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hellboy II

Is Hellboy Marvel or DC?

The poor boy from Hell is always destined to be between worlds.

The visionary character created and drawn by the talented Mike Mignola doesn’t conform easily – in the comics or on the big screen. Just as he sounds, Hellboy is a contradiction. Born to a demon named Azzael and the witch Sarah Hughes, this half-demon child was destined to be the Harbinger of the Apocalypse. After Rasputin summons Hellboy in the 1940s, Professor Bruttenholm adopts him and raises him to be a paranormal investigator.

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Hellboy has two destinies, both of them ending in royalty. As the son of a major demon, he could be King of Hell, but as a descendant of King Arthur, he could be King of Earth. These dueling destinies mimic the duel between Marvel and DC. But just like Hellboy’s fate, he belongs to neither. Despite Marvel and DC being the big comic brands in constant competition, Hellboy stands apart. He was published by Dark Horse, the independent comic brand doing the lord’s work by continuing Buffy the Vampire Slayer stories after seven seasons of immaculate television episodes. Both Buffy and Hellboy seem to belong in the same universe with their wild supernatural stories and constant talk of being rebooted in some form or fashion. Marvel and DC could not handle either IP long-term, even if they wanted to.

You can’t put Hellboy in a box

hellboy shouldering a sword
Image via Dark Horse

Immersive stories like Hellboy only come around every so often. Unlike many characters in Marvel and DC, the devilish character isn’t defined by his crime-fighting. Though he does solve paranormal mysteries in what is known as the Mignolaverse, he doesn’t do it because of the need to make the world a better place like the optimistic characters in the Justice League (save for Batman.) Hellboy largely fights against his inner nature and trying not to become the monster everyone fears he is. His anti-heroic character is what Hellboy is all about. But that hasn’t stopped him from appearing in the other comic universes.

After Hellboy made a killing at Dark Horse, he went on to have crossovers in DC. Perhaps the easiest crossover was Batman/Hellboy/Starman of the late ‘90s. While Batman does fight crime like his Justice League cohorts, he is the closest in temperament and motivation to Hellboy. Batman’s push to clean up the streets of Gotham is less an optimistic pursuit and more a calling he can’t get rid of. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, Batman and Hellboy admittedly have a lot in common. Nevertheless, Hellboy belongs to himself, where he can do battle with high-concept supernatural creatures and fight the incoming Apocalypse.

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Carolyn Jenkins
Carolyn's passion for television began at a young age, which quickly led her to higher education. Earning a Bachelors in Screenwriting and Playwriting and a Masters in Writing For Television, she can say with confidence that she's knowledgable in many aspects of the entertainment industry as a freelance writer for We Got This Covered. She has spent the past 5 years writing for entertainment beats including horror, franchises, and YA drama.