On May 2, "Hellboy 20th Anniversary Art Show" will open at at Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles. Curated and presented by Chogrin, himself an illustrator and designer, the event will feature over a 100 artists paying tribute to Mike Mignola's famed character at a gallery that specializes in fan-friendly art.
Hero Complex is a relatively recent addition to Los Angeles’ pop culture-centric art scene. The gallery has hosted tributes to The Walking Dead, Jaws and the works of Stephen King, as well as group shows with general pop culture themes. They also present solo shows, such as a recent one from Jim Mahfood (Everybody Loves Tank Girl), and occasionally organize events in other cities.
Seed of Destruction, the first Hellboy mini series released through Dark Horse, hit the comic book shops in March of 1994. Over the years, the superheroic demon has had numerous adventures on Earth and in Hell. His World War II origin story gives the comic a reference back to the medium’s Golden Age, and the use of mythological and folktale references gives the stories an even deeper history. Still, this is a story that could have only came of age in the 1990s, where characters who weren’t part of decade’s old franchises grabbed reader’s attention and alternative-minded publishers like Dark Horse were gaining steam.
In 20 years, Hellboy has appeared in numerous comics, including a few award-winning titles. He hit the big screen in the hands of Ron Perlman, as directed by Guillermo del Toro. The first of those movies was, frankly, one of the most visually striking and overall compelling of all the comic book-to-film adaptations. He’s turned up in animated features and video games. In late 2012, creator Mike Mignola launched a new series, Hellboy in Hell, the title of which is self-explanatory. The series features Mignola as both artist and writer. The Next installment of Hellboy in Hell is set for release through Dark Horse on May 14. Pre-orders are now available.
Last month, Dark Horse marked the anniversary of the comic’s first major release with Hellboy Day, a nationwide celebration that featured events at various comic book shops with giveaways and special appearances. In March, the publisher also released Hellboy: The First 20 Years, a hardcover collection of art from the series.
Now, the event at Hero Complex will showcase how far-reaching the comic book’s influence has been. This is an “official tribute art show” and the group of artists appearing in it is diverse and accomplished. Martin Hsu, who frequently shows at galleries across the United States, is part of the roster. Also included in the show are Brent Engstrom (Garbage Pail Kids), Jerrod Maruyama (Hipster Mickey) and storyboard artist Brianne Drouhard. The works will showcase a variety of styles from cute to sinister and from portraiture to pixel art to toy art.
We got permission to show a few of the preview images here. To check out more works, including some progress photos, check out the “Hellboy 20th Anniversary Art Show” Tumblr. “Hellboy 20th Anniversary Art Show” opens May 2 at 7 p.m. Hero Complex is located at 2020 South Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles.
Images: Hellboy 20th Anniversary Art Show, used with permission of the curator.