30 years after he created Hellboy, Mike Mignola is creating a whole new folklore-inspired universe

Bowling With Corpses and Other Strange Tales From Lands Unknown
(Image credit: Dark Horse Comics)

Mike Mignola's signature creation Hellboy hit the scene 30 years ago, in 1994. And now, in 2024, the beloved cartoonist is creating a whole new "shared universe" of comic stories alongside writer/artist Ben Stenbeck, a frequent contributor to Mignola's BPRD Universe.

Their new universe will debut in an anthology comic published through Dark Horse, titled Bowling With Corpses and Other Strange Tales From Lands Unknown, featuring a whole slate of new stories written and drawn by Mignola, along with his longtime collaborators colorist Dave Stewart and letterer Clem Robins.

The new venture, dubbed 'Curious Objects,' will expand down the road with another title from Stenbeck. The first comic in the line, Bowling for Corpses, seems to take all the creepy-crawly, humorously ghoulish elements Mignola is known for in a specifically folklore-inspired direction, offering a preview of what the expanded line will be about.

(Image credit: Dark Horse Comics)

"In Bowling With Corpses and Other Strange Tales From Lands Unknown, the stories are fantastical, odd and charming — from a search for the beating heart of a long-dead sorcerer, to a pirate girl who makes a deal with the devil, to the titular boy who wins a grim prize in a game with undead interlopers," reads Dark Horse's announcement.

Many Hellboy stories have incorporated elements of folklore into the BPRD Universe over the years, showing a modern, somewhat superhero-ized version of characters from myth and legend. But Curious Objects seems to go from the other angle, focusing more directly on the folkloric elements in what Dark Horse calls its "weird, wicked, and whimsical stories."

"It all started with an Italian Folktale about a boy who goes bowling with corpses," Mignola explains in a statement. "I fell in love with the story as soon as I discovered it but I wanted to play fast and loose when adapting it, so I created a whole new world."

"Not TOO different than our world a few centuries ago, but with a lot more gods and monsters. Once I created that world new characters and stories just started pouring out of it. There is a whole lot to play with here and I expect to be at it for a very long time."

(Image credit: Dark Horse Comics)

Mignola has gone beyond Hellboy before, creating other properties both in comics and elsewhere, such as the so-called Outerverse Universe, which he created alongside novelist Christopher Golden, which has also included contributions from Curious Objects co-creator Ben Stenbeck.

"For a few years now Mike has been emailing me designs and pages and ideas and maps and lists of place names for this world, and his enthusiasm for this project is indomitable and infectious," says Stenbeck. "So often my reaction to these emails is 'That's great Mike! But I still have two books to draw before I can even move on to this work!' and then I find myself taking three days off to write a new story. Luckily Mike likes my stories. My first project is set far off in a distant corner of this world. That way I can't bump into anything Mike is doing and make a mess. Spoiler...it will have monsters in it."

Bowling With Corpses and Other Strange Tales From Lands Unknown is a 112-page hardcover anthology, releasing on December 4.

Hellboy is one of the best supernatural superheroes of all time.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)