Mignolaverse.com interview with Dark Horse editor Katii O'Brien
For our 52 days of Hellboy celebration, Mignolaverse.com had a chance to sit down with Dark Horse, and Hellboy/B.P.R.D./Mignolaverse editor Katii O’Brien. We talked about the future releases from Dark Horse, as well as the future of the Mignolaverse series itself. Now Katti, as one editor to another, please give me the secret handshake…
Mignolaverse.com - With all the omnibus work you did last year, are you burned out on them, or are you ready to get that Lobster Johnson or Witchfinder collection set and printed? Do you also have any new Library editions planned?
Katii O’Brien - It’s not about being burned out, it’s more about what we have ready to "omnibize" and what we don’t. We want to get stories in chronological order in the omnibus, so some series are easier to start on than others. We jump around more in some stories. To use your examples, Witchfinder is much easier than Lobster Johnson in this way. No plans for more Library Editions, we’re leaving those just for Hellboy.
You mentioned the Yule Cat in an Mignolaversity article. We love to cover the folklore behind some of the Mignolaverse monsters, so is a pre-established subject you'd like to see a report on, or something you'd like to see explored outside of the Winter Specials?
There’s certainly much to research, so I say surprise us!
When Universal Pictures released Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, there was a slew of Dark Horse material released to coincide. Do you have any plans relative to the new film?
We aren’t doing any new tie-in books, but we did do the second edition of The Wild Hunt with a new foreword from Mike (featuring a very charming story about him trying on a costume piece on-set), and we’re also doing Hellboy: The Art of the Motion Picture. Our Hellboy omnibus program was ramped up so that we’d have them all out in time for the movie, it’s good to have all the core material available for movie-goers who want to try out the comics. It works out nicely for us that the 25th anniversary of Seed of Destruction is just a month before the film comes out as well, so Hellboy Day is just three weeks before the release.
You expressed some excitement about the current Crimson Lotus miniseries. Are there other tertiary or background characters you'd like to see? John from the Hellboy Book Club would like to request the Scorpion Masked Man as seen in some promotional art, if you're taking requests.
There are a few that I’d like us to explore more, some of which are already in early development. Scorpion Masked Man would be something, but we haven’t considered that particular character for a mini. Mike and I regularly joke about the goose from Koshchei the Deathless, which is actually Baba Yaga’s daughter, getting her own story or just getting thrown back in somewhere. Mike tried to get that goose on almost every Koshchei cover and it didn’t work out (chronicled in the Koshchei sketchbook section), so maybe we’ll find her a new home. I think the characters in Hell are the most interesting, so it would be great to wander around there a bit more.
Questions from Mignolaverse contributors:
When you were getting ready to take over editing for the whole continuity, how difficult was it, and where their any super weird facts you were surprised to find in researching?" - Daniel LaPlante
It was challenging in a way, but more because of the workload of the job than the story continuity. I had already been assisting on the books for two and half years so I was pretty familiar, but some of the stories don’t have clear dates on them, so doing something like our massive timeline poster (which started with about ten times as many events on it) can be tricky.
Every now and then there will be some random detail that I don’t remember and cannot find an answer to, and then I’ll call Mike and he’ll help me. Things like character names, and more often it’s actually characters that do not have names, in which case we leave them nameless most of the time. Surprisingly, these questions usually have more to do with licensing than the actual books. We don’t necessarily worry about a nameless character too much in a story, but if they’re getting put into a game or included in a piece of art going on a product, we can get those questions.
"I wonder if [you] and the rest of the creative team treat the villain books (Rise of the Black Flame, Voice of the Dragon, et al) like one big series or if they’re each approached like completely separate entities." - Brian Levy
We don’t consider them a single big series, and when we’re creating them we do approach them as individual stories, but we do talk about collecting them together at some point. We have some other standalone stories that are not all villains (Frankenstein Underground, Koshchei the Deathless, The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed), so we approach all of those as a whole and will eventually put a few of them together in some omnibus format further down the line.
"What got you into the editing business in the first place, or what got you into the comics industry? On that same line, how did you end up with the Mignolaverse team?" - Brian Levy
I steered myself toward editing because I love stories. I get to work on each comic from the initial discussion stage, either over the phone, or at lunch, or on an email, all the way through to coloring notes and lettering placements to make sure the creators’ work is the best it can be. My foot in the door with comics was two consecutive editorial internships at Marvel, where I worked on titles like Amazing Spider-Man and Avengers vs. X-Men. It was one of the editors I worked for, Lauren Sankovitch, who recommended me to Scott Allie, and that’s how I joined the Hellboy team.
"Katii, would you like to address the rumor that i am starting right now that there is going to be a Kate Corrigan solo book..?" - Alex Aronowicz
That is a new rumor, indeed! All I can say is that we don’t have plans for it, but never say never.
You heard it here first folks. 100% conformation of both a new Kate Corrigan solo series as well as an astonishing 55 new series being announced as in the works for 2020. Hellboy at the Olympics? Sure, I’ll read that. I feel like the Lobster may have the edge at the decathlon though.
A major thank you to Kaii O’Brien and Dark Horse for their time, insight, and information. You can read all of our previous interviews HERE, follow Katii’s work through Dark Horse Digital, and enjoy our 52 Days of Hellboy, right here, right now! on Mignolaverse.com.