Originally when Hellboy began, it was drawn and written by Mike Mignola, but about halfway through the series, Mignola’s workload expanded exponentially it seemed, with him writing for B.P.R.D. and providing cover art and stories to several other comics such as Witchfinder. To lessen his load and meet schedules, he passed the pencilling duties on to Duncan Fegredo. For the last several years, Fegredo has been supplying the artwork for every Hellboy issue that’s part of the ongoing present-day story, while other artists like Richard Corben draw flashback episodes and tangential stories. This summers 3 issue mini-series The Fury marks Fegredo’s end with the series, although he might start supplying flashback art in the future. From what I understand, this was amicable. Starting next year, Mignola will return as the artist and writer.
As excited as I am to see Mignola providing interior art again (something he hasn’t done since The Chapel of Moloch), I hate to see Fegredo go. His work is in many ways similar to Mignola’s, but he brings in a special attention to detail whereas Mignola goes for stylistic spareness.
It’s clear that for his last story arc with the series, Fegredo has given it his all. The artwork in this issue is notches above the great work he’s done in the past. There’s so much detail put into the backgrounds of the panels. For instance, much of the issue deals with a big war that erupts, complete with clashing armies, and it’s epic in scope in a way that’s more similar to B.P.R.D. than Hellboy. Fegredo draws these scenes in a breathtaking way, packing corners of panels with details, while leaving other spaces blank, allowing Dave Stewart a chance to show off his inventive style.
I’ve collected just about every Hellboy issue (it’s 56 issues long), and the ones I love the most are the early ones featuring Mignola. At first, there wasn’t much I wanted more than for him to return as the artist. Now I’m not so sure. I’m hoping Fegredo at least takes up another project with Dark Horse. Coincidentally, Guy Davis recently stopped pencilling for B.P.R.D. and I’m sad to see him go too.
This is a pretty tumultuous year for comics.
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