By Kurt Christenson
July 08, 2014 at 03:23 PM EDT
Dark Horse Comics

In March, comics fans reveled in Hellboy Day, a celebration of 20 years of the Beast of the Apocalypse in a trenchcoat. This anniversary year has brought fans a new Hellboy in Hell storyline with creator Mike Mignola himself back on the artwork, the publication of The New York Times‘ best-selling Hellboy: The First 20 Years, and this December, Dark Horse Comics is publishing a brand new series titled Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., detailing the “lost” years as Hellboy first sets out on adventures with the agents of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense.

Since his first miniseries, Seed of Destruction, the character has been a hit among fans and creators alike. He combines aspects of stories that Mignola himself enjoys, ranging from pulp, to folklore, to gothic horror, all in the short-story arcs that Dark Horse Comics has been publishing for the past two decades. In 2002, Hellboy’s universe expanded to include a separate B.P.R.D. comic, overseen by Mignola and, for the past several years, writer John Arcudi. There are now stories of Hellboy’s supporting characters, including Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman—both of whom were featured in the two Hollywood blockbuster films brought to life by visionary director Guillermo del Toro, and the first of which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year as well.

Over the years, Hellboy has inspired animation, action figures, and video games, but for Mignola, it will always be about the comics. Hellboy in Hell sees not only the death and damnation of its protagonist but also Mignola’s return as the main artist on the comic he’s always wanted to create—complete with bizarre landscapes, weird monsters, and a life-changing journey for a deceased demon. After the years of merchandise, it’ll always be the comics themselves that Mignola will be the most proud of.

The new series, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. will continue from a trilogy of miniseries—1946, 1947, and 1948—chronicling the early days of the organization, but will jump ahead a few years to 1952. It features plots and Hellboy dialogue by Mignola, scripts by John Arcudi, and illustrations by longtime Marvel artist Alex Maleev, who was their ideal artist for this new project. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. will likely be another milestone in the iconic, creator-owned character’s history.