A Day In The Life When You’re Dead In Hell
Nov 05, 2017
by Vince Brusio
When the idea of “Hell” comes to mind, we conjure images of horrific demons that tear you to shreds and stick sharp pointed things in your eyes. But in Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck’s Koshchei The Deathless, you will not see such sights so common to an R-Rated horror movie. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Koshchei and Hellboy have time for conversation. In a pub. Down by the ocean. Gore factor? Not really. Head trip philosophy from the mind of Mike Mignola? Oh, yes. Definitely. Enjoy our exclusive interview with artist Ben Stenbeck, and look for Koshchei The Deathless #1 (NOV170013) which kicks off a 6-issue series by Dark Horse Comics!
Vince Brusio: For readers who might be late to the party, can you recap for us where the rubber met the road the last time we saw Koshchei in the Hellboy universe? How did things play out? And does that history impact this current storyline?
Ben Stenbeck: Koshchei first appeared in Hellboy: Darkness Calls. He's immortal, and the Baba Yaga uses him in her fight against Hellboy. It's clear there’s a long history between Koshchei and the Baba Yaga, and in this series you get to find out what that history is.
Vince Brusio: Help us profile Koshchei. What makes him tick? What’s his Achilles heel? What makes him such an attractive (or unattractive) character? How do you bring these qualities to paper?
Ben Stenbeck: He's a very conflicted character. He's done some really terrible things, which are covered in this series. But at the same time he's trying to do some good, he wants to save his soul. He wants to get back to being a good man. But things keep getting in the way of that. Sometimes, him doing the right thing leads to even worse consequences.
Vince Brusio: In the six-issue Koshchei The Deathless series, he’s joined by Hellboy in the bowels of Hell, where we expect no one will be in a rush to throw him a “Welcome Home” party. Here’s the question, though. When someone like Koshchei is sent to Hell, would that fate not be a two-edged sword? Would a life of violence be all that adverse to an afterlife in violence?
Ben Stenbeck: Well all he's really doing in Hell is drinking in a pub by the ocean with Hellboy. At this point Hell is broken, there isn't any order or hierarchy to it. It’s just a place. The only other people in the pub are skeletons. This series touches a little bit on what he's doing in Hell.
Vince Brusio: What challenges you on this project? What gives you pause?
Ben Stenbeck: Not a lot, this has been my favorite project with Mike yet. A lot of it is the stuff I was drawing when I was a kid, like creatures, medieval fantasy stuff. It’s really been a huge joy to work on.
Vince Brusio: If you could go keyboard commando freestyle, and rant about the production of this series to illustrate its “fun factor,” what might we read? What secret might you spill?
Ben Stenbeck: I think this is a great comic. It's a really fun mixture of fantasy adventure, folktale and horror, so if any of these things are appealing to you then I think you would enjoy this series. You don't have to have read any other books to enjoy this, really. This series covers his whole life including everything that's been shown in other books. It's the kind of comic I would want to read, so I really hope people give it a shot.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.