The Cold War was fought with guns and bombs, but supernatural weapons as well - as readers have been discovering in recent Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. books - and a new volume coming in September will begin to heat this "Occult Cold War" up.
Scheduled to launch September 13, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955 - Occult Intelligence is a three-issue series by writers Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson with artist Brian Churilla, following up from their recent 1954 - Ghost Moon miniseries. Roberson tells Newsarama that this is part of a larger multi-year storyline which began with 2016's Beyond the Fences as the American B.P.R.D. runs against newly-discovered Soviet and British counterparts.
And of course, monsters. There's always monsters in this franchise.
Newsarama: Chris, can you give us intel (ouch, bad pun) on Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955 - Occult Intelligence?
Chris Roberson: Occult Intelligence is actually three different stories threaded together. Hellboy and his fellow B.P.R.D. agents hear rumors of strange happenings while stopping over at a U.S. Air Force base in the South Pacific, while Trevor Bruttenholm visits some of his old contacts in London from the war years, looking for answers, and Susan Xiang tests the limits of her psychic abilities with Professor Sandhu, who readers might remember from Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 - Beyond the Fences. The three threads unravel over the course of the miniseries, until a tapestry is revealed by the end (I’ll allow your pun if you’ll excuse my mixed metaphor!).
Nrama: Agreed. Let’s start with this South Pacific story – it’s on a remote island. What’s the island, and what’s it like?
Roberson: Hellboy and the others are visiting the fictional Reynolds Air Force Base on an atoll in the Marshall Islands (which is inspired by real bases that were located on Kwajalein Atoll), and there are strange doings on a nearby unnamed island that is the site of U.S. missile tests.
Nrama: Who from the B.P.R.D. is with Hellboy in this one?
Roberson: Archie, Stegner, and Woodrow are returning with Hellboy from an assignment in Australia when the story begins. Meanwhile, Trevor Bruttenholm and Susan Xiang visit a number of familiar faces in England that readers might not have seen for a while.
Nrama: So what's do Hellboy and the other three B.P.R.D. agents find at Reynolds AFB?
Roberson: Monsters, of course. Big ones. And the gradual discovery that there is far more going on beneath the surface than they realized, which raises questions that are ultimately answered by what Trevor and Susan discover half a world away in London.
Nrama: For you, Mike, and Brian, this is a continuation of your trio's story from earlier this year - 1954 - Ghost Moon. Are there any threads from that you are picking up here?
Roberson: Oh, definitely. In Ghost Moon, and in the earlier Beyond the Fences, readers were given the first hints that there was an occult side to the Cold War tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Union, and that the British had their own version of the B.P.R.D., the Special Intelligence Directorate. But while the readers might know that, Hellboy and the other characters don’t yet, and when they discover what’s been going on in the shadows it’s going to set in motion a larger storyline that will be continuing over the course of several years, as the “Occult Cold War” begins to heat up.
Nrama: The Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. books seems intrinsically based on the style of the artist chosen to work on it. Is that the case here with Brian Churilla, and if so, how?
Roberson: That is certainly the case here. It was such a thrill to work with Brian on Ghost Moon, that Occult Intelligence was definitely tailored towards his strengths. And we took great care to be as accurate with the depiction of the period as possible. Brian and I sent each other a lot of image reference about air bases of the period, U.S.A.F. uniforms and insignia, the geography, and so on.
Nrama: What are your big goals for this miniseries?
Roberson: The first and foremost goal, as always, is to tell an entertaining story. But beyond that, we’re hoping to pull the curtain back a bit more on some of the larger storylines that have been slowly burning in the background, and introduce readers to some of the larger conflicts that will be taking center stage in the years to come. (I’m pretty sure that’s another horribly mixed metaphor, but you get the idea!) Also, Hellboy punching monsters, which is always a plus!)