Friday, July 11, 2008

hellboy: my favorite sensitive thug

In honor of the opening of Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, I thought I'd share a little bit about why I love this big red lug so very much. Writer and artist Mike Mignola always loved drawing monsters and studying up on folklore and fairy tales. As he mentions in the special features of the first Hellboy film, in these stories good monsters fight bad monsters, thus fulfilling his desire to draw only monsters.

Hellboy is a demon prince summoned by an occult sect of the Nazis (led by wacky Rasputin) to secure Hitler's victory in WWII. Rescued as a baby by the Allied Forces, he is raised by his surrogate father Professor Bruttenholm (Broom in the films), a member of the super secret U.S. Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Hellboy matures quickly, ages slowly, and eventually joins the good fight as a paranormal investigator for the BPRD. With his filed down demon horns, beat up trench coat and gruff demeanor, Hellboy is Indiana Jones meets Marv meets the devil himself. His adventures range from pulp (Nazis Nazis everywhere) to supernatural (lots of H.P. Lovecraft homages) to folkloric (Baba Yaga, Norse trolls and Russian dolls). Yet his internal struggle is consistent throughout the series. Hellboy is the Seed of Destruction, conceived by rape, summoned by Nazis, and destined to bring about the end of the world. He is constantly fighting his own fate as the harbinger of the apocalypse, determined to uphold the values with which his father raised him.

In the first film's special features (you NEED to watch them), Mignola also discussed how he based Hellboy on his father, a cabinet maker. Papa Mignola would return home from work with graphic stories of on-the-job injuries, all delivered with his casual, unflappable demeanor. These memories greatly informed Mignola's conception of Hellboy, and helped him create his nonchalant dialogue. I have a thing for sensitive thugs (see: Marv), and Hellboy fits right into this category. He's a man's man, a working class Joe, but he's not above watching cartoons, eating pancakes, and cuddling with kittens. As Hellboy, the insanely talented Ron Perlman continues his reign as the most charismatic and lovable lug on the planet (see: The City of Lost Children, Beauty and the Beast).

And can someone crafty PLEASE make me one of these?

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