Mike Mignola's Hellboy "Mignolaverse" is filled with a ton of delightful characters — but there's something especially great about the adventures of old-timey pulp hero Lobster Johnson, whose latest series sees him battling giant robots in the heart of New York. To celebrate, we sat down with writer John Arcudi to discuss Lobster's new adventures. Check out our interview with Arcudi below, as well as a preview of the first issue, making its debut here.
What can you tell us about Lobster Johnson's latest adventures?
John Arcudi: Lobster Johnson is going be hip deep in giant robots! Or more accurately, giant robots are going to be ankle deep in Lobster Johnson. This is about the pulpiest story I've done for him. Trying to match Mike's first Lobster tale, Iron Prometheus. It's not quite as insane as that, but it's close.
We've had so many tales of Lobster's crimefighting career over the years — what is it about him that still draws you into telling these stories today?
Arcudi: Two things. First, I get to work Tonci Zonjic who always kills in the art department. Always!! I love seeing his thumbnails, then his pencils, and on and on. And second, it's just more fun than anything else. I don't worry so much about continuity with Johnson as I do about going nuts with him — I let Scott [Allie, Editor] worry about that. Oh, and then there are the other characters, especially Harry and Cindy, who really make it worth my while. OK, so three things.
In the established canon, the Lobster was only ever around for a relatively short period of time. Is it challenging to find new untapped periods to tell stories in? Do you have his career planned out in such a way you know where you've got room to explore?
Arcudi: Yes. Sorry, but you don't want me to reveal more than that, do you?
Although Johnson battles some weird villains, there's a distinct difference between the kinds of stories you've told across BRPD and what you do with Johnson's miniseries. Is it refreshing to be able to dive into a character like Lobster Johnson every once in a while?
Arcudi: As I said, he's a blast to play with. Keep the dialogue to a minimum, action (or at least atmosphere) to a max. It's not exactly easy, but it is fun.
You're wrapping up your time on BRPD at the end of this year. What's the thing you'll miss most about writing for the series and working with Mike?
Arcudi: Oh, I still get to talk to Mike, we're still friends. And certainly he was there for the large stuff, the staging. But it's Scott Allie, the editor, who I had/have the most back and forth with, and not having him to talk to as much, to keep me honest, is kind of a shame. He really understands what I do well — and what the storyline needs — and he helps me come to a place where those are the same thing. Kinda uncanny.
Do you have plans for more Lobster Johnson after this miniseries? Where else would you like to take the character?
Arcudi: The 1930s in NYC was such a visually rich period, playing around with that, having landmarks and historic figures to reference, is a ball! For Tonci, too, I would think… I hope.
If someone's not picked up a Lobster book before, what would you say to them to get them hooked and picking up the first issue of Metal Monsters of Midtown? How do you sell new readers on him?
Arcudi: If I have to tell you more than it's a story of giant roots menacing NYC in the 1930s, and if the virtuoso art of Tonci Zonjic isn't alluring enough, then there's something wrong with all of us!
Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1 hits shelves this Thursday, May 26.