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'Young Hellboy' writer Tom Sniegoski on vampire queens, dinosaurs, and ape gods

Comic Books

‘Young Hellboy’ writer Tom Sniegoski on vampire queens, dinosaurs, and ape gods

Take a sneak peek into the hellacious hero’s early days.

Hellboy is a series that feels perpetually timeless. That’s in part due to its long history, with the story spanning across multiple decades and aesthetics. (Not to mention these kooky monsters work no matter the time or place). This month, the saga continues with Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land, a new series co-written by creator Mike Mignola and Tom Sniegoski.

Announced last year, the four-issue series takes place in May of 1947, prior to the events depicted in Hellboy: The Midnight Circus. Drawn by Craig Rousseau, with colors by Dave Stewart and letters by Clem Robins, the series aims to open up the world of Hellboy even further as he and Professor Bruttenholm are stranded on an island with all kinds of monsters.

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Ahead of this week’s release (February 17), I was fortunate enough to speak to Sniegoski about the series. Read on to learn more about this unique project and get a preview for the first issue.

Young Hellboy #1

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

AIPT: Tom, we know from the series announcement how this project started, but what has been your relationship to Hellboy specifically over the years?

Tom Sniegoski: Other than loving the character with all my heart and soul? HA! My relationship started with the character when Mike asked Christopher Golden and I to write the very first B.P.R.D. miniseries, “The Hollow Earth.” From there I wrote a Hellboy short story for Hellboy: Odder Jobs, a novel (Hellboy: The God Machine), and a Lobster Johnson novel (The Satan Factory). So I’ve been stomping around the Hellboy universe for a bit.

AIPT: This series packs a lot of punch from a mysterious island, vampire queens, dinosaurs, giant ape gods, and the Sky Devil herself, was there anything you wanted to get into the book but it just wouldn’t fit?

TS: I think we covered just about everything. HA! We wanted this book to have a real sense of adventure, like something out of the old pulp magazines. Once Mike and I started talking story, all this stuff just became natural to the story we wanted to tell.

AIPT: With the book announced in November, has the pandemic affected your work or schedule on this project?

TS: There was a little pause at first, because of everybody was just trying to figure out how everything was going to work in regard to publishing, distribution, and retailers, and such. But once everybody got a sense of how things were going to be, it was full steam ahead.

AIPT: You have quite a few Buffyverse books under your belt, would you ever be interested in writing Buffy over at BOOM! Studios?

TS: I love the Buffyverse. My very first published fiction novel was an Angel book. If BOOM! were to ask, I would gladly work on a Buffy or Angel book for them.

AIPT: What do you think every Hellboy comic needs, even in a young Hellboy comic?

TS: There’s a few elements that are completely necessary, but one of the most important is a sense of humor. There’s this vein of humor that runs through all the Hellboy stories––not necessarily with the story itself being humorous, but in how Hellboy deals with the situations. I’m always reminded of “Ghostbusters” when I try to explain this. “Ghostbusters” is a pretty cool horror story, but it’s the characters that bring the humor. It’s how they react to the actual horror that’s humorous. It’s the same with Hellboy. He’s just so tired of all this crap. HA! So yeah, humor and horror for sure. It’s gotta be scary to some degree. And Hellboy has to punch stuff. You most definitely need Hellboy punching stuff. I think that just about covers it.

Young Hellboy #1

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

AIPT: Has working with and seeing the pages come back from Craig Rousseau surprised you in any way?

TS: Nope. It looks as wonderful as I thought it was going to look. Craig absolutely nails it. He hits everything right on the head. Matter of fact, quite a bit of what Craig draws looks better than the crap I see in my head! That to me is pretty darn amazing.

AIPT: If readers take anything away from Young Hellboy, what would it be and why?

TS: The main thing that Mike and I were both hoping to get across was a real sense of fun and adventure. This is a Hellboy who is still wide-eyed about the world and its many mysterious thrills and dangers. We want the reader to get a sense of that through our young Hellbox’s eyes. Hopefully, we did that. (Personally, I think we did. The book is an absolute blast.)

Young Hellboy #1

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Young Hellboy #1

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Young Hellboy #1

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Young Hellboy #1

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

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