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The Greatest Mike Mignola Stories Ever Told!

Every day in November we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Mike Mignola Stories Ever Told!

Enjoy!

Sorry for the delay! It appears as though people’s favorite Hellboy stories are an extremely personal thing, as while a couple of stories certainly stood out, votes-wise, the back end of the list could essentially be considered a six-way tie, with a plethora of Hellboy stories all getting essentially the same amount of support – just not quite enough to make the Top Ten. So if you’re sad that your favorite Hellboy story did not make the list, don’t worry, it almost certainly came VERY close to making it.

10. Hellboy: Seed of Destruction

This is the first Hellboy mini-series, plotted and drawn by Mignola and scripted by John Byrne. This introduces us to the offbeat mixture of horror and action that would become a trademark of Hellboy comics for years to come.

9. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #54 “Sanctum”

Perhaps the most notable precursor to his work on Hellboy, this one-off issue, co=plotted and drawn by Mignola and co-plotted and scripted by Dan Raspler, sees Batman face off against a bad guy and experience visions of demons…or are they MORE than just visions? A stunning artistic achievement from Mignola. One of the best looking Batman stories you’ll ever see.

8. Hellboy: The Crooked Man

This spooky tale of witches and devils in the Applachian mountains was written by Mignola and drawn by horror comic book legend Richard Corben. Hellboy teams up with a local man who has personal experience with the machinations of the devil (known in the mountains as “The Crooked Man”) to take the devil down.

7. Hellboy: The Fury

Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo combine to tell a story that is essentially the culmination of years of Hellboy plots. This is pretty much a sprawling battle series, told with stunning artwork from Fegredo and a riveting story from Mignola.

6. Hellboy: Wolves of Saint August

This grim tale shows Hellboy and newly introduced BPRD agent Kate Corrigan investigating the gruesome death of a priest friend of Hellboy’s and the seemingly missing town of St. August. It is a darkly beautiful story by Mignola, especially in his artwork for the story (which originally appeared in Dark Horse Presents).

5. Hellboy: Wake the Devil

One of the most sprawling Hellboy adventures, this series (written and drawn by Mignola) is about the machinations of revived Nazi scientists to resurrect a vampire. Naturally, Hellboy and the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense do not want that to happen.

4. Gotham by Gaslight: An Alternative History of the Batman

The first of what would become a whole line of Elseworlds comics, this graphic novel was written by Brian Augustyn and drawn by Mignola and inker P. Craig Russell. It is, simply put, Victorian Batman hunting down Jack the Ripper. It is quite well done.

3. Hellboy: Conqueror Worm

This excellent adventure mini-series is about what happens when a Nazi space capsule returns to earth 60 years later, carrying something…sinister within. Written and drawn by Mignola, this story also gives us our first real look at Lobster Johnson, later a major part of the Hellboy mythos.

2. Hellboy: The Corpse

This one-off story, written and drawn by Mignola, is a wonderful introduction to the world of Hellboy (which I presume is why they released it as a special 25 cent comic back when the movie came out). It tells the stoy of an Irish baby in 1959 who is kidnapped by fairies and Hellboy must return a corpse to its grave to return the child to her family. Seemingly a minor tale, continuity-wise, this story eventually became quite important (especially when the child grows up to become a major part of Hellboy lore).

1. The Amazing Screw-On Head

One of the best one-shot comics of all-time, The Amazing Screw On-Head is the tale of a special agent for President Lincoln who specializes in the occult. He is literally a screw-on head. He just screws his head on to bodies to suit whatever his purpose is at the time. Written and drawn by Mignola, this outlandishly amusing story is an amazing comic book.

38 Comments

Mike Mignola Is a true Master story teller, hell boy is to me the most constantly entertaining comic out there.

Great list as always.

One little correction. under Wolves of St August, you have it mentioned as Liz Sheridan’s first appearance. For one, it’s Liz Sherman, and second, the story is Kate Corrigan’s first appearance, Liz having already appeared in Seed of Destruction.

I own all of these, and I think that’s a first for any of these lists except for the Geoff Johns list on the last Greatest Month (and only because those stories were all major DC events).

I was wondering how far up The Amazing Screw-On Head would be. And I knew that this list would be all Hellboy with Batman sprinkled in. I’m surprised there isn’t any BPRD though.

The Screw-On Head pilot was great, too. I loved seeing Mignola’s art animated.

@JoeH I was thinking the same thing about BPRD. I love everything Mignola does, so I can’t argue against any of these choices. I was surprised at Screw-on taking the cake, I sadly have to admit to not reading that one yet. Overall though, great list.

One big omission that is unsurprising since it’s relatively unknown, is Mignola’s wonderful OGN with Roger Stern, “Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph and Torment”. It’s a tale of Doom and Strange together journeying into Mephisto’s realm to save the soul of Doom’s mother. Mignola provides some jaw-dropping visuals throughout and Stern’s characterizations of Strange and Doom are delightful.

I’ve never heard of that Legends of the Dark Knight issue. I’m gonna have to track that down. Sadly, I just checked Comixology and their run of that series stops at 30.

Great choices all across the board!

Man, Gotham by Gaslight isn’t even good. It’s an interesting concept and it’s cool to see some early Mignola art. But the writing is predictable and boring and the art only hints at Mignola’s more developed style that was to come.

The rest of the list is solid though.

nice picks though kind of thought the list would just be mikes hell boy work and maybe screw on head. nice to see his batman take also on this list though also got to say surprised no on put strange and doom triumph and torment.

I have to say I completely agree with this list!!! I’m shocked Mike hasn’t made more Amazing Screw-on Head stories! Such an original concept!

Loved Cosmic Odessey as well!

I’d pick Superman #18 over Gotham by Gaslight.

I think the list should have been restricted to either stories that Mignola wrote and drew and/or stories that he wrote regardless of who drew them. Including stories that he drew but didn’t write kind of muddies the comparative waters. In terms of stuff that he just drew, I ‘d put Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Ironwolf, or even World of Krypton above Gotham by Gaslight.

The recent Hellboy stuff with Fegredo is more solid than the earlier stuff like Seed of Destruction and Conqueror Worm. So much so that The Fury should be #1 on this list IMO. The new House of the Living Dead and Hellboy in Mexico are great and should get mentioned and could be grouped as one entry as the Mexico stories. The Island and Makoma are also awesome, mythical and enigmatic. The Island in particular has some of Mignola’s best work in terms of the layered imagery echoing themes back and forth. This is Mike’s special talent and is fully on display in that story. I am also a big fan of “The Circle Curse” in Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. Many of the short tales in that volume are precursors to the style and approach of the Hellboy shorts that come after. I fully expect that this list will need to be revised once Hellboy in Hell hits in 2012.

That’s interesting how the voting turned out, and quite believable, just because: while some things stand out, Mike has hardly ever done anything that wasn’t good, and has done a ton of work which is very good.

Personally, I would probably have ranked “The Corpse” first, but then I haven’t ever gotten around to Screw-on Head.

Plainly I really must!

Screw On Head is good…

… but A Christmas Undeground is all kinds of wonderful. At least The Corpse made second. My list was all Hellboy though.

Always loved Aliens: Salvation. One of my favorite Mignola illustrated stories ever.

Can’t really argue with this list, but I’M surprised at how dominant Hellboy stories are.
I thought the huge amount of stories would split the Hellboy votes and allow for more non-HB work to rank.
I had Dr Strange/Dr Doom, Cosmic Odyssey, Alien Salvation and Rocket Raccoon on my list, just barely edging out Batman Sanctum, which I ultimately took off because I already had Gotham By Gaslight.
The rest of my votes went to HB Wolves (#1) Conqueror Worm, Seed and Heads, and Screw On Head.

And I’m just now reading the new TPB and would now vote for Bride Of Hell instead of Heads.
I didn’t like Makoma the first time around but I’m gonna have to re-read it, because I’m now loving the Corben stories! The new House Of The Living Dead HC will be my bedtime reading tonight!

My personal fave is also the first Mognola art I encountered, the Gargoyle limited series. Fell in love instantly :)

I didn’t vote because I’m way behind on Hellboy, but it’s great to see Screw-On Head at #1. It’s my favorite Mignola story, completely insane and funny as hell. I’d have put most of these stories on my list along with:

– Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph & Torment (one of Roger Stern’s best comics, too)
– “Pancakes,” the 2-pager from the Dark Horse Jr. Special (1999) that I just love.
– the story Mignola did with his daughter for Dark Horse’s Happy Endings special. It’s beautifully-drawn, of course, and effectively melancholy.

Remember when Mignola was the guy who drew that sucky X-Force fill-in and that weird Wolverine special? It’s amazing how he never changed his art style drastically (after about 1989) but the fan perception of his work changed when he worked on the right project.

Gotham by Gaslight is badass. I haven’t read it in like 20 years or something… Now I am going to have to dig it out and reread it

Two questions:

First, I haven’t heard of the screw on head. Is it available in trade?

And second, did anyone vote for the 2-page Hellboy story “Pancakes?” That was always one of my favorites.

“Pancakes” actually just missed the list.

@Third Man:
Go now and get the The Amazing Screw-On Head And Other Curious Objects hardcover book, it’s full of short wacky stories, not expensive and oh so totally worth the money!

@Mike Loughlin
Yeah, I can’t believe that there once was a time when I was stupid enough to think that Mignola was ruining my Liefeld comics hahahaha

Sanctum is amazing and creepy to no end

@DJW,

What Gargoyle mini-series are you speaking of? Because if it’s the one from Marvel in the late 80s (featuring the character from the Defenders), I’m pretty sure that was drawn by Mark Badger, not Mike Mignola.

I’m also surprised that there are no B.P.R.D. stories in the top ten. And two old Batman projects. I suspect that a lot of comic fans that read either/or DC and Marvel haven’t even given B.P.R.D. a try, which would be a shame because there is awesomeness contain in those pages.

This list is very close to my ballot, including the same #1. Makes me wonder if there weren’t that many votes cast? (Since I’m not usually so in tune with the electorate) That said, I can’t praise Screw-On Head too highly. The use of silent panels for purposes of comic timing is perfectly done, again and again, and the over-the-top plot and characters are brilliantly entertaining.

“Pancakes” is a candidate for the best two page comics story since “the Origin of the Batman”! :) It is the Hellboy story that is closest in feel to Screw-On Head, in my opinion.

“Sanctum” is one of the very strongest single-issue stories from LotDK – and perhaps one of the earliest in a series that for years only published multi-part arcs.

One wonders what the highest-ranked BPRD story was, or that people are most surprised not to see?

On the other hand, I also remember when Mignola was the god artist who did some trippy covers and cool interior art for Bill Mantlo’s runs on Hulk and Alpha Flight.

Ed (A Different One)

November 7, 2011 at 8:52 am

I remember coming across and old, dusty copy of Rocket Racoon, sans cover, in what of my old storage boxes from a recent move. Who, to my surprise, was the penciler of that issue? One Mike Mignola. The art was good but a completely different style from what he’s been doing for the last twenty years or so.

No love for Rocket Racoon on this list?

I’m shocked that Cosmic Oddessy was not on here.

I remember coming across and old, dusty copy of Rocket Racoon, sans cover, in what of my old storage boxes from a recent move. Who, to my surprise, was the penciler of that issue? One Mike Mignola. The art was good but a completely different style from what he’s been doing for the last twenty years or so.

No love for Rocket Racoon on this list?

There definitely was a bunch of votes for Rocket Raccoon! The problem is that Mignola is just one of the most acclaimed comic book creators of the past 20 years, so he has a TON of great work to choose from, meaning a number of good comics just won’t make the list.

@kalorama

Wow, you’re right. Could’ve sworn it was MM (Memory’s the first thing to go; spelin is the secont :(

[…] The Greatest Mike Mignola Stories Ever Told! […]

Ditto on the love for “Screw-On Head”, especially since the TV pilot was one of the best pieces of animation I’ve ever seen (and I’m a HUGE animation nerd). Every frame looked like Mignola drew it personally by hand.

Surprised to see “Seed of Destruction” so far down the list. I figured it would place near the top just for being so iconic. That’s why I love these lists, it’s so surprising to see just where things end up.

its not a story but one of my favorite mignola pieces is the cover to captain america annual #4

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