Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixty-sixth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends.
Hellboy almost debuted as part of a BPRD-esque superhero team.
As any fans of the Hellboy comic book universe (and the Hellboy films) know, the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) is the joint United States/United Kingdom organization designed to investigate paranormal issues and defend the world from them. Hellboy was their most famous agent, but they have had a number of notable agents over the years.
The BPRD debuted in the very first Hellboy miniseries, Seed of Destruction, which followed up on Hellboy’s debut in John Byrne’s Next Men (Byrne scripted the first miniseries to help Mignola ease into writing his own series). The stories, though, initially were just Hellboy solo stories (just with him working for the BPRD. Later on, when he split from them, they got their own series).
However, originally, Hellboy was not going to be a solo hero at all!
As noted in a Comic Book Legends Revealed installment from last year, Hellboy began life as a sketch at a comic book convention. Reader Ken G., though, wrote in to ask if I could write further about Mignola’s early work with the character.
You see, Art Adams was planning on doing a creator-owned deal at Dark Horse Comics and Adams invited Mignola to participate, as well. At the time, Mignola’s mind went to where most people’s mind would have gone at the time – a superhero team. When John Byrne did his own creator-owned work at Dark Horse, for instance, he, too, did a superhero team. When Jim Lee, Ron Liefeld, Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio did their own creator-owned series around that time, they did superhero teams. It was just the most common thing for creators to come up with.
So Mignola came up with the idea for a supernatural superhero team and he had Hellboy be a member of the team. The team was basically a superhero version of the BPRD. They worked for the secretive Sidwell Institute for Paranormal Research and Defense organization. From this early sketch, besides Hellboy, you can see a bunch of familiar faces (or variations of them), like Captain Benjamin Daimio, Johann Kraus, Liz Sherman and Abe Sapien (Abe Sapien was called Dr. Douglass Hogg at this time)…
Hellboy would be, in effect, the Thing of the team. The big strong guy.
Amusingly enough, the NAME seemed to be the biggest problem. Mignola couldn’t come up with a good name for the team and he kept coming back to how cool the name “Hellboy” sounded, so he decided to revamp the book and have it just star the Hellboy character and the rest is, well, you know, history.
Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed – How was Amy Winehouse originally going to be featured in the Deadpool film?
Part 3 will be up soon! Feel free to write in with suggestions for future legends to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org!
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