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Interview: Joe Querio Talks B.P.R.D. and Johann's Adventure in Japan

Find out how much hell is on Earth in this current story arc.

Things are pretty nuts in the Mignola-Universe. In B.P.R.D. #122, Johann Kraus traveled to Japan to fight giant monsters, but he discovered something even more disturbing--a man with no brain has been drawing pictures . . . and they tell a terrifying story.

Joe Querio is the artist on this story and he has the task of drawing big destructive scenes in the streets of Japan along with some pretty freaky and terrifying creatures. We got some exclusive preview pages and asked him about this story to find out more.

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COMIC VINE: Your art is a perfect fit for BPRD. How did you come on board?

JOE QUERIO: Back when Guy Davis was working on BPRD, I'm meet him (Guy) at my friends comic book store, during free comic book day. I had some of my art hanging up on the wall in said store, and Guy commented on them saying I should send in some samples to Dark Horse. Some time had passed and I saw Guy again at the Motor City Comic Con, and he remember our first meeting at the store. He asked if I had sent any samples in yet and I hadn't... mostly, because I had no confidence in my work. I had a couple pieces with me in a crappy folder, and Guy took it upon himself and said "give them to me, I have some stuff to send to Scott [Allie] and I'll see what he thinks" or something very similar to that.

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Of Course, I was beyond stunned and more than grateful. Some time went by and I received a email from Guy saying Scott did like some pieces - but, thought the story pages where weak. So, after that I really began working on my storytelling with the hope of sending in some new samples.

During this period, I got a friend request on Facebook from Mike Mignola. Needless to say I was pretty stoked. Mike then corresponded with me a few times about maybe doing something together. A short time later I received an e-mail from Editor Scott Allie and assistant editor Daniel Chabon, about doing a 8 page Lobster Johnson story with Mike writing. Again, I was beyond excited. So we did the story for DARK HORSE PRESENTS and I finally had a working connection with these guys that I had admired for so long. I should say also, that I think Mike saw my stuff on the Hellboy message board, after Mark Tweedale had posted some of my stuff up on it. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that's how Mike became familiar with my stuff, and why he sent me a Facebook request. So that was I how I became connected with Mike, Scott and Daniel.

Now for the John Arcudi part. I did a sketch of Johann, Daryl, Ben-Jaguar and the moose from "The Long Death" arc. I posted it on FB and John had commented about buying it. I felt weird about selling a little 8.5x11 ink drawing to him - but, he insisted on some type of payment for it. So we agreed on a trade. He got the drawing and I got two BPRD hard cover omnibus' . I got the far better end of that deal. :) Anyway, after that John and I had emailed a couple of times, when I finally got up the nerve to inquire about working together. He said that might be a possibility. So, I don't know if I just bugged him enough via email - but one day he said "yes, Mike and I have been discussing a story, for you". Again, I was beside myself with excitement. I guess the short answer to all this would be, "we worked together prior on a short LoJo story for DHP, and John like my "Long Death" drawing" :)

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CV: You get to draw pretty much a war torn environment. Were there any guidelines or did you get to draw the city or the underground laboratories however you wanted?

JQ: The worn torn environment had to be Saitama Japan, so I googled some city shots, and tried to wreck them a bit. The underground lair I designed around John Arcudi's description in the script, which was a 1970's lab that you might see in a old Kaiju film with retro furniture. They gave me a lot freedom with it.

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CV: What about the creature designs? How much were you able to add to them?

JQ: If you haven't guessed, I was a giant fan of the Mignolaverse prior to even dreaming of working within it. So, I think I already understood the aesthetic of the world pretty well. From the very beginning Mike and Guy really had envisioned a unique and beautiful world. I knew certain things would work in it, and it's already been so well design you really don't need to reinvent the wheel with anything. Of course, I wanted to attempt and put a personal spin on things, and hopefully I was able to do that. Working on the designs for everything was incredibly fun and energizing. Doing sketches and getting feedback on what to tweak or change was fantastically inspiring. I truly loved it.

CV: In B.P.R.D. #122, Johann is present but doesn’t get to do too much. Will we see more with him in 123?

JQ: Yes! Johann is in the second half have much more. And I was incredibly happy about that. Johann, is one of my favorites, and so fun to draw. Again, his aesthetic is just perfect. Just the concept of his character is awesome. A ghost in a spaceman-like containment suit - but, it's his personality that really wins you over. He's sad, tragic, vulnerable, humorous and even angry - but, he's truly heroic and completely relatable.

CV: Professor Kukyo was super-creepy looking sitting in his chair mindlessly drawing creatures. Will we see more of him in 123?

JQ: I don't know, that explosion at the end of 122 was pretty big - but, Kuyko may be tougher than he appears. After all he did survive for 30 years in that medical-throne while being separated from his conciseness. Though he is frail and broken something about or within him hasn't given up, and that becomes clearer during issue 123. Kuyko, is exactly the character that I was hoping to get to design and draw, and I have John and Mike to thank for that. I really enjoy drawing old creepy things - but, especially mummy-like people. I seriously could draw characters like Kuyko all day everyday and literally never get bored.

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CV: What was your favorite part about working on these issues?

JQ: When I first came across Hellboy and Mike's artwork, it gave me that feeling like seeing Frank Frazetta paintings, or the movie Time Bandits when I was 6 years old, where you're mind is completely arrested by the atmosphere and imagery. For me, to get that feeling again as an adult was very inspiring and dare I say "magical". So with that in mind, I am humbled to even get to contribute to this world. Literally everything about working on these two issues was great! From the beginning of Mike and John's concept to Mr. Arcudi's script -- designing and drawing the interiors -- then lastly handing them over to the phenomenal Dave Stewart, and underrated Clem Robbins. My whole Dark Horse experience has been great in fact. I did a WITCHER series with Paul Tobin writing and Daniel Chabon editing, which was great in it's own right - but, then to find out that Mignola did an incredible cover for the trade... well, it blew my mind again. Like I've said over and over, I'm sincerely humbled and honored.

Make sure you pick up B.P.R.D. #123 on September 17 to find out the fate of Johann, creepy Professor Kukyo, and the rest of Japan. Here's some more preview pages.

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