Comic Legends: Hellboy's Surprising Origins

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and twelfth week of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Here's Part 1 of this week's Comic Book Legends Revealed! Let's continue!


A sketch at a convention inspired the creation of Hellboy.



My pal Wayne and I were talking the other day, and he suggested this interesting story about Hellboy's origins. Do note that this story is very familiar to fans of Hellboy, so note that I'm not trying to drop any knowledge on Hellboy fans here. But for the rest of the people out there, this is interesting stuff.

A few years back, my buddy Christopher Irving (who you can follow here for all of his comic book-related writings. He's great) did an interview with Mike Mignola for "Back Issue" magazine and he asked Mignola how Hellboy got started:

I had never really given any serious thought to doing, and certainly not writing, my own comic. I'd done this drawing for a convention and written "Hellboy" on it as the last thing; I've done this drawing with a blank space on his belt that I wrote it on. I thought it was funny, but wasn't serious about doing anything with it.

Here is the sketch in question, from the 1991 Great Salt Lake Comic Con program...

The Fight for Comics Podcast also shared this commission that Mignola did for a store owner at that con...

So Image Comics formed soon afterwards and they made some general suggestions of maybe having a spot for Mignola. His friend Art Adams, though, was going to do a creator-owned thing for Dark Horse Comics and Mignola really started to think of doing something for it. Eventually, after some false starts, he came back to the character that he had drawn before, mostly because that name "Hellboy" just stuck into his head.

So he did "Hellboy" for Dark Horse and, well, I think we all know what happened since then, it became one of the most popular independent comic book characters of all-time.

Thanks to Wayne for the suggestion for this one and thanks to Christopher Irving and Mike Mignola for the information! And thanks to the Fight for Comics podcast for the other sketch.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at CBR: Did Captain America nearly fight ANOTHER Captain America in the third "Captain America" film?

Check back Sunday for part 3 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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