Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What the…Hellboy???

“The World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator”

I’m sure this won’t be a huge surprise but; he’s the son of a demon and a witch. Fire red, shaved horns, cloven hooves, and tail are his signature look. His right hand (of doom) is a sort of sledge hammer and a key to opening  the Hadean Gates. Hellboy carries a very large gun “The Samaritan” that shoots his own patented fifty caliber “Demon Destroyer” bullets. His attitude; Bad...Capitol “B” Bad. There’s a small bit of a chip on his shoulder; he loves a good fight. Given this he’s actually a hero that fights the forces of evil. He has a soft spot for cats. No; he doesn’t eat them he adores them as pets and will do anything to protect them. Hellboy’s one of the good guys.

Writer/Artist Mike Mignola created Hellboy in 1993 and his creation became a hit as a comic book character almost immediately. Hellboy has been adapted to film, animation, novels and video games. His fan base continues to grow as one of the great incarnations of the imagination. Mignola’s man/creature started with the “look” from a single drawing he did for fun. The editors at Dark Horse Comics loved Mignola’s  work and talents; they urged him to create an original project for publication. Mignola choose to work from his “Hellboy” drawing and he created the themes and supporting cast around the character’s commanding presence. The Hellboy project was something that Mignola could put all of his favorite literary and entertainment influences into and use as devices. Monster films like “The Mummy” and “The Bride of Frankenstein,” gothic horror and ghost stories, pulp fiction, ancient myths legends and lore. It is even hinted at within the context of Hellboy's narrative that his mother was the descendant of Morgana Le Fey and Arthur Pendragon. Could Hellboy be the rightful heir to the British throne?

In the beginning…Professor Trevor Bruttenholm and a group of American soldiers rescued a tiny creature released from an inter-dimensional portal to a mysterious astral region opened by Grigori Rasputin and a group of Nazi’s during the Second World War. Hitler; in reality was very much interested in the occult and believed he could use it powers. The G.I.’s name the small creature with the oversized hand “Hellboy” on the spot and adopted and raised him as a human. Trevor Bruttenholm became Hellboy’s father and “The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense” (B.P.R.D.) was formed around Hellboy. He fights evil under the organizations banner.

“When things go bump in the night; we’re the ones who “bump” back.”
Trevor Bruttenholm

There have many writers and artist to imagine and contribute to the development of Mignola’s Hellboy; John Byrne, Bruce Timm, Christorpher Golden, Guy Davis and Rich Corben are a few but none are more immersed in the legend than film maker Guillermo Del Toro. The Hellboy films are rich tapestries and very faithful to the spirit of the characters and situations.

As with Mignola’s beginning the look of the movies are perfect. When Del Toro makes changes they only embellish and clarify what was previously published. The films are perfectly cast with Ron Pearlman in the lead. Pearlman is magnificent and born for the role of Hellboy. He is no stranger to heavy make up and prosthetics.  He makes it all look effortless and real as no other actor could. Most of Pearlman’s great roles have featured the actor totally immersed and hidden by masks and modifications. Vincent from television’s “Beauty and the Beast” was his first success. He was mesmerizing in that role. Pearlman is the Lon Chaney of our times; Del Toro the James Whale.

“Pan Cakes”
In conjunction with the release of the first Hellboy Movie DVD Mignola wrote a short story about the two year old Hellboy. The folks at the B.P.R.D. try to get a reluctant Hellboy to try a new treat for breakfast. He finally gives in and tastes pan cakes for the first time. He loves them. At the precise moment pandemonium breaks out in the city of Pandemonium (The Capitol City of Hell.) “It is the boy. He has eaten the pan cakes. He will never come back to us now.” A demon laments this to another minion of Hell. Hellboy has discovered what every small child knows. There is nothing so close to heaven as the pancake prepared with and given in love.

 Mignola have been honored with the top awards in the field of graphic novels and story-telling. In 2002 “Hellboy: Conqueror Worm” won the Eisner for “Best Limited series” and “The Art of Hellboy” won the 2004 Eisner for “Best Comics Related book.” The Eisner is the field’s chief award. Mignola holds his own with the all-time best.

There seem to be limitless avenues for Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. to travel. It is our pleasure to tag along for this infinite, immaculate ride.


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