Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Hell of a Boy!

Recently I was asked by Christopher Golden to write a 'Hellboy' story for a proposed anthology, Oddest Jobs. I knew nothing about Hellboy but I usually accept a challenge and so I said yes. Dark Horse Comics were kind enough to send me a stack of graphic novels for educational purposes. I read these, considered the character and his background, and then set to work. The result was 'The Feet of Sciron' and I believe that my story has now been accepted. It's a very weird piece of work for sure!

To be honest I suspect I was rather an unsuitable choice of author for this project, and when I began writing my story I was filled with doubts about my ability to bring it off. My style and ideas are too strange and extreme for mainstream publishers. There are other difficulties: good versus evil isn't something I do, but the Hellboy mythos is concerned with that particular struggle and with personal and universal morality. I'm a bloody minded relativist.

But I bore in mind the example of Philip José Farmer, an intellectual writer who had no hesitation in taking inspiration from pulp forms, from comics, films and other expressions of popular culture. Farmer accepted the protagonists and ideas of such genres on their own terms but he also played postmodernist jokes with them. He was a writer who retold the story of Tarzan in the style of William Burroughs (instead of Edgar Rice Burroughs!)

So when I wrote my Hellboy story I used Farmer as my general guide. I therefore included Farmer as one of my characters, the sort of thing he liked to do with real people. There's a circle here, or part of a circle, or a shape approximating a circle: maybe an ellipse... Incidentally, the art used in the Hellboy comics is truly amazing!

Wow, Rhys, mucho envy here. Hellboy is one of my favorite comics; Mignola is a genius.
if one promises to write something they send you comics...
Gotta take a hit on the writing business, it has perks!!
Very cool! I picked up on your PJF mention in the story a few weeks ago and notified my pal Mike Croteau, who mentioned it on the Official PJF Home Page a few days ago ( I've got the book on order and can't wait to read the whole story!

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