POPCORN FRIGHTS: Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters (2022)

Directed by Jim Demonakos (founder of Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con) and Kevin Konrad Hanna, this engaging documentary is about the world of Mike Mignola and the world he’s created around Hellboy.

Comic book and movie geeks — umm, speaking for myself, that’s the same audience — will enjoy hearing from Doug Jones, Guillermo del Toro, Patton Oswalt, Ron Perlman, Neil Gaiman, Mike Richardson, Art Adams and so many more about how the comic and movies came to life, but the true joy is in discovering how Adams bonded with Mignola and his brothers, how much of Hellboy is Mignola’s father (and himself) and how Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar was inspired to make Hellboy so personal.

There are also moments where the creator discusses how many times he felt defeated and how his family and later wife would help him overcome his fears. Even if you know nothing of the comics, the parts of this movie where Perlman breaks down remembering bonding with his father over movies (and getting the same opportunity to make something so personal as Hellboy), the way that Mignola and Del Toro overcame their artistic differences and how Mignola’s daughter ended up writing his favorite story (and how it keeps returning to his work), as well as how Mignola created a shared universe where others could have the same creative freedom that he found will emotionally reach you regardless of your level of comic or genre movie knowledge.

For those of us who know and love characters like Lobster Johnson and Ben Daimio, this is everything.

Mike Mignola: Drawing Monsters is playing at Popcorn Frights and will be available to watch virtuallyas part of the festival.

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