What to Know About Hellboy, the Half-Demon Hero

HEY YOU GUYSSS! By the banner you clicked to get into the article, you should already know what what I will be talking about today. That’s right! My most favorite half-demon Nazi killing hero and “World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator,” Hellboy! He first appeared in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 (August 1993), created by writer-artist Mike Mignola. The original drawing for Comic-Con was of a demon with the name “Hellboy” written on his belt. Mignola had no intention of doing anything serious with the concept, but eventually decided he liked the name and decided to develop and publish the character.

Since then, Hellboy has appeared in various eponymous miniseries, one-shots and intercompany crossovers. The character has, so far, been adapted into two live-action feature films in 2004 and 2008 that starred Ron Perlman, and two straight-to-DVD animated films, as well as three video games – Asylum Seeker, The Science of Evil, and as a playable character in Injustice 2. And now, this Friday we will once again see a film reboot of Hellboy starring David Harbour!

To go into Hellboy’s history, his true name is Anung Un Rama (“and upon his brow is set a crown of flame”) and is known as the “Harbinger of the Apocalypse,” he was summoned from Hell to Earth as a baby by Nazi occultists to be used as a weapon. He was discovered by the Allied Forces, who were there to stop the Nazi occultists. Amongst them was Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who ended up raising Hellboy “as a normal boy” and formed the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.). In time, Hellboy grew to be a large, red-skinned adult with a tail, horns (which he files off, leaving behind circular stumps on his forehead), cloven hooves for feet, and an oversized right hand made of stone (the “Right Hand of Doom”).

At the age of eight, Hellboy officially started working for the B.P.R.D., an international non-governmental agency, and for himself against dark forces including Nazis and witches, in a series of tales that have their roots in folklore, pulp magazines, vintage adventure, Lovecraftian horror and horror fiction.

Hellboy’s first official comic by Mignola was in 1994 and last comic was in 2016 spanning 22 years of writing and drawing by Mignola and in which, has won many prestigious awards during this time, such as a few Eisner Awards, Harvey Award, Eagle Awards, and more.

Since this is my article, and is supposed to be about comics, I will go into a few things about why I love Hellboy comics. First of all, did I mention he kills Nazi’s? Well let’s not forget that. But visually, I am so in love with the minimalist style Mignola illustrates in. His use of shadows, how he can block out almost an entire frame in black is just stylistically amazing. I also love how you can just jump into Hellboy at almost any time and be able to follow the story. For example, my favorite volume of Hellboy is volume 4, where in a way, this volume steps back from the main storyline and goes on a tangent of Hellboy tackling more Irish folklore. In my opinion, Hellboy can do anything and be anywhere. What also adds to the amazingness of this story and universe, are the people on the B.P.R.D. that he fights along with such as Abe Sapien, an amphibian humanoid (Ichthyo sapiens) and Liz Sherman, a young pyrokinetic.  

Hellboy is described as a likeable, gruff person with witty humor in his attitude. He is a force for good, with an iron will and a desire to do the right thing. He has continuously stated his disinterest in his supposed ‘purpose,’ and tries to hide his conflicted feelings beneath the wisecracking facade of an adventurous tough-guy who would just as soon knock back a cold beer and light a stogie, than battle demons and evil spirits. My kind of guy! His powers include superhuman endurance and strength, decelerated aging, ability to comprehend ancient languages, and enhanced sight and thermal resistance. But he can also, under emotional duress, transform into a more demonic form which gives him full-grown horns, wings, is much stronger, and has access to his latent magic. Even with all this available power, Hellboy just wants to be a normal guy.

So if you want to get into the comics, I recently found this great INFOGRAPHIC TIMELINE of the comics storyline but I’d suggest starting with Hellboy Volume 1 because that’s where I fell in love. Before purchasing any comics, be sure to check out your local small business comic shops, or even check out your local library! If you see the new movie, let me know what you think of Harbour vs Perlman and what you think of the overall movie! Also, out of curiosity, what’s your favorite Hellboy comic? Until next Wednesday my Nerds…

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