. “I’m writing a few stories, and Duncan has done sort of the farewell to Hellboy. It’s a little bit of a bridge between the Death of Hellboy and the world of the B.P.R.D. I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say it involves Kate Corrigan finding out what happened to Hellboy. It’s beautiful, and it’s really sad. Duncan is the best when it comes to emotions and facial expressions.”
Overall, the artist is happy to have comics remain their own community, even while the movie adaptations and award shows like Scream add some Hollywood flare. It may even help comics a little. “In general, since the movie, we certainly have a stronger [readership.] We got a big bump then, and I don’t think we’ve ever gone back below our pre-movie sales,” he said. “As far as Spike goes, anything that includes comics is great. That comics aren’t shut out of these things is great. There’s some acknowledgement there of where these ideas come from. But it’s hard to say how much this stuff really does impact readership. What I find is that a lot more people seem to think they know what Hellboy really is. They’re aware that there’s a comic. How many people go seek it out because that? We’ll never know, but it doesn’t hurt!”