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July 26, 2006


Kim Larsen

Considering how much you have changed in Hellboy (don't get me started on Kate again), I'm very, very surprised at how anal (your own word) you are about this animation of ASoH. I enjoyed it very, very much - and thought it did wonders with the style they worked with - was it a try to emulate Mike? Ofcourse it was, and that was part of the fun!
I have still to see any of the Hellboy Animated, so I wont pass any judgement on it ... But I think it's unbelivabla that you have placed yourself on a pedistal !


Sad to see this comparison come up again. Why does it have to look like Mike's work? I seem to recall how everyone went crazy and praised The Batman Animated series when it came out and it certainly didn't look like any Batman in the comics.

I really loved the story and animation for ASoH and I thought they really caught Mike's style. That said, the animation seemed very simple and stiff to me.

The animated Hellboy, on the other hand, looks more polished and full of energy. It is exactly what I would expect it to look like. And, as Mike explained on the Comic Con panel, each incarnation of Hellboy should have a different look to separate each other.

I am excited as hell to have both projects in production. I wouldn't change a thing regarding how each was done.

Just my opinion, of course.


Kim, I try to make this production blog real. It's not a puff piece, it's not edited by others (although there were veiled threats in the early days), it's just me trying to give people a look into the creative process. It's something I'd like to see more productions do.

Back and forth debating is not something I have time for, but you've been here a long time - despite the Kate design (which we changed, btw, although it probably won't be visible under her bulky coat). So I want to clarify.

I am not putting myself or this production on a pedestal. You'll note that I asked people to vote for Screw-on Head. And I thought it was funny. What I've tried to show is how I looked at Mike's work and the stories we wanted to tell, and realized that if we were told to copy the comic verbatim, our movies would not be as effective given our time and budget. Saying pen and ink backgrounds make a show looks cheap is about how we've been conditioned by feature animation, not about the care that went into the preproduction of ASoH.

Mood and atmosphere are especially important in BLOOD AND IRON, much more than the first movie. My hope for these projects is that the fans who want it to look like Mike's work will be able to enjoy it. At the end, they may say it would've been better with the comic design but I can't do anything about that.

Thanks for hanging in.

Cam B

I personally believe that, at the moment, SoH is exactly what television needs. Enough with this "reality TV" crap, and those whiny teen dramas. We need someone to take a risk and pump out something new, exciting, and fresh, which is how I viewed SoH. Now, I haven't read the comic, but the show still grabbed me and hooked me in. I enjoyed the show, and I am hoping it gets enough positive response that they continue. If they do, Sci-Fi will have a great show on their hands, and I believe it will get more people to read the comics, too.

Tim Draayer

This is something that comes up in every piece that is done based on some other medium's original. The simple fact is that the total feel of the original can't be captured because there are always thinks about one medium that don't work in another.

Being anal about striving to keep things close is actually a great way to be, but as was mentioned, the Hellboy Animated is another work and has a life of its own. Each will be uniquely Hellboy and has merits of its own.

I enjoyed watching the panel and the Animatic looked great.

Keep it up, Tad.


well..I checked out the Hellboy comicon footage and I saw the screenshots....

Its infinetely more complex and detailed then I thought it would be from early pics and such...but man did you guys pulled off some cool stuff..

and as mentioned its got the mignola elements..and at the same time it doesnt. which suits me just fine.

Its unfortunate that we didnt get to see the slower scenes however...action sequences usually read off the same...its the inbetween pacing that sets it up and makes it worthwhile...
Hopefully we'll see some more footage later...for now im just hoping for a better quality version of what I saw on screen.....
Awesome job and looking forward to more teases.


just checked out the pilot for the Screw on HEad..HOLY CRAP
S'perfect in every sense...except for the mouth movement ( very anime and akward looking ) and some of the animation parts which were not up to par or consistent with the more mignola looking sequences.

this looks like it could be the best cartoon ever...
Very original designs and I love how it incorporated the comic story and quirky humour.fantastic voices as well

Like I said..STEP UP THE ANIMATION and flow and this show will be a done deal. Seeing as its the pilot...
i hope they can make those improvements and more...i hope they can make it superfluous.

David Petersen

Choice or no choice it's nice to see that the intense amount of thought that went into preproduction is different.

Mike enjoys seeing other people's takes on Hellboy and so do I. Even though they didn't get selected, I enjoyed seeing almost all of the 'contender' artwork for this series. There were some memorable versions in the wierd tales as well (Cassady comes to mind).

I think because the production team really invested themselves in creating a new version a new look a new visual language for this world, it will pay off in the long run. It would be a shame to put so much work in for it only to be simply derivitive and never equal to Mike's work.

Sterling Barker

Hey. I'd like to thank you for encouraging people to check out ASoH and vote for it on scifi.com. I've seen the pilot and was blown away.

I'd also like to say that I was pretty impressed by the Hellboy Animated comic con footage. It looked a lot better (in my opinion) than the trailer. I look forward to learning more about it as it nears release.

Kim Larsen

Hey Tad -
First of all THANKS for the incredible insight you have given in this blog, it is so very, very interesting to learn what goes on behind the sceens. And secondly, sorry if I sound like a jackass before (I think I did) - I might have read your post wrong.
And thirdly, I just want to point out that I've NEVER thought that you should do HELLBOYanimated in Mikes style (like they semi-did on ASoH) - I absolutly LOVE the style you are working with!!! -I just didn't care very much for the "re-boot" I felt Kate had gotten.
But hey, I'll shut up now!

I'm very, very excited about getting to see the final result! I saw the teaser on gotohellboy, and it look very promising.

All the best -


It was so relaxing to show the opening sequence of the movie at San Diego because it was the real thing. People could hate it or love it but it was the real thing. No trailer or teaser can equal that sort of presentation.

So if you've only seen the teaser you can see the first sequence on YouTube
Even though it's a video shot from the screen, it gives you plenty to look at.


I think it looks great - if people can't open their mind enough except a new artistic interpretation of hellboy - then that's their loss. It was Hellboy all the way!

That was way more cinematic than the screw on head short! Beats it hands down!

Good work!


I wrote except - should be accept! Stupid me.


Well you stage a farce differently than an action adventure. I doubt if it matters when your dealing with hidden universes inside turnips!


I actually thought that the slightly..."stiffer", or whatever you want to call it, animation in ASoH was part of what gave it what one might call its charm. In a world where incredibly simplistic flash animation is some of the most-viewed content on the internet, I don't really think your average internet-generation Joe is going to gauge something so much on quality of animation.

Take a look at the vast majority of anime, which is chiefly action lines and static faces with animated mouths -- the stuff has been insanely popular in Japan for decades, and it's getting to be pretty darn hot stuff here in the states, too. I've always been of the opinion that american kids/adults/etc are attracted to anime becuase it's something different than the Disney-esque style and story that pretty much any popular American animation has.

If you take a look at the myriad flash animations that have risen to popularity over the internet, essentially all of them have what one might call stiff or poor animation - after all they're mostly static images being moved across the screen. But I think in some cases it's this very lack of the smoothness of traditional animation that gives them their own unique style, and with that style comes a certian sensibility and humor. In the same way that film noir is defined by heavy shadows, horizontal blinds and gritty visuals, this "internet-style" is defined by its stiff animation and off-beat sense of humor. Not only is it wildly popular on the internet, but on real TV too - just check out the majority of the Adult Swim lineup.

I thought ASoH was awesome. I laughed so hard I got a bit light-headed, and then filled out their survey with the highest marks I could give it. Admittedly, I haven't read the comic. I'm totally stoked for the Hellboy Animated movies too, and the footage shown at Comic-Con was pretty sweet. Whether or not either of these shows "perfectly capture Mike Mignola's art" is more or less irrelevant to me - if I want to see Mike's art, I can read one of his comic books.


I guess you were refering to my post seeing as I was the one who mentioned anime and maybe a slight improvement in the animation.
I complete agree with the immense popularity of anime in the Western world having something to do with it being the way it is. And Im no anime hater. Akira is my favorite animation film of all time.

I just think Asoh deserves more than the closed mouth-open mouth treatement. It just looks akward with Mikes style. It deserves more consideration
Something like the animated Spawn, which sports just as much shadow as Asoh, shows consistent flow in the animation as well as a consistent (anime-like )style throughout looked great....
Asoh just didnt seem to have the consistency visualy and I know its largely due to Mikes unique shading.
Im just hoping they can step it up and that SciFi takes into account the immense amount of applaud the show is getting so far to allow it take that step..because really..thats all it needs.
Everything else is perfect.


I have to admit being mildly annoyed by the Flash-y animation, but I still thought it was funny.

About the Comicon preview...very nice. But I thought from an earlier post that Peri Gilpin was doing Liz Sherman's voice, and that didn't sound like her, unless her voice is more versatile than I thought. Makes Liz sound really young, almost teenish.


Peri Gilpin is doing the voice of Kate Corrigan. Selma Blair is reprising her role as Liz.


I didn't think "Screw On Head" retained all of what was great about the comic, the comedy of it fell flat in a lot of places. However, it's exciting for Mignola fans because it was clear they tried very hard to stay close to Mignola's art style and vision. They gave Mike's unique work a lot of respect. With this Hellboy Animated stuff, it looks like some generic designer came in and did it. A toy company version.

You guys might be a little more humble about veering so far from the source material. You know how all those shitty movies come out where some film maker thinks they're improving on something and ditch the loyal fanbase?

That just might be you.


...or not.

Mike was INVOLVED with this. Check out the SDCC panel.

Pay attention, man.


What defines a loyal fan?
I say its someone who can understand the concious decisions of the original creators...Obviously not everyone will be satisfied but Mike was entirely aware of this from the start.
He wanted something new and fresh, a derivative of the comic, a world on its own, not a pure-recreation ( which is next to impossible when considering the calibre of his work )
I mean, take StarWars..I thought the clone wars was more entertaining than the newest three..but thats just me. Im positive the loyal StarWars fanbase doesnt agree with me there.

The movie was different from the comic, the animated version will be different, and the video game will most definetely be different.
What makes you a true fan is to at least understand the decision, even if you dont like it.

I love Hellboy comics and anything Mike draws. His style is amazing and I was hesitant at first as well. But once you go through this blog which took months and months of work, you see the process, you see how Mike was there every step of the way and you see how it evolved, and I for one respect that and look forward to the outcome.


Nail struck, hb.


..right into the stump of Hellboys horn...hopefully

( this would only make sense had you read Hellboy: THIRD WISH )


I'm a fan of Mignola, Hellboy and Screw-on Head, and I thought the Screw-on Head animated show was fabulous -- funny as hell and very evocative of the comic book. I watched it three times in a row and can't wait for the day when I can have it on DVD. I've followed this blog for a while, and have enjoyed previous posts. But this post seems to me like the voice of someone who is so married to his choices that he cannot see the merit of any other choices. By knocking the Screw-on Head show for its supposed faults (while getting himself off the hook with fans by telling us to vote for it), and by casting his own decisions as The One True Path, the author is trying to convince either us or himself that his every decision in this project has been absolutely unarguably right. In any case, methinks he doth protest too much.



Your comment made me go back and reread my original post. Chalk it up to the lack of nuance on the internet but I think I talked about a lot that I liked. The only real negatives were the very mild, "not as quirky as the comic" which I qualified in the next sentence and the admittedly anal discussion of how well it captured the look of Mike's work.

The explanation of how we arrived at the art direction we used was just that, an explanation of the process. One True Path? Hardly. There's plenty of ways we could've gone but this is the way that I thought best fit the material and I tried to show my thought process.

Ironically, we received a sequence from overseas that is so dark that the characters come very close to having the "Mignola black" shadows on their faces. I had to go into several scenes with Photoshop to change the lighting patterns on the faces to make the characters read - something I couldn't do on a series and something I can't do to as many scenes as I'd like to.

And today I watched a sequence that just looked plain mediocre. It was a conversation among Hellboy, Liz and Abe and it required better acting than we got. I can't fix it without sending the overseas studios animation key drawings which I can't because it's not in the budget. I wish the art direction was more exotic to at least make the backgrounds more interesting. Seeing that was an emotional lowpoint for this week. Thank God the end of the Heads sequence came back looking good. "What happened to your heads?" got a laugh due to Ron Perlman's delivery.

You may not like the way the movies come out, but please don't think I'm strutting around, cocksure of my decisions.

I don't want to lock this thread but I think we've covered all the ground. Please, no more letters unless you have something new to add and no letters of support needed.

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