Hellboy, Sinister Demon or
Renegade Do Gooder?


Quite frankly I had to ask myself, who is Hellboy anyway. I had not been up to speed on this rather interesting and bizarre comic book superhero until recently. I have now seen the DVD and rather enjoyed it.

He is a comic book character who has been classified as the 'World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator'. He is a large red-skinned quasi human/demon type with a tail, horns on his forehead, which have been sawed down to stumps and a big stone right hand (called the Right Hand of Doom). His creation is attributed to Mike Mignola. Hellboy's adventures have been chronicled in a sequence of comic book mini-series (commonly called graphic novels) published by Dark Horse Comics.

Hellboy's Demonic History!

Hell-boy debuted in 1993 in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 (Dark Horse Comics). The stories have a flavor of supernatural adventure with a dark mood embodied by creator Mignola's distinctive designs (often containing many of his characteristic swirls and his unique use of heavy shadows and basic colors). Writer Robert Bloch has praised Hell-boy as one of the most innovative and entertaining comics in recent years.

Most of the Hell-boy and related comics have been collected as trade paperbacks. People other than Mignola, including Christopher Golden, Guy Davis and Ryan Sook has even crafted some of the later stories. Golden has also written several novels about the character.

Hell-boy is a creature, who was summoned in the final months of World War II by a fictionalized version of Grigori Rasputin. He had been commissioned by the Nazis to change the tide of war through a secret projecr known as Ragnarok.

He appeared in a fireball conjured to appear in a ruined church in East Bromwich, England on December 23, 1944. He proved not to be a devil, but a little boy-like creature (with red skin, horns, a tail, and a large stone right hand) and was given his name by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (pronounced Broom).

Taken by the U.S. forces to an Air Force base somewhere in New Mexico, He was raised by the United States Army and by the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.). This was a U.S. agency dedicated to combating occult threats. The United Nations granted him honorary human status in 1952.

As an adult, Hell-boy became the primary agent for the B.P.R.D., alongside several other human and quasi-human agents. His fellow agents include Abe Sapien, an amphibian humanoid; Liz Sherman, a pyrokinetic; Roger, an unusually large homunculus; and Johann Kraus, a disembodied spiritualist.

Hell-boy's adventures in the comics span the 1940s to the present day. They have involved elements such as sorcerers, Nazis, the Thule Society, hollow earth explorers, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and other oddities such as the Ogdru Jahad.

Several of the storylines deal with his Right Hand of Doom and its purpose in initiating the Apocalypse.

The Right Hand of Doom

In the story, Seed of Destruction, Hell-boy is confronted by the fictionalized version of Rasputin only to find out what he is doing on Earth. His purpose is to supposedly command the powers that Rasputin would want to unleash upon the world. Hell-boy denies this version of his destiny and refuses to be controlled. While attempting to release the Ogdru Jahad, Rasputin is killed. Abe Sapien harpoons him through the chest while under the control of the ghost of Elihu Cavendish.

In another story, Wake the Devil, Hellboy meets the Goddess Hecate. Hellboy, is told that his arrival on Earth signals the end. At the climax of the story Hecate swallows him in the form of an iron maiden thus prompting otherworldly conflicts. He is told that his right hand is a key to open the pit. Refusing again Hell-boy breaks off his newly re-grown horns, revealing those two trademark circles on his forehead.

Ron Perlman's Comments

Ron Perlman, who played Hellboy in the 2004 Hollywood production, had this to say about the character:

"I see comic book movies because I have a young son, so I've seen more of them than I'd wish I'd seen. I thought X-Men was an example of great filmmaking applied to a rather interesting concept.

I thought Hellboy was unique in so much as you had a character who was an underachiever. He's very low-tech, he's very blue collar; doesn't take himself too seriously. He's a cigar chomping, beer drinking, slob of a guy who lives in a bachelor pad filled with cat poop, dirty socks, and he sort of chooses to move through the world with his tongue firmly implanted in his cheek.

He's got nothing but wise cracks and one liners for his opponents.... trash talk. If I was going to play any of them at all, I'm so glad it was him. The guy needs to have a sense of humor for me to have an interest in him, and I haven't seen all that many superhero movies with any kind of sense of humor at all.

More for the Lovers of the Demonic Do Gooder

Now if you happen to be into collecting and reading more about the Bizarre Adventures of Hellboy, I have researched some excellent resources. Here is a collection of Hellboy comics and back issues . I don't think you will be disappointed.

You may very well find a tidbit or two worthy of your interest. And of course, the ole standby, Amazon, has a multitude of items to tickle your taste buds. Just click the image at the left. Don't stay too long though, and come back here. And to keep up to date on happenings in the Hellboy world , this site is definitely worth spending some surf time on.

If you want to keep up on the varied and interesting activities going on in the world of comic books, then feel free to sign up for my newsletter "Comics Galore" in the form below. And by all means, I would love to hear your comments and opinions on the future of the Hellboy-character. You can sure leave them for me at my contact page in the menu at the left. I may even be able to include them in my newsletter. I thank you ahead of time.

Dave Gieber

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