Ahh, Mike Mignola. Probably the biggest influence on my comic work, and without doubt, at the top of the pile of my favourite artists ever.
Without even realising(to start off with), I've been a fan of his work for a very long time, back to his earlier DC days, with Cosmic Odyssey and Gotham by Gaslight. When I could, I'd buy anything that Mignola had worked on (even the original Rocket Raccoon!), and can remember picking up the first collected Hellboy, Seed of Destruction, twenty years ago. Twenty years, just think about that... I'm reeling.
Needless to say, Hellboy rapidly became my favourite comic book, avidly collecting every thing I could, and digging the way his universe expanded with the BPRD titles. Mignola and his world are a big influence on my work in comics, culminating in Patches McGinley last year.
I could write for ages about Mignola and the big red guy, but I won't. I'll let my art do the talking instead, with a watercolour piece I did last night to celebrate Hellboy's 20th Birthday. It's my take on him at twenty, full of adolescent piss and vinegar (As Tom Waits might put it... there's another Hellboy connection...), acne riddled, and smoking Lucky Strikes. (And before anyone says, I realised I'd forgotten his tail this morning! Call it artistic licence!)
Happy Birthday Hellboy. Have a cigar on me!