I was introduced to Hellboy by the movies way back in 2004. At the time, I saw only the trailers and never caught the movie until a decade later on TV. At the time I never knew it was based on a comic book since back then, the comic book culture in India was barely alive in comparison to today. I saw both the movies and over the years completely forgot about it. I don’t even remember anything from the movie except for the title character. I forgot everything about Hellboy till I went to Comic Con Mumbai in 2015 and saw a sketch made by Saumin Patel and his take on Hellboy titled “Hellboy Moksha” which is a Hellboy inspired by Indian Mythology and folklore. It was so good I bought the print and framed it. I wanted to delve into Hellboy now. I found Hellboy on Comixology and started reading.
The first thing that strikes you even before you read Hellboy is how intricate the artwork is. The reds and blacks are used widely to set the tone of a universe troubled by unknown Supernatural things. It’s a somber colour pallete and it shows in the art work. It’s very different from regular superhero books in its tone. The dark, grim world of Hellboy is haunting and mysterious. In that world, Hellboy has a sense of humor and it comes up every now and then if things get too intense.
Why is a creature from Hell, the good guy? That’s the question I asked before reading and it somewhat gets answered in the first volume. Is he an Anti-Hero like the Punisher or Deadpool? Not really. Is he the Anti-Christ? Nope. Hellboy, as far as I could make out from Volume 1, is somewhere in between a Superhero and an Anti-Hero. He has no secret identity. He works as a Paranormal Investigator and works for the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) which is a secret organization. Despite his appearance, he is comes across as more human than a devil from hell. He is sensitive, thinks before doing anything and gets really angry from time to time.
Volume 1 is a good introduction to the world of Hellboy and the character itself. The artwork is fantastic and it lends itself to the story. You can finish it in a day because it’s just around 130 pages. If you need something macabre, supernatural and haunting, Hellboy has all of it along with mystery and some humor.