CfP: Mignola’s Comics Art (Extended)

Publication
The Mignolaverse: Critical Essays on Hellboy and the Comics Art of Mike Mignola
Edited by Sean A. Guynes
Publisher: Sequart Organization
Stichtag: 01.05.2015

The Mignolaverse: Critical Essays on Hellboy and the Comics Art of Mike Mignola is an investigation of the art, narratives, and fictional universes created by Mike Mignola. Both non-academic and academic articles are welcome, but what is desired overall is a critical interest in and insight into the narrative worlds, neo-Gothic menageries, and lauded but understudied career of Mike Mignola.

Along with his most famous creation, Hellboy, Mignola ushered in a lush world of monsters and magic that builds on, retells, and makes distinctive embellishments to the history of entertainment culture—from Universal’s monster movies to fin de siècle Gothic novels, from American war films to paranoiac Cold War conspiracies, from Mexican luchadores to Nazi occultists. In an attempt to capture his virtuosity, Alan Moore described Mignola’s art as “German expressionism meets Jack Kirby” (“Foreword” to Hellboy: Wake the Devil TPB).

In addition to Hellboy, B.P.R.D., and related characters/comics, as well as a slew of mini-series and one-shots from various independent publishers, Mignola’s dossier includes stints at Marvel and DC beginning in the 1970s, where he garnered praise especially for his distinctive cover art. Mignola has also worked as an artist on a number of films and recently began publishing prose works with novelist Christopher Golden.

This anthology will be a crucial addition to the discussion about Mike Mignola and his legacy, particularly since the only other work of any significant length is TwoMorrows’ Comic Book Artist #26 (2002), which includes a featured interview with Mignola, a gallery of some of his more famous images, and a catalog of Mignola’s comics art. The Mignolaverse anthology will therefore be the first book-length engagement with his work.

This collection will offer a diverse range of essays that interrogate the artistic, literary, and political power and legacies of Mike Mignola’s work, with particular interest in the versatility and breadth of Mignola’s abilities as a storyteller. Mirroring Mignola’s career, this anthology will be broad in its attempt to approach an understanding of Mignola’s comics and their/his legacy, while keeping a distinct interest in Mignola’s most revered accomplishments: Hellboy and the (re)invigoration of the Gothic into mainstream comics.

If you’re interested in writing an essay for this anthology, a list of suggested, guiding topics can be found below. We welcome essays on any topic related to Mike Mignola and his comics art or legacy: you may pitch a different topic if what you are interested in is not listed. If you would like to write multiple essays, include a brief synopsis of each, listing them in the order of your interest. Synopses should be no longer than 250 words and should address what—specifically and in detail—you hope to address in your essay, including what source material you want to write about. Please also include a tentative title and any information about yourself that you find relevant.

Potential Topics:

  • Mignola at Marvel
    • Work as inker and, later, penciller
    • Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure (1990, with Walt Simonson)
  • Mignola at DC
    • Mignola and Batman
    • Gotham by Gaslight
  • Mignola as cover artist
  • Mignola and the history/development of Dark Horse Comics
  • The creation of Hellboy
  • Any essay on the many Hellboy and B.P.R.D. series or events
    • Essays on various Hellboy mini-series or storylines
    • B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth
    • An essay on the Hellboy universe cross-over Plague of Frogs, collected in several hardcover editions
    • Essays on Hellboy-universe series:
      • Lobster Johnson
      • Abe Sapien
      • Witchfinder
      • Sledgehammer 44
  • Any essay on a series of Mignola’s non-Hellboy/B.P.R.D. comics:
    • Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
    • Baltimore series (mostly two- and three-issue series, with several one-shots; originally an illustrated novel, 2007—see below on doing prose works)
    • ZombieWorld: Champion of the Worms
    • Jenny Finn: Doom Messiah
    • Amazing Screw-On Head
    • Iron Wolf: Fires of the Revolution (with Chaykin et al.)
  • Any essay on Mignola’s prose works (usually done with Christopher Golden)
    • Since most of Mignola’s prose works are “illustrated novels,” any essay on his prose should discuss the relationship between the images and narrative, and the relationship of the prose works to Mignola’s larger oeuvre
    • Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire (2007)
    • Father Gaetano’s Puppet Catechism (2012)
    • Joe Golem and the Drowning City (2012)
  • Any essay on specific or repeated aspects of Mignola’s comics art
    • For example, the role of the “Gothic place” in his comics (essay topic already taken)
  • Any essay on literary, cultural, mythological, or legendary influences on Mignola’s work, with special attention given to the way in which Mignola changes the original story and what his retelling/re-appropriation adds to the legacy of that story
  • Mignola and films
    • Mignola’s work on films
      • For example Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992, he also did the comic book movie adaptation for Topps Comics) and Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), etc.
    • Mignola’s works on film
      • Hellboy films as comic book adaptations; Amazing Screw-On Head
  • The development, popularization, and influence of Mignola’s aesthetic
    • The art(ists) that influenced Mignola
    • Mignola’s influence on other artists
    • Change in aesthetic from his early to later work
  • Mignola as comic book artist vs. Mignola as comic book writer
  • Mignola as collaborator
    • Any essay on Mignola’s longtime collaboration with artists such as Dave Stewart, John Arcudi, Scott Allie, Guy Davis, etc. and how his role in their careers (and vice versa) has influence the comics they created elsewhere or independently

We are open to other essay suggestions beyond these. In other words, if you’d like to write about something that you didn’t see in the list above (or if you’d like to morph or meld together any of the above topics), please write up an abstract of that, and send it over. We’re interested in everything, as long as it keeps a distinct interest in Mignola’s most revered accomplishments: Hellboy and the (re)invigoration of the Gothic into mainstream comics.

Essays should be between 2,500 and 5,000 words.

Please send abstracts to Sequart’s Editor in Chief, Mike Phillips, at sequart.mike@gmail.com, or to me, Sean Guynes, atsaguynes@jphaas.net by May 1st.

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