This week coming straight out of Mignolaverse is Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors. The anthology not only contains original artwork from Mike Mignola and Chris Priestly, but also fifteen original stories based on the legendary character. We recently caught up with Rio Youers about his contribution to this epic collection of Hellboy stories.
Horror News Network: Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors is quite an impressive anthology. How does it feel to be part of this collection with your fellow Mignolaverse writers?
Rio Youers: It feels terrific. Chris Golden has assembled an immensely talented roster of writers, and I knew I’d have to knock my story out of the park to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them. It’s an honor to be included in this anthology.
Horror News Network: Do you ever find it challenging to work on such an iconic character like Hellboy?
Rio Youers: Yes and no. Hellboy is such an amazing character—replete with so many engaging and relatable traits—that writing him felt incredibly natural. Effortless, almost. But he has a rich and complex history. As does Liz Sherman, Abe Sapien, and everybody else at the B.P.R.D. The challenge came in ringing true with that history, serving the characters justly, and creating a story that doesn’t simply exist in, but that contributes to, the Hellboy universe.
Horror News Network: Your contribution to Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors is The Promised Smile, which centers around Casper Morrow’s first day on the job with the B.P.R. D. Tell us about the inspiration?
Rio Youers: Reading the comics, I always get the sense that the B.P.R.D is bubbling with untold stories. I think about the nameless red shirts and field agents whose histories we’ll never know, and I really wanted to explore that—to delve into the lower echelons. So, I created Casper Morrow, a seemingly nondescript red shirt who gets his moment to shine when he’s sent on an assignment with Hellboy. The inspiration is any number of those cop movies and TV shows where the rookie goes out with the hardened veteran, to learn from him or her, while staying true to their morals and identity. There’s invariably a conflict here that fascinates me. There’s also a little bit of Chris Taylor—Charlie Sheen’s character in Platoon—in Casper Morrow. A smart, well-meaning kid who wants to experience life, get his hands dirty, and who can step up to the plate when he needs to.
Horror News Network: Hellboy, as a character shows so many different sides, strong, cranky, sarcastic, and sweet. Although, he was born a demon, he has many human qualities. Do you think that is what makes him so endearing to comics fans?
Rio Youers: Absolutely, yeah. It’s the heart-and-soul factor that makes him relatable, instead of being a blank, Batman-like machine. We see this a lot with heroes like Philip Marlowe, Snake Plissken, Ellen Ripley . . . heck, Dirty Harry is cracking wise one moment, then blowing holes through bad guys the next. Hellboy takes this dynamic and cranks it off the scale. Jeez, he’s a demon. He has hooves and a tail. We shouldn’t be able to relate to him on any level, and yet we do.
And there’s also this: Some people—in real life, as well as in comic books and movies—look like humans but are demonic inside. With Hellboy, it’s the other way around. I mean, how intriguing is that?
Horror News Network: Outside of your own story, of course, what is your favorite chapter of Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors?
Rio Youers: Okay, confession: I haven’t read the book yet; I recently moved to Vienna, Austria, and I’ve barely had time to catch my breath. I have read Chris Golden’s wonderful introduction, though, which explains Hellboy’s appeal with a passion and poetry that I could never hope to match. So,for now I’ll say that’s my favorite part of the book. Not just a paragraph either. The whole intro. It’s great!
But judging from the host of authors on offer, I’ll confidently predict that there’ll be many great paragraphs in this anthology, and stories that will resound with fans—new and old—for years to come.
Horror News Network: Thanks Rio! Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors hits shelves August 29th.