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  1. #1
    Newbie Member Power Hungry Monkey's Avatar
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    Default Mignolaverse Fictional Timeline

    Greetings all you Hellboy and Mignolaverse fans!

    I've been a fan of Hellboy for many years but only got into reading the wider 'verse' titels in the last two years. Since then I have read everything through at least 2 times up to the current releases (thank you Dark Horse ap for giving me easy access to everything!). As with most of you i suspect, a major factor in my love for the various series in the Mignolaverse is how wide-spanning and interlocked everything is. I love world-building in fiction (Star Wars, Dune, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Warhammer 40k) and the Mignolaverse, to me, takes the cake. For something that was never planned to be so large and varied Mignola, Allie and the others have done an amazing job.

    Enough of my gushing. When I first read the Hellboy Companion when it came out I didnt get half the references made in it or know where to find out where they were from. Since reading the greater-verse titles outside of Hellboy I've been able to pick up most of the pieces but I wanted to create a full timeline of the events in the Mignolaverse with reference to the comic or collection they were from. In saying this I have basically re-typed the entire timeline found in the Companion and have added in as many dates and events as I can find. That is untill circa 2007 in the fictional timeline. After that I loose all point of reference in the story as there are never any dates given. I know this is intentional for the main part but it irks me a bit because I can't finish my timeline to the current dates. Stuff like Lobster Johnson, Sledgehammer '44, Witchfinder and Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. are easier as there is normally at least a year that the stroy is based in.

    Basically what I'm asking is if anyone can help me to fill in the dates for a lot of the events past Hellboy: Darkness Calls and B.P.R.D. The Black Goddess. I am guessing that the timeframe of the storiers is roughly the same as the release dates of the issues themselves. For example, the current story arcs for B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth and Abe Sapien would be set around end-2014 to early-2015 in the story. Does anyone know if this is correct? Also does anyone know if anyone else has compiled a complete (to date) timeline of the events in the Mignolaverse? Note, I am not looking for a reading order or publishing order but for a fictional timeline of the events in the Mignolaverse.

    Also if anyone is interested in a copy of the current timeline I have compiled so far please let me know. I'll be happy to post it here of attach a link unless anyone knows of any reason (board rules or legal) why I would not be allowed to as most of the content is from the Hellboy Companion.

    Thanks to any for your help and I look forward to discussing this and adding to my timeline in the near future.

    Cheers. PHM

  2. #2

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    I can save you a bit of trouble. The timeline falls apart completely from 2006 onwards. The story is always set in"current day," in the ongoing storylines, so even though characters will reference an event as only being "last month" it's somehow a year ago. If you look at the events from The Black Flame (March 2006) to The Return of the Master (2012), it only covers a span of about two and half to three years. Like the way Abe was unconscious for four months, but in publishing time it was two years, so whenever they reference time its still present day.

    I just don't think about it anymore.

  3. #3
    Incredible Member Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by middenway View Post
    I can save you a bit of trouble. The timeline falls apart completely from 2006 onwards. The story is always set in"current day," in the ongoing storylines, so even though characters will reference an event as only being "last month" it's somehow a year ago. If you look at the events from The Black Flame (March 2006) to The Return of the Master (2012), it only covers a span of about two and half to three years. Like the way Abe was unconscious for four months, but in publishing time it was two years, so whenever they reference time its still present day.

    I just don't think about it anymore.
    'The Hellboy Companion' as published dedicated its foreword (by Scott Allie) to mentioning some levels of reserve towards any mapping out a timeline.

    And when I explored the timeline given for a first time it seemed very apparent to me that the most current stuff towards the B.P.R.D. then seemed way more fickle and somehow unrewarding to map out in comparison to potential milestones buried in the past.

    As if when some things get labeled or experienced to being milestones then not all things can. I think that when a writer or creator finds a way to make history or different times count, then it may become rewarding to not doing that all the time. Or otherwise such references might become to lose significance or become too much of a chore.

    I could understand that because of time references being potentially of note within the the stories, that they couldn't be presented as being of note just all the time.

    Plus I wouldn't think the references are made of note in order to make stories more real or better conceived, as the intention behind the time references are presented for readers to be making their connections - not as a necessity but only should readers be wanting to.

    To me as a reader it felt like Hellboy storylines such as Strange Places started toying or bringing attention to how even time itself would be fickle and dense in its passing, as much as any fate or sense to things would or could be proving or seeming outlandish or remarkable.
    Strange Places or the epic trilogy following it still make mention of certain milestones or stuff from the past, but at the same time such references seem handled... strŕngely in ways. Quite significantly both as very intentionally most likely.

    Also, I would personally feel that most B.P.R.D. stories feel different to solo adventures, different to Hellboy or Witchfinder and even LoJo, probably because for the B.P.R.D. a dynamic of the sharing of responsibilities both as decisions (something very realistic) can be presented to being a thing, whereas in solo stories such might be less of a thing.
    Resulting into more of a roller coaster impromptu type of attitude whereas Hellboy more rather can wander and be to wonder much more contemplatively complete with enough room for timely references or hindsights to become part of the stories?

    And lastly the Mexico story and stories seem deliberate unspecifiable stories up to a point: Hellboy has a lost period in his life with a lot of boozing and fighting happening, of which some or more could be just bravado or drunkard adventure less or more - which all seems an intentional way of enabling the creation of stories without anything needing to burden a creator at all.

    Mr Mike often mentions in interviews how he wouldn't want to be writing himself or others into corners. So the employing of references or any writing tools likely couldn't or shouldn't become a strain too much, since why would it have to be?
    Continuity or timely references DON'T become better, the more reference is made to it. As the best way would be to not be going overboard.

    I wouldn't agree that any timelines "fall apart" at points but that in plenty of cases stories would have been deemed better off without such references in its making.

    I'd think that any intention behind timely references would be to help tell stories instead of making the mapping of such into some kind of sport just for the sake of itself. As much as references and layeredness would be helping the writing both as the reader enjoyment, it seems to me the adagium 'less = more' would apply to it.
    Last edited by Kees_L; 01-17-2015 at 03:52 PM.
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  4. #4
    Newbie Member Power Hungry Monkey's Avatar
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    Thanks for the imput guys.

    I guess it is as I feared, after the companion timeline there is little reference in the comics to specific dates or even years and, as you point out Middenway, it seams the fictional times dont even line up very will with the publication dates as I had hoped.

    I know that Mignola and Allie and nearly everyone else involved in the Mignolaverse has said that they intentionally leave things open and non-specific to give them freedom. I agree with this but I just love what they have been able to do with the events on the 'verse' and how they have linked back to little, off-hand, things written in 10-20 years ago and manage to create a story and characters out of them. Thats what interestes me in making a timeline, i want to see where they got these threads from orignally and what they have done to tie them together in the current arcs. The best example of this is from Seed of Destruction and the prophecy that Abe is given, "sunken bells are tolling for thee." I have read that Mike threw this in for something to come back to later but with no specific idea of what that would be. 20 years on and thats only just being brought back into the story in the Abe Sapien series.

    Well, if adding to the timeline as-of 2007 or so is going to be a bit of a lost cause at least I can fill in the gaps and refernces that pop up in the timeline before this point. There are still lots of points in Lobster Johnson or Witchfinder for example that can be added and in even in Hellboy in Hell I have been able to add in a few extra dates, like the fate of the Warlock Angus Were and how his house came to be on the shores of Acheron. Stuff like that is fun for me so I will contiune to add to the timeline I have were I am able.

    In saying that I will contiune to post questions here in the hope that others may help me figure it out. For example, in Lobster Johnson: The Prayer of Neferu I can find a specific date for the events but no reference to the year. Is this pre-1932 when the Lobster is a known presence in New York or is this during the reign of Arnie Wald and his crime syndicate? If others could help with stuff like this I would be most grateful and again I will be happy to provide a link or attachment for anyone who is interested in the timeline. As Jason Hall says in the Companion, "this is for all the continuity nerds out there."

    Cheers. PHM

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Power Hungry Monkey View Post
    Thanks for the imput guys.

    I guess it is as I feared, after the companion timeline there is little reference in the comics to specific dates or even years and, as you point out Middenway, it seams the fictional times dont even line up very will with the publication dates as I had hoped.

    I know that Mignola and Allie and nearly everyone else involved in the Mignolaverse has said that they intentionally leave things open and non-specific to give them freedom. I agree with this but I just love what they have been able to do with the events on the 'verse' and how they have linked back to little, off-hand, things written in 10-20 years ago and manage to create a story and characters out of them. Thats what interestes me in making a timeline, i want to see where they got these threads from orignally and what they have done to tie them together in the current arcs. The best example of this is from Seed of Destruction and the prophecy that Abe is given, "sunken bells are tolling for thee." I have read that Mike threw this in for something to come back to later but with no specific idea of what that would be. 20 years on and thats only just being brought back into the story in the Abe Sapien series.

    Well, if adding to the timeline as-of 2007 or so is going to be a bit of a lost cause at least I can fill in the gaps and refernces that pop up in the timeline before this point. There are still lots of points in Lobster Johnson or Witchfinder for example that can be added and in even in Hellboy in Hell I have been able to add in a few extra dates, like the fate of the Warlock Angus Were and how his house came to be on the shores of Acheron. Stuff like that is fun for me so I will contiune to add to the timeline I have were I am able.

    In saying that I will contiune to post questions here in the hope that others may help me figure it out. For example, in Lobster Johnson: The Prayer of Neferu I can find a specific date for the events but no reference to the year. Is this pre-1932 when the Lobster is a known presence in New York or is this during the reign of Arnie Wald and his crime syndicate? If others could help with stuff like this I would be most grateful and again I will be happy to provide a link or attachment for anyone who is interested in the timeline. As Jason Hall says in the Companion, "this is for all the continuity nerds out there."

    Cheers. PHM
    I think your best bet would be to place events post-2006 in reference to the stories they were in rather than a date. They can still be arranged in relation to each other very easily.

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    I'd love to see it.

  7. #7
    Newbie Member Power Hungry Monkey's Avatar
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    Hmmm, Lobster, I've just tried to link the PDF of the timeline as an attachment but it is far too big for the forum allowances. Does anyone know of a good way I could lik this, like through a Photobucked type site maybe?

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    I've dreamed of doing just this for years, but never made the time for it. Would love to see what you've come up with. I was as disappointed as you are when I realized the timeline fell apart immediately after the publication of the Companion.

    In fact, six or so years ago I sent a letter to Hellmail about this (can't remember which issue it got printed in, sorry) and wowee zowee, Scott Allie was definitely not happy to hear about it -- his response was basically an exasperated "You're reading the comics wrong if you care about timeline consistency," coupled with a "I knew we never should have published that Companion -- look what it's brought upon us now!" Don't get me wrong: judging from my several other interactions with him, he's a great guy, and clearly he's excellent at his job(s). But I wouldn't suggest sharing your work with him.

    I, on the other hand, can't wait to see it!

  9. #9
    Newbie Member Power Hungry Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremypowell View Post
    I've dreamed of doing just this for years, but never made the time for it. Would love to see what you've come up with. I was as disappointed as you are when I realized the timeline fell apart immediately after the publication of the Companion.

    In fact, six or so years ago I sent a letter to Hellmail about this (can't remember which issue it got printed in, sorry) and wowee zowee, Scott Allie was definitely not happy to hear about it -- his response was basically an exasperated "You're reading the comics wrong if you care about timeline consistency," coupled with a "I knew we never should have published that Companion -- look what it's brought upon us now!" Don't get me wrong: judging from my several other interactions with him, he's a great guy, and clearly he's excellent at his job(s). But I wouldn't suggest sharing your work with him.

    I, on the other hand, can't wait to see it!
    Yeah I kinda knew they would take that view. Every interview and replies to Hellmail give that impression. And to an extent I agree. A phrase that they use is "once you define you confine," (or something to that effect) and its true, so much of what makes Hellboy and the rest so good is the gaps that let you fill in the blanks or the little hints that let the long-time reader or mythology buff say "hey, I see what you did there." The timeline for me is something I just wanted to do for myself because I find it fun and, as I said before, I really love the world-building aspect of the Mignolaverse and this is a way to see it. Plus its something that it seems no-one has either wanted to do or been bothered to do outseide the Companion, which means a lot of the fun is in the reaearch and testing myself to see if I can find the clues and make the links.

    When I figure out a way to post the PDF or attach it in some way I'll put it here. Not in the hope of getting it noticed by Mignola or Allie and them saying "Wow! Thanks for doing this for us." because I know that won't happen even if they do stumble upon it. Its for anyone who has an interest and would like to get a few of the links they may have missed. Hey, if it wasnt for me needing to know what the references where in Hellboy I would never have really bothered to get into the rest of the titles in the 'verse, now I can't get enough of it, all of it!

  10. #10
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    Hi, guys.

    I've done something like this for my Hellboy column on russian comics website.

    I didn't fit there all events, only stories. And as was mentioned above, it is not a reading order in any way. It was done mostly to understand cause-effect connection. As a source I used companion, in-stories mentions and a great thread, Mark was doing on the old forum. Hope, it will help.

    Here is the link - http://spidermedia.ru/blog/shargor/h...les-chronology. This article is on Russian, but don't worry, timeline is in English.

  11. #11
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    Thanks Shrgor, thats pretty cool. Shame I can't read the rest of the article.

    This is what Middenway was saying though about the timeline getting a bit lost as of 2006 or so. You've got the current events in the comics set about 6 years ago or so so the most recent 'in-world' time is about 2009. I've recently seen an image, maybe in a Dark Horse Sampler, or something that gives a REALLY brief history of Hellboy up to his death at the hands of Nimue. In that (and remember this is in a Dark Horse publication) they actually give a date of Hellboy's death: 10th August 2011. They also make mention of events in The Wild Hunt being in 2009. This would throw your timeline way out of whack as most of whats happpening in B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth and Abe Sapien is set well after Hellboy's death. We know this from frequent mention to England being 'lost' or destroyed. Also we know that at the time of The Wild Hunt and The Storm and the Fury we have reached the end of the original B.P.R.D. series and are now into the Hell on Earth series as Hellboy sees an image of the creature in the Sultan Sea while he is at a bar in England.

    So.... this makes it even harder to get acurate dates. Its not hard to tell what events are happening alongside other events, like Hell on Earth and Abe Sapien because we get references to them in the other title. What I'm interestd in is fitting these events (like the history of Iosef Nichkayo and Varara sown in A Cold Day in Hell) into the timeline. There is little point of refence other than it is after Abe Sapied: The Abyssal Plain but before B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Russia, a gap of maybe 20-25 years in the timeline. You see what I'm up against?

    Thanks for the help and I'll use your link as a refence to try to link up bits of the timeline I know. I'll keep pluggin away and keep you informed of any brake-throughs.

    Cheers. PHM

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    That image, you refer to, is just a promotional material. The main goal was to sync in-universe timeline with real world timeline. But last dates heavily contradict, what was stated in comics (primary source), because, for example, there is no way that 2,5 years have passed between The Wild Hunt and The Storm. So I just ignore this thing.

    As for "other" events (mentioned or even briefly showed in comics) I said before, that I only mapped primal events (=main stories and sometimes flashbacks, when they cover more that a half of the story), so that's the maximum how I can help.

  13. #13
    Incredible Member Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shargor View Post
    That image, you refer to, is just a promotional material. The main goal was to sync in-universe timeline with real world timeline. But last dates heavily contradict, what was stated in comics (primary source), because, for example, there is no way that 2,5 years have passed between The Wild Hunt and The Storm. So I just ignore this thing.
    I totally understand the fun to puzzling and plotting things out.

    But how I'd be readings things, I'd say that 'worldbuilding' or timelines seem pretty fitting when a comics creator can be having cake festively with both collaborators and fans at a Comic Shop at the exact publication date of its title hero going through something existential worthy enough to commemorate!

    If only since both comics readers as well as creators will understand how big a date or deadline can be, or how publication itself would be of note onto how created reading material would be to turn out in actuality however fictituous its contents might amount to.

    Having things be chronological or fitting like a glove will be one thing, but the festive and successful sharing of a published creation among as varied a public as any reader/enthusiast willing, would seem something pretty special to me.
    And also sort of fitting to anything as imaginatively created as Hellboy would be.

    I would also say that at least as of the Darkness Calls/Wild Hunt/The Storm & The Fury trilogy - as well as before that, as over the course of Strange Places - time seems to be moving differently for Hellboy.
    Not merely as contradictions or mishaps, but more rather Hellboy appears caught up in a love affair he never had had, as well as in a Witches' War waged by an ancient goddess, he joins the Wild Hunt, he walks with giants, gets crowned King of England by lady Morgan Le Fey, rides a car, witnesses rainfall, and then some, until the Ogdru Jahad both as Vigrid become awakened even when by destiny they shouldn't yet be...
    His sweetheart is touched by the Faeries, his place to stay kept by someone long dead. And in the end he doesn't seem to be falling all that far from the clutches of a dragon, yet as becoming to drop straight down the maw of Hell.

    Amid all that, it would be weird if time would have still functioned *normally*, I would wager. Plus in 'B.P.R.D.: An Unmarked Grave' this weirdness is actually discussed between Kate and Reverend Bill and Alice, at the beginning of which agent Bruno checks the time on his mobile phone. I would call that a straight-up timeline prank, or a helpful clue if you will.

    Because how I read, clues or references help the reading and sensemaking both as the imagination, but I wouldn't think chronology or stuff adding up would have to be the only things making a story or *universe* good. At all.

    And for what I'm yet to figure out, I still keep on re-reading, next to any new installment coming out. I call that fun.
    Last edited by Kees_L; 01-19-2015 at 10:58 AM.
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    SUCCESS! I think...

    I reacon I've manged to get a link up that will allow anyone to view the PDF of the timeline. This is as far as I have gotten so far. There is a fair bit of Lobster Johnson I haven't added in yet and I'm still sifting through B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Abe Sapien and Hellboy in Hell and any more scraps of info i can add in. When I get more in there I will update and let you all know.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4M...ew?usp=sharing

    Enjoy and let me know what you think. If you have anymore dates, references or info to add please let me know.

    Cheers. PHM

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    Great work!

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