The Appeal of Hellboy

Hellboy cover image taken from Goodreads @

With a new film out, and this being the 25th anniversary of the character’s introduction, this week seemed like a good time to address Hellboy.

With Hellboy, Mike Mignola demonstrates a professor’s level of knowledge of history, myth, and folklore. Synthesizing this knowledge with elements inspired by Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft, Mignola has created a mythology of his own beyond comparison in comics and dark fantasy literature. And with that, nearly ever single compelling character of the story is in some way a monster, whether it be Abe Sapien the fish man, Roger the golem, or the half-demon Hellboy himself.

But it is also the heart of Mignola’s story to disregard that outward appearance and examine a character’s soul. Hellboy is a wonderful story about birth not defining a person’s worth, and outright thumbing one’s nose at destiny. Hellboy is a hero through and through, self-sacrificing and humble. Reading his comics chronologically, you can follow his incredible jaunt from one corner of the earth to another, to the bottom of the sea, and even into hell itself. And at every step along the way, moral choices follow him, and he ultimately proves his essential humanity through them.


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