Mike Mignola, the Eisner Award-winning illustrator/writer and creative mind behind "Hellboy" and its spinoff titles known as the Mignolaverse, has rarely ventured into outer space during his impressive 30-year career.
Exploring the darker dimensions of the supernatural horror genre and summoning an extraordinary menagerie of vampires, ghosts, demons and severely twisted souls is where he's most comfortable.
But a pulpy new sci-fi series debuting next week titled "Radio Spaceman" takes readers on a treacherous journey to another world that will feel oddly familiar yet distinctly original to Mignola fans when the first of two parts is released by Dark Horse Comics on Wednesday, March 2.
Written by Mignola with artwork courtesy of illustrator Greg Hinkle ("Airboy," "Black Cloud") and veteran Mignolaverse colorist Dave Stewart, this two-issue limited event marks the comic book debut of a character Mignola conjured up while creating pencil sketches at the outbreak of the pandemic. "Radio Spaceman" exists outside of the shared Hellboy Universe continuity and intertwined "Joe Golem" and "Baltimore" storylines.
"'Radio Spaceman' is very much its own thing," Mignola told Space.com. "It started as nothing but a sketch done for fun, and then that name popped into my head. But still, it wasn't anything. Then a few more sketches. Then, quite by surprise, a couple of lines of dialogue popped into my head and suddenly it was a comic — or, it would be a comic, if I could find just the right artist to draw it. Fortunately, I did! Greg Hinkle has breathed a whole lot of life into this odd little thing, and suddenly here is a whole new character and a new world, totally unrelated to all the various other Mignola comic book universes. Only time will tell where this will go."
This steampunk space mystery ignites when a starship crash-lands on a strange planet and some surviving members of the crew inexplicably vanish. Our odd android hero Radio Spaceman is recruited to locate their whereabouts.
However, this disturbing alien world harbors secrets far beyond just the missing crew, and Radio Spaceman soon finds himself in a hazardous environment he might not escape from.
"The idea of building an entire world around a couple of Mike's very distinctive sketches was a little daunting," Hinkle told Space.com. "But after I read the story, there were too many interesting pieces for me to be anxious about it for long. Without having to depict much of a recognizable modern setting, it was kind of like being set free. If something needed another hose, or if a face needed some extra lumps, Mike was very encouraging. It's been a whole lot of fun to get to work with so few restrictions."
Dark Horse Comics' "Radio Spaceman #1" lands in comic shops on March 2, 2022.
Fans can also purchase "Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook" at Amazon.com, with all proceeds going to Chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen.
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