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Who Is Hellboy
Hellboy is a Dark Horse comic book created and illustrated by Mike Mignola.
The character was first created in 1993, and has since gained a large and loyal fan following.
Hellboy was originally summoned to Earth to be the harbinger of destruction but instead the infant demon was foud by a group of elite American soldiers, who name him Hellboy.
He is then raised in America by Dr Broom and is made a member of the B.P.R.D where he helps them fight the forces of evil try to destroy the world.
While not as popular as Marvel or DC's famous roster of super heroes, he has attracted a diverse fan base with its witty dialogue and imaginative storylines.
What makes a successful comic book, and thus a successful film adaptation, is a compelling hero who is believable and has 'human' as well as 'superhuman' traits.
And Hellboy certainly has those in abundance.
Much like anyone else he drinks beer and eats junk food and has difficulty expressing his emotions.
In his downtime he lifts weights and puffs on stubby stogies (simultaneously, no less).
He has no patience for foolish people or stupid questions.
In other words, beneath the red skin, stone fist, pointy tail and filed-down horns, he is just a typical guy.
It's this that makes him interesting and allows the audience to relate to him and is ultimately the secret to his success.
Mike Mignola understood this when he created the comic book, and director Guillermo del Toro understands it, too.
Although Guillermo Del Toro's 2004 film was a fair departure from the comic story-wise, the characters were there, and there's little question that Ron Perlman was the physical embodiment of Mignola's big red boy.
So much so, that as Perlman was already a well-established cartoon voice actor, it came as no surprise when he was cast as the voice of the animated Hellboy as well.
One of the other reasons Hellboy has been so successful is that the concept has attracted talented people, devoted to remaining true to Mignola's unique vision.
Another important factor of watching a comic book movie is that you have to take certain things for granted and the 'real world' becomes suspended.
The superpowers, strange villains, are all there in a non-existing world; saying they are implausible is true but not relevant.
A comic book movie's appeal and success lies in creating this suspension of believe and a good story that is set in its own world (although real existing places can be there too), an entertaining superhero played by an actor who is able to really create the character, spectacular visual effects that fit the action but most of all it needs to breath the right mood.
A few movies that have been successful in doing this have been 'Spider-Man 2', 'X2', 'Blade II', Batman Begins and now 'Hellboy?.
This is an epic comic book style adventure, with more sweeping sci-fi sets than one could ever ask for, and more gruesome monsters than any horror fan has ever dreamed of.
Like Tim Burton (whose "Batman" remains one of the finest comic-book adaptations of all time) before him, del Toro understands that the look of a comic-book movie can go a long way in setting its tone.
But he isn't so obsessed with surfaces that he loses sight of his characters, and that's particularly important when it comes to orchestrating a movie around a lead actor who's hidden beneath pounds of makeup and prosthetics, as Perlman is.
It seems that there's some ambiguity as to exactly what he is.
Despite resembling a stereotyped he is in many ways seems more like a generic monster or inter-dimensional alien than a fallen angel ? as do his conspicuously less anthropomorphic adversaries.
The creatures in Hellboy also seem rather corporeal as the enemy "demons" display no interest or capacity for tempting or possessing humans ? only eating them.
Hopefully, with its continued success we will see more of Hellboy in the future with what looks set to be a series of movies.
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Colin Dorman 2008 mcfarlanes-figures.com