Introduced in 1993 by Mike Mignola, Hellboy has since graced the pages of numerous comics and earned appearances in two live-action films. The gruff and tough character, known for his hellish exterior and well-meaning nature, was summoned to Earth and became a paranormal investigator working for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Working under the guidance of his adoptive father Professor Bruttenholm, Hellboy is joined in his quest to stop the forces of evil by folklore expert Kate Corrigan, amphibian humanoid Abe Sapien, and pyrokinetic Liz Sherman.
Throughout his mission, Hellboy has encountered and battled otherworldly creatures and supernatural entities and has struggled to adhere to his religious upbringing despite his demonic origin. In various comic storylines, the character has delved into his dark childhood and discovered revealing secrets about not only his past, but his ultimate destiny. Being a hybrid of both the human and demon world, Hellboy has proven he is able to face any challenge brought his way. Though they inspired a huge cult following, Guillermo del Toro's films failed to be big box-office successes and to many fans' dismay, the final installment of what was meant to be a trilogy was scrapped. In 2017, Mignola announced a reboot of the franchise would be created with David Harbor cast as the main character. Loosely based on Hellboy: The Wild Hunt and Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury, the film will have Hellboy confront Nimue the Blood Queen as she plots to wage war against the human race.
15 AN UNHOLY BIRTH
Hellboy made his first appearance on December 23, 1944, after being summoned by the evil sorcerer Rasputin during a ritual in England done by German soldiers. After being adopted by Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm, the human-demon hybrid was raised in a secret government facility and trained to become a member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D).
However, Hellboy was actually born on October 5, 1617, by a dark witch named Sarah Hughes while on her deathbed. Having received her powers from being the consort of Duke of Hell Azzael, she attempted to repent for her sins during her last moments on Earth. Born from his mother's ashes, Hellboy was bestowed the "Right Hand of Doom" and sent away to fulfill his apocalyptic destiny.
14 GIVE HIM A HAND
After his birth, Azzael brutally removed his newborn's right hand and gave him a powerful relic in place of it. Belonging to the Watcher Anum and used to create "The Dragon of Revelation", the "Right Hand of Doom" is the key to bringing about the end of the world. Seemingly made from a reddish stone, the weapon is invulnerable and feels little to no pain.
Powerful on its own, Hellboy remains its wearer in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Mainly using his stone arm as a means to defend himself, Hellboy relies on his fully-functional left hand when firing weapons and operating devices.
13 DESCENDANT OF ROYALTY
Despite his dark upbringing, Hellboy discovered he was also a member of a royal family. His mother was related to Sir Mordred, the despised son of King Arthur and Morgan Le Fay. After his sons were executed, Mordred's only daughter survived to give birth to Sarah who in turn gave birth to the rightful heir of King Arthur's throne. As the King of England, Hellboy's destiny would be to wield Excalibur and lead the Army of the Dead.
Having pulled the sword from the stone, Hellboy is tasked with preventing Nimue from unleashing a bloody war. After beating Nimue's champion, Hellboy struggles to align himself with the undead army for fear he will lose himself to the endless bloodshed.
12 FOREVER YOUNG
As a human-demon hybrid, Hellboy has decelerated aging. In "Pancakes", the young demon is technically supposed to be barely two years old but appears roughly around age six. Appearing to have reached adulthood in 1954, the character is only ten years old; demonstrating that his increased physical maturation is at odds with his slower rate of aging.
Joining the B.P.R.D at the age of eight, Hellboy had the appearance of a middle-aged man but the mentality of a rebellious teenager. In the Guillermo del Toro film, one of the agents at B.P.R.D reveals that according to their research, Hellboy is supposed to be in his sixties. However, when working in terms of "reverse dog-years" they estimate he's "barely out of his 20s."
11 ONE HECK OF A FIGHTER
Hellboy also possesses incredible superhuman endurance and a "healing factor" similar to Wolverine. Able to withstand injuries that would otherwise be fatal for a normal being, he is capable of taking on high caliber rounds, exposure to contrasting temperatures, and drastic falls from high places.
He has survived pretty much any kind of brutal or violent attack that could come to him, because he is literally just that strong and durable. Due to his demonic nature, Hellboy is also able to withstand exposure to flames. The movie version of the character is shown to be invulnerable to Liz Sherman's fire abilities and electrocution burns.
10 THE DEMON WITHIN
Meant to be the Harbinger of the Apocalypse and unleash the Ogdru Jahad-- the Seven Gods of Chaos--upon the Earth, Hellboy has struggled to delay his destiny as Anung Un Rama. In his true demon form, he possesses full-grown horns, wings and is able to summon devastating infernos and call down lightning.
Hellboy's "Right Hand of Doom" is the literal key to releasing the hellish creature from its prison and several attempts have been made to sever such a devastating weapon from the hybrid's body in an attempt to both prevent and hasten the end of the world. In the 2004 film, Hellboy unleashes his Anung Un Rama form in exchange for the return of Liz Sherman's soul.
9 POSSESSED BY EVIL
Featured in the anthology series The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings, the story Doctor Carp's Experiment featured Hellboy and the B.P.R.D team exploring a haunted house belonging to the infamous doctor who mysteriously disappeared in 1902. After a blueprint surfaces revealing a hidden basement, Hellboy explores the room and is subdued by two men and a sample of his blood is extracted from Doctor Carp.
Injecting the substance into a chimpanzee as an experiment, the animal transforms into a demonic creature and breaks free of his bonds, and ends up attacking everyone. Hellboy passes out only to awaken in an empty, dust-covered room and quickly realizes he witnessed a recreation of the last living moments of Doctor Carp.
8 THE POWER OF CHRIST
Despite his demonic origin, Hellboy is invulnerable to holy weapons and symbols and able to enter sacred places of worship without being harmed because he is "no ordinary creature of Hell." However, this is not the case in the films.
In Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy, the character is capable of being harmed by holy objects when in his Anung Un Rama form. After unleashing the Ogdru Jahad from its slumber, the demon is reminded of his human side when Agent Meyers tosses Broom's rosary beads to him. Catching them, it's shown that the jewelry burns Hellboy's skin, leaving an imprint of the cross on his palm.
7 BORN THIS WAY
In his determination to defy his destiny, it's no wonder Hellboy aims to distance himself from all things evil. Having immense hatred for his horns, representations of his devilish nature, Hellboy routinely files them down to stubs to prevent himself from giving in to his darker side. In the films, he does this to maintain a somewhat "normal" appearance among his colleagues at B.P.R.D.
Regularly called a "freak" among the human population he tries to protect, Hellboy is very insecure about how he appears to other people, especially those he cares about. In the 2004 film, the hybrid has a private moment with Liz and reveals his desire to "do something" about his monstrous appearance and expresses anger that he can do nothing to change it.
6 MISSING PARTS
Aside from the horns and red complexion, another sign of Hellboy's demonic origin is the fact that he has hooves instead of feet. In the comics, this unique feature is often hidden underneath the character's large jacket that falls just below his knees. However, in the first live-action film, Hellboy's hooves only make a brief appearance.
When Agent Meyers meets Hellboy for the first time, the camera offers a close-up shot of the character working out. Switching to a wide shot, the camera reveals Hellboy is standing on two cloven feet. For the rest of the film, as well as the sequel, Ron Perlman performs in regular boots; the director believing it would be a safer option when it came to stunts.
5 THE MAKINGS OF A MONSTER
Ron Perlman is no stranger when it comes to donning makeup and prosthetics for a role. In 1987, he endured hours of transformation to become The Beast in the television series Beauty and the Beast. Before that, he played an 80-thousand-year-old Neanderthal and a hunchback.
For del Toro's Hellboy, the actor took four hours-- roughly two and a half actually in the chair-- to become the hellish hybrid. By the end of the grueling process, only Perlman's eyelids remained noticeable under layers of makeup and pounds of foam prosthetics. In order to achieve Hellboy's toned physique, Perlman trained three hours a day, sometimes in between takes, for five days a week.
4 UNLEASHING THE BEAST
Since the announcement of the 2019 Hellboy reboot, David Harbor has been working hard as he prepares to replace Perlman in the role of Hellboy. Shedding his "dad bod" from his time on Stranger Things, Harbor took on "a solid three months of heavy lifting," working closely with trainer Don Saladino to pack on muscle and become physically stronger.
Showing true dedication the role, the actor builds his own version of a "homemade Hellboy suit" using a boxing helmet, hockey pads and shin guards. Using the makeshift outfit, Harbor spent three weeks rehearsing all of his stunt choreography in order to get a better understanding of how to perform when it came time to wear the prosthetics.
3 A YOUNG SPITFIRE
In Hellboy and The Golden Army, we receive another glimpse of Hellboy's childhood. The scene involves the adolescent hellion spending Christmas Eve in 1955 watching Howdy Doody before bed. Pleading for a story before bedtime, he is told the story of The Golden Army by father-figure Professor Broom.
Despite the childish appearance of the character, the young Hellboy was actually played by a thirty-year-old actress named Montse Ribe. Born in 1972, the Spanish makeup artist and actress went on to have her work featured in Pan's Labyrinth, winning the Academy Award for Best Makeup. Working as a special effects supervisor, her work has also been featured in Crimson Peak and A Monster Calls.
2 A LITTLE HELLION
In 1997, a mini-series created by Billy Wray and Mike Mignola introduced Hellboy Junior. The two-issue comic book featured the adventures of a young version of Hellboy during his time in Hell. In Issue 1 of the two-part series, Hellboy buys a "Grow Your Own Mushrooms" Kit and takes a psychedelic trip with a beetle named Brad. In Issue 2, he travels through a forbidden forest and becomes the victim of a witch's curse.
This version of the character is non-canonical, featuring a childhood before being summoned by Rasputin during Project Ragna Rok and being adopted by Professor Broom. Constantly finding himself bored with his surroundings, the rebellious Hellboy Jr. finds himself getting into mischief with a wide variety of companions.
1 RAISING A DEMON
The origin of Hellboy came about during Great Salt Lake Comic Con when Mike Mignola made a rough sketch of a demon character with a belt that featured the name "Hellboy." Not taking the creation seriously at first, Mignola decided to take inspiration from the drawing and his childhood--listening to his father's stories about horrible work accidents as a cabinet maker--to create his own character-driven stories.
Initially, the character was conceived as a more brutish figure completely covered in hair and feathery wings. After some reworking, the character made his first appearance in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 and has since then been featured in various comic series, live-action and animated films, and video games.