By AL J. Vermette

     As people flee from the rampaging creature that has just burst onto the scene with screams in the air
that echo off the walls surrounding the mall courtyard, the beast with snarling fangs and ready claws.
Although most have already fled the sight, five people are now trapped between safety and the deadly
beast.  They scream for there is nothing that they can do. Mall cops fire at the creature but to no avail as
the monster just shakes off their bullets like flies on a dog. Nothing can save these people as they are
about to face a bloody painful doom.....that is until he arrives.

     Clad in a long trench coat and red skinned, the new creature to come looks as evil as the thing that is
about to snack on the people trapped in the food court. With a right hand made of stone and a really big
gun in his left, the newcomer starts firing at the dreaded beast. Backing off, the monster roars a painful
bellow before withdrawing and running off. As the fearing people watch the action, they are shocked that
this demon like beast just saved them and as the red toned, gun wielding creature with a long tail sprouting
from the back of his coat walks up to them, one brave boy asks "Who and what are you?" With a grin, he
pulls out a cigar and places it to his mouth before speaking "Kid......I'm Hellboy!"

      Hellboy is a half demon or Cambion, with a demon father and a human mother, who was a witch who
on her deathbed tried to repent her sins when she was brought to Hell itself by the demon Azzael who is
also Hellboy’s father. Upon the birth of the child, the boy’s father cut off the child's right hand and replaced
it with the Right Hand of Doom, a relic made of stone that is designed to fit into a lock that would bring
forth the end of the world. When other hellspawns learned of this child, Azzael sent the child away and had
him locked away in ice to keep him not only safe from the wrath of those in Hell who would have surely
destroyed him for being what he was, but to one day use his Hand of Doom to bring humanity to its knees.

     After more than 100 years on ice, the half demon child is called to Earth in the closing months of World
War II in a last attempt to aid the Nazi forces. He is summoned by the Monk Grigori Rasputin to help the
Nazis before they lose the war, but upon his return, the boy is discovered by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm
who brings the child back to the States and raises him like his own.  Being raised as a loved child and not
an evil monster that Rasputin would have used him for, Hellboy as he has become known, ends up not only
becoming a good soul, but works with his human father's Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.
Hellboy’s role in the (BPRD) is to fight and contain any evil creature threat that arises with the aid of not
only human members of the (BPRD), but with Abe Sapien, a half man half fish creature, and Liz Sherman,
a human with the power to start fires out of thin air.

     Although Hellboy may look more demon than human on the outside, he is very much like everyone else.
He has a love of cats, enjoys the company of his friends and workmates, likes a good cigar now and then
and does his best to fit into a world where he himself is so alien. Along with his red colored skin,
embedded into his forehead are two horns that he grinds down to keep from growing and appear as two
rounded stumps just above his eyes. Along with his skin tone, he has a long tail, hoofed feet and of course,
the large stone hand he uses to smash things like when in battle with an evil creature. Hellboy along with
his oversized right hand and arm, he has superhuman strength and endurance, accelerated healing along
with longevity.....Hellboy ages very slowly and although he was discovered in 1944 by his adoptive father,
he looks as though he is only in his 20’s.  

     Hellboy was created in 1993 by writer and comic book artist Mike Mignola who first drew a doodle of
the character one day at a comic book convention with the words Hellboy written on the creature belt. At
first he didn't have any plans for this character, but when thinking about doing a creator owned book of his
own, the drawing of Hellboy came to mind. Hellboy first appeared in the pages of the San Diego Comic-
Con Comics Issue #2 and was soon appearing in miniseries, one shot comic books crossovers and was
a bit hit.

     Soon Hollywood came looking to use the demon hero in a feature film and in 2004, actor Ron Perlman
took on the role of the red skinned superhero. Perlman no stranger to working under make-up, played the
character to the hilt with director Guillermo del Toro leading the film and co-starring Doug Jones as the fish
man Abe Sapien and Selma Blair as fire starter Liz. On a budget of $66 million, the movie made back $99
million at the box office and was received well by fans and critics alike. Four years later, a follow up to
Hellboy was released on July 2008 as Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The film with a larger budget of $85
million movie made back $160 million at the box office paving the way for a 3rd film in the series. Sadly a
del Tero/ Ron Perlman 3rd follow up just would not happen.

     However, there were two direct to DVD animated Hellboy feature films with Perlman, Jones and Blair
returning once again to their roles to lend their voices to the films. The movies, Hellboy: Sword of Storms
and Hellboy: Blood & Iron, picked up nicely after the events of the two live-action film, but there would be
sadly no more live-action Hellboy films under Guillermo del Toro.  Even though both films made back the
budgets and then some, the movie gods and studio heads just could not get their act together to give Del
Toro and company the green light to produce Hellboy III.

     But there would be another outing for the big red guy after all and in 2019, a new Hellboy with an all
new cast was released on April 12 2019. This new film, the first Hellboy live action in 11 years, took in at
the box office only $40 million on a $50 million budget. The film first intended to be the next installment in
the series following the Golden Army, but when del Toro was forced out of the film and Perlman would not
return as Hellboy if del Toro was not helming the project, it was decided to not follow Golden Army as a
sequel but to turn the movie into a re-boot only 15 years after the original film.

     Now under the horns and red make-up was actor David Harbour as the new Hellboy but was aided by
an all new cast of characters as Abe and Liz are written out of the story. Although this writer did not see the
film as of this article, I must say it looks pretty good at least visually and I like the longer hair on Hellboy, but
the critics hatted it and so did the fans since the movie only made $10 less than its budget. It didn't even
make its budget! The fact that this new re-boot was R rated and didn't have the magic made by the last
two films maybe didn't help.....too bad.

     Still Hellboy may be pulled from the Hollywood grave since as of this article, Netfix is thinking about
producing a new Hellboy TV series. No word on if this will be a live action production or animated, but it
will be fun to see the big red guy make another come back.
Creature Feature