Interview with Danielle Renee from the Hellboy Book Club Podcast

Interview with Danielle Renee from the Hellboy Book Club Podcast

This is Kevin Alford from Mignolaverse.com and B.P.R.D. News. Today I’m joined by Danielle Renee´, one of the hosts of the Hellboy Book Club, available through PodBean, and the usual sources. We’re going to talk about Danielle’s history with the Mignolaverse, Podcasting, and entertainment in general.

Mignolaverse.com

First, thank you for making such an entertaining podcast. I think your personality really matches perfectly with the other hosts to make things entertaining.

Danielle Renee´

Hey there! Yeah, thanks so much for having me.  I appreciate the love.  John is the brains of the operation, I'm just kind of along for the ride, honestly.

 Danielle performing with Only Beast  Credit: Pat Laughrey

Danielle performing with Only Beast

Credit: Pat Laughrey

Mignolaverse.com

You seem pretty active with things.  What’s your level of experience with the Mignolaverse?

Danielle Renee´

Well I've read a few things here and there. [Hellboy Book Club host] John has been telling me about Hellboy for a while, and I've always been interested in it.

Mignolaverse.com

How much did you know about the Mignolaverse before you all started the pod? Sorry, before y’all started the pod?

Danielle Renee´

John would show me stories that he though I would like and he'd be one hundred percent right every time so I finally said, "Hey, I want to really get into this, how do I do it?” He showed me a reading order and we talked about doing it like a book club, which we've done together for other things, like The Sword.

Mignolaverse.com

Is this your first podcast, or similar entertainment project?

Danielle Renee´

Oh yeah, I’ve never done a podcast in my life. But John has always really been drawn to Hellboy and the Mignolaverse. It’s been really special to him and gradually became special to me as well.

Mignolaverse.com

Did you have any experience with comics at all before this?

Danielle Renee´

I've been a fan of comics my whole life. That’s how John and I got to know one another: comics and music and all of that.

Mignolaverse.com

What kind of comics did you like before, and has the podcast or Hellboy changed your opinions?

 Credit:  Marcos Martin

Danielle Renee´

I've always been a fan of the X-Men and whatever related teams and books were going on. That got me into the more cosmic shit, like Doctor Strange, et cetera, but I would read almost anything. I mean i'll read almost anything if a friend tells me its worth reading. I'll read someone's zine.

Mignolaverse.com

What was your first Hellboy comic?

 Credit:  Mike Mignola

Credit: Mike Mignola

Danielle Renee´

The Wolves of St. August. Then onto The Third Wish.

Mignolaverse.com

This was before the podcast started?

Danielle Renee´

Yeah, that was a while back. Long time ago… eight years ago, probably.

Mignolaverse.com

Originally, what appealed to you the most about the Mignolaverse?

Danielle Renee´

The art, straight away. The seemingly effortless communication of it. I mean, of course I know Mike Mignola works very hard. He posts about drawing all day and then scrapping it all, so I don’t mean effortless in that way. Its just a very beautiful, effective, communicative style.

Mignolaverse.com

John said Mignola was his favorite artist in the Mignolaverse. Do you agree on that front? Have you seen many of the other related artists yet?

Danielle Renee´

Everyone's gonna have their own style and their own voice, and i'm always interested in another interpretation of this particular body of work. But yeah, I’m gonna have to go with Mignola if we're talking about Hellboy and related stories.

Mignolaverse.com

It’s hard to go against the master

Danielle Renee´

The Mignolaverse is full of a lot of wonderful, skilled artists, but yeah, it's hard to not go with the man himself.

Mignolaverse.com

I’d like to think Rasupitn is Mignola’s self-insertion character to the Mignolaverse.

Danielle Renee´

[Laughs] You never know!

Mignolaverse.com

Do you have a favorite comic or series yet? Also, which is your favorite character so far?

Danielle Renee´

Oh man, this kind of thing is so tough for me.

Mignolaverse.com

If you can’t narrow it down, we’ll accept a list.

Danielle Renee´

We haven’t made it that far in as a group yet, but so far The Island and The Third Wish are strong contenders. Character is tough…

Mignolaverse.com

Who’s the first to mind?

Danielle Renee´

I love all the witches and shit, man: all the monsters. The Ogdru Jahad, Rasputin, Hecate, all that.

Mignolaverse.com

Well good news coming for you, but I won’t spoil it.

Danielle Renee´

[Laughs] Yeah, i'm aware. It’s bad.

Mignolaverse.com

No question, but you do prefer the bad guys in the Mignolaverse?

Danielle Renee´

I don’t even know if they're "bad guys". That’s the thing: its a very big story with a lot of very big things happening. Hellboy is obviously a good guy

Mignolaverse.com

Good point. I think you’ll get a lot more conflicted as it goes on as well.

Danielle Renee´

And anyone aligning themselves with Nazis is definitely a bad guy for sure. The straight magical beings who aren’t a part of that in between shit, [who knows?]

 Credit:  Mike Mignola

Credit: Mike Mignola

Mignolaverse.com

Oh I think your feeling on the whole Nazi group is pretty well documented.

Danielle Renee´

[Laughs] Right?

Mignolaverse.com

Is there anything you’re looking forward to that you might have been teased on or anticipated?

Danielle Renee´

Obviously, I'm a huge fan of the mythology shit. So, finding out the secret creation of the world made me want to know more about the secret destinies of all these people. That being said, I don’t mind the monster of the week issues. Hellboy in Hell is apparently a thing. So that should be quote un-quote "fun".

Mignolaverse.com

Surely is. Be prepared for a heartbreaker.

41858709_1650254585103782_153620706616147968_n.jpg

Danielle Renee´

[Groans loudly]

Mignolaverse.com

I’m more interested in what you know about my favorite series, B.P.R.D.

Danielle Renee´

Sure! Yeah, not a whole lot, BUT, what I do know, I like, and i'm very excited for more. So far, I get kind of an X-Files vibe from the agents, like if the X-Files’ department were taken seriously and it had an entire staff, so it’s more of an ensemble. I very much dig that.

Mignolaverse.com

Is there a character you’re particularly excited for? Many of them have appeared in the films, so you probably have at least some experience.

Danielle Renee´

Well I love Liz, but that's kind of a given, probably. I’m a sucker for a glass cannon. We haven’t met Johann in the Book Club yet, but I’m excited to get to him.

I’m excited to get to Ted Howards. I know there's a mummy somewhere in there. Like I said, I’ve read some things here and there but I’m very excited to actually go through it all properly.

Mignolaverse.com

According to John, you’re about to start the B.P.R.D. series, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long. I mentioned in a comment you guys read on the show before about how Conqueror Worm really opens up the series. I think it’s fair to say B.P.R.D. follows directly from that. I’m looking forward to seeing your reactions to it all, and I think a lot of your listeners are as well.

Danielle Renee´

John and I used to read things and discuss them among ourselves, and it was always so valuable for us to do that. We would get so much out of it, kind of like our own little book club. That’s kind of how he came up with the idea for the podcast. just expanding on that idea a little bit. Yeah I’m very excited about [starting the B.P.R.D. series].

Mignolaverse.com

Since you’re a new fan surrogate, I think your reactions are probably seen as the most unadulterated. If you were talking to another new fan, what advice would you give them before starting?

Danielle Renee´

[Laughs] Well, just jump in! It’s helpful for me to have someone I can talk to about it, like John. These ideas can get kind of big, and its really fun to be able to talk to someone about these big things that are happening. Maybe even reflect a little bit on it, as far as how it fits into your own life. That’s what the Book Club is for: we're providing that for ourselves but we hope we're able to provide that for other people as well.

There's a very kind community built up around this reading material; around this art. Access that and find out a reading order you can follow. Find out some affordable ways to start reading, see if you can snag some second hand copies of the trades or just go digital.

 Logo: Danielle Renee  Credit: Pat Laughrey

Logo: Danielle Renee

Credit: Pat Laughrey

Mignolaverse.com

Now we know you and John are in a band together called Only Beast, but most of us don’t have bandmates to share comics with. Would you like to hear specifically from these kinds of fans on your show? Any particular questions or requests for fans to mail in about?

 Credit: Scot Dean

Credit: Scot Dean

Danielle Renee´

Anyone who wants to talk to us is welcome to do that. We'll talk to you about anything you wanna know.

Mignolaverse.com

So what would you consider to be a successful project in the future, or after you finish the podcast? What do you want the podcast to accomplish for you to be satisfied in the end?

Danielle Renee´

Well we've always got several projects going on at once. I mean, as a band we're in the middle of writing an album. I’ve got gallery shows I’m always getting ready for, John himself is a bit of a writer. As far as the podcast goes, if it brings people together and gets them talking about art and stories that are important to them, I think that's something worthwhile. John came up with the whole thing and then asked me to be a part of it and knowing the subject matter and how much it really affects people, I couldn’t say no. And it really is just a book club, man.

Mignolaverse.com

Luckily for all of us, the Hellboy community is one of the least toxic things in all of fandoms, and especially comic books, so I think you can be pretty successful with it.

Danielle Renee´

Yeah, exactly. [The fans are] just the nicest people you could ever meet.

Mignolaverse.com

Are you familiar with the Hellboy Board Game?

Danielle Renee´

[LAUGHS] NOT YET. But apparently we are about to FAMILIARIZE OURSELVES.

Mignolaverse.com

Excited?

Danielle Renee´

Oh yeah.

Mignolaverse.com

Who do you play first?

Danielle Renee´

I haven’t cracked it open yet!! Who's playable??


[spoiler: Wake the Devil]

Mignolaverse.com

The initial heroes are the people you know, including Rodger, and the background characters who basically all died in Wake the Devil.

[End spoiler]


Danielle Renee´

[Groan] I don’t even know. I have a feeling that’s gonna be something I’ll end up deciding while painting tiny figurines

Mignolaverse.com

Good plan. Best to choose someone you can enjoy being once you have it. Before we finish, we know you as a passionate fan, a hard rocker, and the first voice we hear every episode, but, what’s the most Important part of you, to you?

Danielle Renee´

[Laughs] We have to re-record that fucking jingle one of these days. I thought it was a scratch track, we recorded it with someone's phone; just awful.

Mignolaverse.com

Just blame Zinco!

Danielle Renee´

Right? It is what it is though. Reading Hellboy comics and talking to our friends. I’m just along for the ride like everyone else on this one. The Book Club is literally the most relaxing thing that I do.

 A rare vision of Only Beast in the daylight

A rare vision of Only Beast in the daylight

Mignolaverse.com

So you’re having a good time? It doesn’t feel like work?

Danielle Renee´

Well, something can be hard work but also enjoyable.  If something is personally important to you, it can be frustrating while enduring struggles to attain skills, but actually doing it is a joy.  My life is a fucking chaos of music and art, which is wonderful; I wouldn’t have it any other way. But then I get this nice relaxing discussion about awesome comics and it’s just a little bit different from what I'm used to.  I can sit the fuck back and be taken on a journey, rather than hack my way through a jungle.

Mignolaverse.com

That’s great to hear. Thank you from all of us fans of the series. Personally I really appreciate the amount of research and planning all of you do with the series. I can’t wait for every series, and to see how you like them.  Fans of the series already know, but where’s the best place to find you and your work with the Hellboy Book Club?

Danielle Renee´

Well John and I talking about comics kind of became us talking to other people about comics.  The Mignolaverse in particular is very special to us, and like you said earlier, the community surrounding that is unique.  There's a chance for a really fine discussion there.  We want to cultivate a very welcoming tone.  For anyone interested in going on that journey, or even revisiting that journey.  John has read his way through several times and is still getting so much out of it.  There's a lot of worthy ground to cover.

Mignolaverse.com

So that's your future?

Danielle Renee´

Yeah, I’ll be hanging with the boys at the Book Club, and John will be on the Facebook and an Instagram, wherever you like to hang out online.  We've got a band, you can check that out if you want.  The band is on Facebook and Bandcamp and Instagram and YouTube and all that crap.  We've got actual records; let us know if you like vinyl and we'll get it to you.

Mignolaverse.com

Very good. I just found out about the band from your show so I have a lot of exploring to do. Thank you for your time and background. I think listeners will enjoy knowing more about the major voices in the Hellboy community.

I look forward to more of your angry reactions to NazI characters, and I can't wait for you to dig into the greater Mignolaverse.

Danielle Renee´

I dunno if I’m a major voice, but it's a fun discussion for sure.  [Laughs] Yeah I can’t wait to really get into it.

Mignolaverse.com

Hopefully we can have you back in the future and see how your opinions have evolved.  From what I can tell, we've only scratched the surface.  Thanks for having me

That’s our time today with Danielle Renee, co-host of the Hellboy Book Club. Thank you for joining today and I look forward to your future episodes

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