This holiday season, Santa Claus isn't the only guest coming in the middle of the night - so is Krampus, and its Adam Hughes and Mike Mignola that are letting him into your house.
Hughes has drawn a Mignola-scripted story of Hellboy and Krampus called Hellboy: Krampusnacht. This 36-page standalone one-shot is a surprising team-up for Hellboy and Krampus, but also surprising is that Hughes and Mignola haven't teamed up before.
And that's much of the reason why Hughes signed up to draw this in the first place.
Newsarama spoke with Hughes about this graphic novella, his own Christmas traditions, and his friendship with Mignola.
Newsarama: Adam, what’s on your drawing board right now?
Adam Hughes: It’s OK, I have no life. Drawing board? A Birds of Prey cover for DC Comics.
Nrama: A return to familiar territory.
But today we’re talking about what's new – Hellboy: Krampusnacht. Do you have a particular affinity for Christmas, Krampus, or Santa Claus? What enticed you about this project?
Hughes: No, no, and no. Although I do love the Haddon Sundblom Santas from the old Coke ads, I am not, traditionally, a Christmas-based lifeform. The enticement for this project was working with Mike Mignola, whose work I’ve loved for decades. If he’d given me a story about the Easter Bunny, I’d’ve been just as thrilled to work on it.
Nrama: Don’t tease us, Adam.
I researched, and couldn't find anywhere that you and Mike previously collaborated. You had pin-ups in various places, and both were part of Amazing Heroes early on. Are you two professional acquaintances, con drinking buddies, long-lost brothers... what's the relationship like?
Hughes: This is our first collaboration, but I did do a Hellboy pinup for a Dark Horse anniversary comic a while ago. I’ve actually known Mike since the late 1900s. I met him at DC when he was handing in Gotham By Gaslight pages and I was handing in Justice League work. I think we’ve had one meal together in the last 27 years. We had one phone call during Krampusnacht. If he stole my car, I’d have trouble describing him to the police.
Nrama: You're coming to this after writing for yourself with Betty & Veronica. I know you have no shortage of ideas - what made you agree to work of someone else's script?
Hughes:Mike Mignola. I’d leave a beloved relative’s funeral early to work with Mike Mignola. I still would. It was immensely rewarding but, damn, I learned a lot on this gig.
Nrama: We talked years ago and you said you'd like to branch out and do more gruff, darker things. This one-shot seems part of that - what did you enjoy about the heavier blacks and drawing men like Hellboy?
Hughes: Drawing the actual character Hellboy was the one part of the comic that kept vexing me. He’s a tough one to make your own, he’s such an icon of his creator’s style. I liked doing the horror aspects of this, and also I envy artists who have the guts to go black. While I was coloring the comic I kept thinking “I wish I’d spotted more blacks.”
Nrama: You and your wife are a real treat at cons in my experience. Are you planning any Christmas signings of this new book at cons or stores?
Hughes: I wouldn’t do a signing in December even if it came complete with a platonic mouth hug from Gal Gadot.
Nrama: That’s an interesting rider.
So, this one-shot comes out the Wednesday before Christmas. What do you think Santa Claus - or Krampusnacht - will be bringing you this year?
Hughes: I really can’t steer my mind clear of the platonic mouth hug from Gal Gadot, ever since I came up with it. So, that, I guess. Or socks.