Image: Dark Horse Comics

Hellboy is having a big 25th anniversary year. His cinematic revival lands next month, and Dark Horse Comics is celebrating the quarter-century milestone by reuniting two of Hellboy’s most vital creators. Artist Duncan Fegredo took over Hellboy’s visuals when the comic’s creator, Mike Mignola, switched into a primarily writing role in 2007, and the two worked together for five years on astounding stories that enriched the character’s mythology before ultimately killing him off and sent him to hell. (A collection of Mignola and Fegredo’s past Hellboy stories is currently available in Hellboy Omnibus Volume 3: The Wild Hunt, with the titular tale serving as the basis for the new Hellboy movie.)

Cover by Duncan Fegredo
Image: Dark Horse Comics

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But death in comics is rarely permanent. Hellboy has returned, bringing the former collaborators back together in June’s Hellboy And The B.P.R.D.: The Beast Of Vargu one-shot. It’s the first issue in a new era for Hellboy and the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, marking Fegredo’s return to comics after four years away. “I’ve been conspicuously absent from comic book shelves for a while,” says Fegredo. “After MPH with Mark Millar I drew some storyboards for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and some story work I really can’t talk about for Pixar. I mean, how do you top that? If I had a bucket list those two would be right up there: huge, massive ticks.”

“The plan was then to take time out, throw some oil paint around, be an artist—except a broken ankle and surgery put that on the to do pile once more,” says Fegredo. “Well, that and Mike Mignola enticing me back to Hellboy with The Beast of Vargu. Hellboy was, and always will be, a massive tick for me, too. The year is 1962. Hellboy finds himself amongst the crumbling remains of a Romanian castle, a mystery to be solved … and the rest is classic Hellboy. It has been an absolute pleasure to return to drawing Hellboy, and I think it shows on the page ... It’s like I never left.”

This exclusive first look at the covers and interior art for Hellboy & The B.P.R.D.: The Beast Of Vargu, on sale June 19, showcases the richness of Fegredo’s artwork with colorist Dave Stewart, capturing the chiseled quality of Mignola’s aesthetic while bringing impeccable detail to the page. “He’s just a genius,” says Mignola of his collaborator. “Duncan brings not just an amazing amount of research and detail to everything he does but also breathes real life into his characters. Even now I can’t imagine anyone who could have done what he did with our giant Hellboy super epic—Darkness Calls, The Wild Hunt, and The Storm And The Fury. And, frankly, I figured that after that he’d have gotten Hellboy out of his system for good. I’ve never been so glad to be wrong. The Beast Of Vargu is an odd one and there are some bits in there... Well, it’s not a story I would have written for anyone else.”

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