Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!
Today we’re joined by comic book author and illustrator, Mike Mignola. Reading Dracula at age twelve introduced Mike to Victorian literature and folklore, from which he has never recovered. Starting in 1982 as a bad inker for Marvel Comics, he swiftly evolved into a not-so-bad artist. By the late 1980s, he had begun to develop his own unique graphic style, with mainstream projects like Cosmic Odyssey and Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. In 1994, he published the first Hellboy series through Dark Horse. Mike’s books have earned numerous awards and are published in a great many countries. He lives somewhere in Southern California with his wife, daughter, and cat.
Join us as we cover subjects ranging from Dracula to mad scientists, and more!
This month marks the twentieth anniversary of Mignola’s career-defining release of Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1. To celebrate, Dark Horse is proclaiming March 22, 2014 as Hellboy Day, with events happening in comic shops around the country. The publisher will produce an all-new sampler comic featuring two classic Mignola tales and two new brand new stories by Mignola, Fabio Moon, and R. Sikoryak, as well as a Hellboy: The First 20 Years—an oversized hardcover that presents Mignola’s favorite covers and illustrations in gallery style, from his first drawing of the character through twenty years of publishing.
My favorite place, or the best place for making shit up for me, is the shower. The best place for writing stuff down is the drawing table—I can’t write in front of the computer.
Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.
Easy. I never recovered from reading Dracula. It’s got to be Dracula.
What was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?
The gateway is probably comics, which led to Norse mythology, and then somewhere along the line, Dracula. Dracula was the big one.
Two roads diverge in a yellow wood: one leads toward a mysterious laboratory in which a mad scientist is currently ensconced. The other winds its way toward a tower inhabited by a powerful wizard. You could really use a snack, and it would be nice to have somewhere to crash for the night—which road do you choose?
I would think a mad scientist’s lab would smell worse and be more dangerous, so I would go with the wizard castle, gothic thing. That’s more my speed. I’m not as afraid of a guy turning me into a turd as a guy using a scalpel on me.
Name your three favorite fictional villains of all time.
Dracula, of course. Fu Manchu—I haven’t read much with Fu Manchu, but I just love him as an image so much. And the Witch from The Wizard of Oz, because in the books, she had a hat that gave her control over winged monkeys, and I just think that’s a hard thing to beat.
Heroes vs. Villains—which are more fun to write?
Villains are much easier to write, because they seem to have a lot more to say. Maybe that just says more about me as a writer. I certainly find villains much more interesting, as a rule.
If you could find one previously undiscovered book by a non-living author, who would it be? Why?
Probably William Hope Hodgson. He got blown up in World War I, and I can’t help but think he had another The House on the Borderland in him.
What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Easy: The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Andersen. Another one of those ones that when I read it, I never recovered from it. It’s just my all-time favorite thing.