Earlier this year we saw Hellboy die and go to in the pages of Hellboy: The Fury, and today it seems like that Hell is coming to Earth in an expansive line of BPRD comics dubbed Hell On Earth. Launching on February 15, 2012, the new series BPRD: Hell On Earth: The Long Death shows Johann, the ectoplasmic man, leading a special task force of BPRD agents into the forests of British Columbia after the unsolved case of disappearances from the New World miniseries. Written by Mike Mignola and long-time co-writer John Arcudi are joined by Abe Sapien artist James Harren on a series that Mignola has stated will “break some stuff that can’t be fixed.”
This is part of a massive 2012 roll-out of new titles in the expanding Hellboy/B.P.R.D. line, and we talked with Arcudi about this dark new series that the writer describes as creepy, explosive and ferocious.
Newsarama: What can you tell us about BPRD: Hell On Earth: The Long Death, John?
John Arcudi: As little as I can get away with. Daimio is back and this will be a very important story for his development as a part of the BPRD. Johann's, too. What I can tell you is that artist James Harren is back after his Abe Sapien mini to give readers what he does best; creepy, explosive, ferocious comics.
Nrama: This is being announced just as the current BPRD series, Russia, is picking up steam. Johann’s becoming front and center in that series, so can you talk about his evolving character?
Arcudi: I've always liked Johann because not only is he an actor without a face in our world, but he also happens to be the only non-American in the bunch. He's a fish out of water squared, if that makes any sense. He's an easy vehicle to express isolation and alienation, and that's something that he and many of us struggle with. So his evolution from outsider attempting to get in, to outsider getting pissed off, seems natural. Or certainly understandable and relatable. Where he goes next has everything to do with what happens in Russia and in The Long Death.
Nrama: The title of the book, “The Long Death,” what does that refer to?
Arcudi: It seems an appropriate phrase when we're dealing with characters like Johann and Daimio who have been "dead" a long time and are still here.
Nrama: Who are the BPRD’ers that go out to investigate this?
Arcudi: Johann, of course, but Carla Giarocco (who played a small role in the Hell On Earth: New World storyline and a very large role in the Seattle giveaway we did -- which will be reprinted in the New World TPB, I believe). Carla is going to prove vital to the future of the BPRD as I believe hardcore readers already suspect, and this is out first look at her in action -- and i do mean action. We're also introducing two new agents; Nichols and Gervesh. As to what role they play in the future, readers will just have to wait and see.
Nrama: For those that may have missed Carla’s previous appearances, can you give us the lowdown on her?
Arcudi: To tell you the truth, the real lowdown on Carla is played out here in The Long Death so if readers want to know who she is, it's all there in The Long Death #1.
Nrama: However, for people who missed Hell On Earth: New World, can you explain the treacherous woods introduced in that series?
Arcudi: In New World Daimio was discovered (by Abe) to be living in a section of the woods of British Columbia that had been ravaged by two monsters -- twins. We're going back to BC, but not in exactly the same place. However, there will be some pretty horrible critters here, too.
Nrama: Since you mention Abe, will he play a part in this series?
Nrama: Dark Horse has also told me this is connected to the BPRD series Killing Ground, so can you clue us in on that?
Arcudi: Some pretty big conflicts were established in Killing Ground and we haven't addressed them (at least head on) for a while. In The Long Death, we do that.