A retro Hellboy
Paolo Rivera’s comic book cover.
This was the first of three covers for the series Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: 1953, written by Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson. I did the interior art as well (with help from my dad, Joe Rivera, on inks and Dave Stewart on colours), but the covers are always done well in advance for solicitations and promotion. I submitted several thumbnail sketches, planning to do them all in ink with digital colour — the same style as the interior art. But my editor, Scott Allie, thought one sketch in particular would look good in the style of Norman Rockwell, especially since the book takes place in 1953.
I’m glad he convinced me, as it became one of my most popular pieces. Indeed, the original was purchased by Guillermo del Toro, director of the Hellboy films.
I was reluctant to paint because I knew it would take a while: about 70 hours, sketch to scan. My daughter had just been born, so I was short on time (and sleep) and those 70 hours often came in 30-minute snippets. She’s almost one now, almost old enough to start drawing.
Paolo grew up on cartoons and comics, especially Ninja Turtles, Batman, and The Tick. In 2002 he got his big break from Marvel Comics. Visit www.paolorivera.com to see more of his comic and cover work.