Hellboy is one of the more popular comic characters in recent times. The multimedia franchise spans decades and is worth millions of dollars, with dozens of exciting and engaging stories under its belt. Although Hellboy is not published by either of the two major comic book houses, the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator still remains somewhat shrouded in mystery to many.

Did you know, for example, that Hellboy is not the character’s real name? His real name is Anung Un Rama, which translates to “And Upon His brow is Set a Crown of Flame”. I’m sure you can understand why he does not go by it in his day-to-day business.

Like I said, after so many years and so many different incarnations, the world of Hellboy today is vast and full of secrets. Keep reading to learn even more curious and surprising facts about our beloved demon hero.

Interesting Hellboy Facts

Hellboy Was Almost A DC Character

Hellboy belongs to Dark Horse Comics, but Mike Mignola pitched his original vision for Hellboy to executives at DC Comics in early 1990. However, the execs turned him down because they did not think the hellish and occult themes so integral to the story would mesh well with the DC brand. I am willing to bet money that they now very much regret doing so.

Hellboy is Based on Mignola’s Father – Sort of

Mike Mignola’s dad, a woodworker, would often come home with tales of horrific and bloody work accidents and he would recount these incidents with deadpan humor and a laid-back attitude. Mike would go on to infuse Hellboy with this aloof and cool-hearted demeanor.

Throughout the years, Hellboy has been through a lot, and he has been put through the wringer by beings and entities far more powerful than himself; yet, he has managed to pull through against seemingly insurmountable odds time and time again thanks in great part to his cool-headed and imperturbable calm.

We Have The Russians To Thank

The occult ritual that summoned Hellboy to Earth was carried out by a Russian mystic called Grigori who, with the aid of the Third Reich, worked diligently to bring about the end of the world at the behest of the Ogdru Jahad, also known as the Dragons of Revelations.

Hellboy has many occult undertones

Hellboy Was Adopted

If you have read the comics or watched the movies, then you probably know that Hellboy was summoned to Earth by means of an ancient occult ritual, and taken in by a crack team of US soldiers led by an expert in all things occult and hellish, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm.

This man would go on to officially adopt Hellboy two years after his arrival on Earth. Professor Trevor raised Hellboy like a human child and, to a great degree, he is responsible for Hellboy’s good nature.

He Holds The Key To The Apocalypse


Hellboy is the unwilling harbinger of the end of the world and his right hand is the key. When Hellboy was born, his real father, a demonic entity called Azzael, cut off the young demon’s right arm and replaced it with The Right Hand of Doom.

The Right Hand of Doom once belonged to one of the Greater Spirits who oversaw the creation of Earth, and who imprisoned the evil Ogdru Jahad using the power of his mighty hand. Thus, the stone Right Hand of Doom is also the key to their eventual release.

Hellboy Is Related To King Arthur

Hellboy is a Cambion, meaning that he is half-demon and half-human.

His human heritage comes from his mother, a human witch called Sarah Hughes. Sarah was a direct descendant of Mordred, King Arthur’s bastard son with his half-sister Morgan Le Fey.

Hellboy is a descendant of King Artur

Moreover, at one point, Hellboy had to face off against Nimue, a powerful witch straight out of the Arthurian legend of The Lady in the Lake. He was even able to wield King Arthur’s mighty sword Excalibur, which means that Hellboy is the rightful king of Britain!

Hellboy Wasn’t Red In The Beginning

The first-ever Hellboy comic was a 4-panel black and white story, which means that, technically, the original Hellboy was black and white. However, his next appearance, featured on the 4th issue of a little-known Italian fanzine called Dime Press, was in color, and his skin tone here was a dull gray!

It wasn’t until the publication of Seed of Destruction, that Hellboy was reintroduced to fans with his now-familiar red skin.

Hellboy Comics Are Critically Acclaimed 

The Hellboy movies have done a pretty incredible job of introducing the unlikely superhero to millions of people across the world. Unfortunately, the comics have yet to find the same level of success with mainstream audiences.

The Hellboy comic book series has won several awards

However, critics have repeatedly awarded the comics with the medium’s highest accolades.

Case in point, in 2002, the fantastic miniseries The Conqueror Worm won the Eisner Award for the best limited series comic. Other important awards and accolades won by the Hellboy comics include the Eagle Award, the Harvey Award, and explicit praise by legendary industry writer Alan Moore.

Hellboy Is Very Quirky

One of the best decisions made by Mike Mignola when designing the character was to make him quirky.

Physically, Hellboy is very intimidating and imposing. His blood-red skin, his giant stone hand, his demon-like tail, and filed-down horns, make his overall figure very frightening and inhuman. Yet, as a character, Hellboy is very relatable thanks in large to several quirky personality traits.

For example:

  • Hellboy loves cats.
  • He also loves drinking beer and smoking cigars and cigarettes.
  • Hellboy is a wisecracking smartass.
  • Hellboy loves having pancakes for breakfast.

Did We Mention He Loves Cats

At least in the films anyway. Hellboy has an affection for cats. There are more than a few scenes where he is seen interacting with, discussing, and even defending cats. It is an interesting choice that works well and helps to humanize the character.

Two cats resting

In the comics, this relationship with cats is simply not present and Mike Mignola has denied the Hellboy’s love for cats as part of the original character. The change by the movie studio is a welcome one for me and it’s good to know that the franchise is open to new ideas to grow the character.