Hellboy is neither a boy, nor is he in Hell. (though he might be from around those parts, no one is really sure including himself...) He isn't exactly a demon, either, though he is very large and very red.

Hellboy is a character. He's the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with after work. Hellboy can get away like no one else with shouting things like "Big talk for a guy with no pants!" while battling zombies or vampires...

At some undocumented point in Hellboy's early life, someone either sawed off the two large horns from his forehead, or he snapped them off himself. Little matter, for now he has two strange looking discs protruding from his skull. He does manage to stay hip with a little black goatee, however.

To cover up his strange looks while walking the streets of New York City or even Baltimore, Hellboy wears a BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) issue trenchcoat, but he often forgets to button it, or his tail hangs out. ( and he never bothers to find shoes that fit his tiny goat feet... )

Oh, did I mention Hellboy's right arm is made of stone and rumored to be the key to the apocalypse? Its really not that important mostly, but it sure is good for clobbering the drooling undead!

( In all seriousness, I usually laugh until I bust a gut when I read a new issue of Hellboy by Mike Mignola - check it out! )
I don't ordinarily care for talking dead guys--but you might just be okay... even with the smell.

Hellboy is a comic book series created, written, and drawn by Mike Mignola (though John Byrne did the scripts for the first two Hellboy short stories and the first graphic novel while Mignola created the plot). The first Hellboy story was released in the San Diego Comic Con Comics #2 in August 1993. Hellboy is a pulp inspired, modern fantasy comic series. The series is released in spurts of story-arcs and short stories in collections.

Other comics have been spawned off of Hellboy, some of them have been written by other people than Mignola. There have been Abe Sapien, BPRD, Hellboy, Jr., and Lobster Johnson series.

On December 23, 1944, a ritual was performed at Stonehenge by a sorcerer of great power. He had the backing of Hitler's elite supernatural crew, who were called Project Ragna Rok. South of Stonehenge, at a castle in East Bromwich, were England's top occultists and one of America's superheroes, The Torch of Liberty. The sorcerer summoned a creature that could have power beyond belief.

However, the creature was summoned at the castle in East Bromwich. It was quickly dubbed by Trevor Bruttenholm as Hellboy. It was a small demon-like child with a right hand entirely made of stone.

Hellboy was brought up by various parts of the established BPRD, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. He aged quicker than a normal child, and became an onsite agent for BPRD by 1952. He's travelled around the world researching and solving paranormal cases. However, his past continues to haunt him. His links to hell seem to be stronger than a normal demon's. Also his right hand brings a great amount of attention from the occult world. His hand is supposedly a key to some great power. It's the one case that Hellboy hasn't solved yet.

The Hellboy series tends to take a humorous look at itself, as well as advancing the major plotline. It takes all of the basics of pulp writing and takes a 90s spin on them without losing any of the feel. Mignola also bases much of the paranormal things on mythological stories and occult beliefs. His two short story collections show this best, as well as him having notes in which he says where the stories are from.

The series begins with Seed of Destruction to Wake the Devil to Conqueror Worm. The Chained Coffin and Others and The Right Hand of Doom are composed of short stories that also sometimes deal with the major plotline.

The Hellboy Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game has come out from Steve Jackson Games in August 2002. It uses GURPS as its engine and contains a new short story by Christopher Golden as well as a new comic by Mike Mignola. The game itself is written by Phil Masters and Jonathan Woodward.

Slated for a Summer 2004 release is the Hellboy movie which will be directed/written by Guillermo del Toro and starring Ron Perlman as Hellboy. At one point Vin Diesel had also been considered for the role of Hellboy. Mike Mignola will be working closely will del Toro throughout the entire making of the film. It seems as though it will be based on the first graphic novel, Seed of Destruction.

Adventure film, released in 2004. It was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, based on the comic book by Mike Mignola. The stars included Ron Perlman as Hellboy, John Hurt as Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, Selma Blair as Liz Sherman, Rupert Evans as John Myers, Doug Jones as Abe Sapien (with David Hyde Pierce providing Abe's voice), Karel Roden as Rasputin, Jeffrey Tambor as Dr. Manning, Ladislov Beran as Kroenen, Corey Johnson as Agent Clay, and Bridget Hodson as Ilsa.

The story should be familiar to anyone who has read Mignola's comic books: Hellboy is a demon from hell, summoned by the Nazis during World War II (including the infamous Grigori Rasputin) but captured and raised to adulthood by the Allies. Now working as an agent of the top-secret Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, Hellboy and his fellow agents, including the telepathic fishman Abe Sapien, the psychologically-fragile pyrokinetic Liz Sherman, and 100%-totally-normal John Myers, work to foil a plot by a group of immortal Nazis to destroy the world.

Mike Mignola's dark, action-packed stories -- and particularly his characterization of Hellboy as a big red demon with filed-off horns, a gruff and sarcastic demeanor (with a soulful, almost mournful, inner core), and a thoroughly blue-collar attitude to investigating the paranormal and/or kicking monsters' butts -- make for surprisingly addictive reading, and it's not at all hard to find yourself collecting every single Hellboy comic book that gets released. So I went into the theater with high hopes for this movie -- and I still found myself surprised by how good the flick was.

Ron Perlman gets tons and tons of credit for making this movie so much fun. Yes, his makeup makes him look exactly like the comic book character, but Perlman also gets Hellboy's character down perfectly. He's a burly, brawling, stogie-chomping, beer-chugging tough guy who also loves kittens, his fellow BPRD agents, children, and most passionately, Liz Sherman. Perlman's Hellboy is never far removed from his soulful, sensitive side, even when pounding tentacled horrors from beyond. He may wish he looked like a normal man, but he's still one of the most human characters in the film.

While the film throws the comic book fans some treats (H.B.'s love of pancakes and a very, very brief cameo by Roger the Homunculus, for example), it also expands a number of minor characters from the comic book into satisfying and enjoyable larger roles, including Professor Bruttenholm, the Nazi assassin Kroenen, and uptight bureaucrat Manning. The modern suit-wearing Rasputin is also an improvement on the comic, where he was just another posturing, megalomaniacal villain.

In fact, "Hellboy" seems to be one of those rare comic book movies that don't require you to be a slavering fanboy to enjoy it. My brother, who's never read the "Hellboy" comic (or any other comics, actually), got just as much enjoyment out of the movie as I did. Action fans will find lots of stuff to enjoy, from H.B.'s many battles with the Sammael demons to Kroenen's wild clockwork fight scenes to a number of really excellent explosions. But there's also enough characterization, sharp dialogue, and vulnerability in the film to keep other moviegoers happy as well. However, comic fans will be the ones who get the most joy out of this movie -- "Hellboy" is one of the most faithful translations I've ever seen of a comic book to the silver screen, exceeded only by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's "Sin City" movie.

Making "Hellboy" was one of del Toro's dream projects, and he actually passed up the chance to direct "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" in order to make this one. He also provided the voices for Baby Hellboy, Ivan the corpse, the Sammael demons, and Kroenen.

Favorite bit of trivia: When Mignola and del Toro were discussing making the movie, they asked each other who they wanted to play Hellboy. They decided to count to three, then reveal their chosen actor at the same time. Both picked Ron Perlman.

Some research from the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com)

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