In Absentia Luci, Tenebrae Vincunt
In the final days of World War II, the Nazis, through the assistance of Grigori Rasputin, attempted to bring about "Project Ragna Rok" on a small island off the coast of Scotland in an attempt to salvage the war effort for the Third Reich. A group of Allied occultists and soldiers were on hand to witness the event, and found the fruits of Rasputin's labors: An infant demon, quickly nicknamed "Hellboy."
Instead of being killed because, well, he's a demon, Hellboy is whisked away by the United States and raised under the auspices of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, a government organization devoted to...well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Over the years, Hellboy becomes one of the BPRD's top paranormal investigators and forms a deep relationship with his colleagues, who include:
- Pyrokinetic Liz Sherman, a young woman suffering from Power Incontinence as well as struggling with self-esteem issues over childhood trauma stemming from when her powers first manifested.
- Abe Sapien, an intelligent man/fish hybrid and Hellboy's best pal.
- Professor Kate Corrigan, a folklore and mythological encyclopedia and Team Mom.
- Roger, a hulking but childlike homunculus.
Following several weird revelations and a nasty bit of disagreement with the leadership, Hellboy quits the BPRD and begins wandering the Earth searching for answers about his past and the real reason why Rasputin summoned him all those years ago...
The BPRD spinoff series details the adventures of the organization in Hellboy's absence. Two new members are recruited:
- Dr. Johann Kraus, an eccentric German medium whose body was destroyed during an astral projection, leaving him alive in the form of moving ectoplasmic gas.
- Ben Daimio, resident Shell Shocked Senior and with good reason: He died in action and somehow came back to life.
These members of the BPRD must confront their own pasts, skeletons from the Bureau's own closet and the escalating threat of lingering horrors from pre-human history.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Hecate is in crazy stalker love with Hellboy. Unfortunately, he's not the kinda guy who goes for metal-skinned vampire snake women who want to kill every living thing on Earth.
- A Hell of a Time Hellboy's ultimate fate is apparently to spend eternity in Hell, which apparently isn't as bad as it sounded at first. Billions of people and demons to meet (or fight), a house, possibly some family, and a nearly infinite world to explore forever. In other words, more like the norse Valhalla than anything.
- All There in the Manual: You really have to read a lot of mythology to get a lot of the idiosyncrasies of the plot. This includes mythology from film, television, novels, and other comics.
- All Trolls Are Different: "The Troll Witch"
- Alternate Continuity: Both the movies and Hellboy Animated have differences from the comics.
- The Animated Series: Sort of: a handful of animated movies were released and shown on Cartoon Network / Adult Swim. Notable for showing that Doug Jones was capable of doing Abe's voice as well as his body.
- The Antichrist: Hellboy, though he's not too keen on the idea and becomes an Anti-Anti-Christ.
- Amplifier Artifact: the strange plug-thing Liz uses on the mountain-sized Ogdru Hem
- Anal Probing: Almost happened to Hellboy after he was abducted by aliens, but he decided that he didn't like that idea so he kicked all their alien asses.
- And I Must Scream: "Buster Oakley Gets His Wish"
- Anti-Human Alliance
- Anti-Hero: The somewhat silly sounding Lobster Johnson is a solid type III, and he is not someone you want to piss off. Throughout his long career in the 30s he personally killed hundreds of gangsters, Nazi saboteurs, cultists and monsters. And he doesn't really start rolling until he's dead.
- Anti-Villain: Koshchei the Deathless.
- Apocalypse Maiden: Hellboy
- In the B.P.R.D. series, it's recently been revealed that Abe will also have a role in the end of the world.
- Artificial Human: Roger the Homunculus.
- Ascended Demon: Hellboy is so heroic, his spilled blood sprouted lilies on one occasion. Particularly impressive since in traditional Christian iconography lilies represent 'purity;' roses are for 'the blood of a martyr.' Jesus apocryphally did the same thing.
- Astral Projection: Johann Kraus.
- Author Appeal: Have we mentioned Mike Mignola likes Gothic antiquity? How about old myths? The list goes on.
- Back from the Dead: Subverted hard. They even spend an entire story arc letting you think it's gonna happen.
- Hellboy, on the other hand, has died and returned to life on at least one occasion. It appears that his death has implications in furthering the onset of Armageddon.
- Captain Daimio may have done this also. He made it into a body bag, at least.
- Badass: Hellboy
- Badass Boast: The Ogdru Jahad: "Hellboy... Your fall should be like the fall of mountains... But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning and shall be forever... The first and the last... The world come full circle. You think you can fight me, kill me, as you would a beast? I am not the wheel-- I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. We are bound together in that. I was the wind in the stars before this-- Before planets, before Heaven and Hell-- And when all's done I will be wind again, to blow the world as dust back into endless space."
- Badass Longcoat: Of the second Hellboy story, Mignola said it taught him two things. The first was that HB looked better in a trench coat.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In Sullivan's Reward, Sullivan is being rewarded in gold for feeding people to his Haunted House. He's been feeding it drunks and vagrants, and getting a few gold coins each. He decides to feed it Hellboy, and when he appears to have succeeded he triumphantly calls out to the house asking what he reward for HIM would be. An entire 8-foot by 3-foot by 3-foot block of gold coins crashes down the stairs, crushing him
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Grigori Rasputin as master mystic. Granted, even many of his contemporaries thought there was something weird about him.
- Big Bad: Rasputin, Herman Von Klempt, Baba Yaga, the Queen of Blood.
- Bigger Bad: The Ogdru Jahad.
- Big Eater: Hellboy
- Black Speech: A lot of witches and sorcerers use this.
- Blood Bath: Hellboy: Wake the Devil references the original legend about Elizabeth Bathory. The blood baths are only mentioned, not shown, but the iron maiden that was used to obtain the blood plays a pivotal role in the plot.
- Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron featured a vampire Elizabeth Bathory as the villain. She gets killed when Professor Bruttenholm sneaks some holy water into her blood bath.
- Bloodier and Gorier: The BPRD spinoff. Artist Guy Davis doesn't make much use of gory discretion shots. Killing Ground is especially violent.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Hecate claims as much in one of the epilogues to "Darkness Calls."
- Brains and Brawn: Abe and Hellboy, though Hellboy is nearly as bright as he's strong and impulsive and Abe is every bit as tough as he's smart. Although the Alternate Continuity film plays up this trope more.
- Brain In a Jar: Herman von Klempt.
- Broken Angel
- Captain Ersatz: Von Klempt's odd similarities to Count Brocken.
- Catch Phrase: Shares one with Nathan Drake: "Ah, crap!"
- Censor Shadow: Goes hand-in-hand with Full-Frontal Assault. (The Chiaroscuro makes it easy.)
- Chekhov's Armory: Just about everything Hellboy sees or does in "Wake the Devil" (and a couple of the short stories, like "Box Full of Evil") comes back to haunt him in "Darkness Calls."
- Chekhov's Gunman: Alice Monaghan from "The Corpse."
- Chiaroscuro: When Mignola's doing the art it borders on tenebrism.
- Clothing Damage: Hellboy's Badass Longcoat rarely survives his missions.
- Clue From Ed: Used very sparsely, generally to point you out which prior stories a referenced event occurred in. They are not attributed to an editor.
- Comic Book Time: The only major character who's aged visibly in the nearly two decades since the comic began is Tom Manning, and that may just be due to Guy Davis' different art style.
- Averted in the sense that many events in the comics are dated around the time when the current arc begins. Another example is that when Hellboy's absence from the BPRD was referred to, the length of time mentioned was equal to the time since the publication of "The Conqueror Worm."
- Kate Corrigan also seems to be aging. Guy Davis' art makes Liz look reasonably older.
- Cosmic Horror Story / Lovecraft Lite: It's up in the air which of the two the series falls under; it really depends on which wins in the end: You Can't Fight Fate or Screw Destiny.
- Crossover: With The Goon, Next Men, Beasts of Burden, and The Savage Dragon, as well as a memorable three-way crossover with Batman and James Robinson's Starman.
- Crossover Cosmology: Deities and monsters of classical mythology make regular appearances, while God was responsible for the creation of the (originally non-evil) Cosmic Horrors mentioned above.
- Crystal Prison: The Ogru'Jahad's prison.
- Cursed with Awesome: Liz Sherman. Arguably, Hellboy himself.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite being a demon, Hellboy is one of the more noble characters of the series.
- One story even implies that he might be a saint.
- Although there are a lot of villains trying convince him that he should be evil.
- A Day in the Limelight: The Abe Sapien, Lobster Johnson and Witchfinder spinoffs could be considered this since they all expand on previously existing characters from Hellboy and are much more limited series. As for B.P.R.D., the "War on Frogs" miniseries could count for several agents and "Garden of Souls" is almost completely devoted to Abe Sapien with some supporting action for Daimio.
- Dead All Along: Lobster Johnson in The Conqueror Worm.
- Demon Slaying
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Hellboy's standard M.O. Also, given Hellboy's true name and nature, this probably applies whenever someone punches him out.
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night: Armageddon is underway, every military and super-natural resource the U.N. backed B.P.R.D. and Hellboy have has been committed, and the only thing they can hope for is to take some demon-spawn down with them.
- Dull Surprise: Liz Sherman's default expression for most of the Hellboy comics. Justified, as she's supposed to be depressed and heavily medicated due to her tragic past, and in the later BPRD series, she gets better.
- Eldritch Abomination: Ogdru Jahad and their 369 offspring Ogdru Hem, which are Sadu-Hem and Katha-Hem, among others. H.P. Lovecraft's influence here is no surprise.
- The End of the World as We Know It: And there's no escaping it. Mankind is currently fighting a desperate battle to ensure something of man's spirit and legacy will survive after the end. But the Ogdru Hem are rising, the Four Horsemen have been unleashed, cities are swallowed in war with monsters and natural disasters, the world's biggest hope is dead, and Word of God has said things that are broken aren't getting fixed.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: von Klempt's series of "Kriegaffes", one of which prompts Hellboy's entirely accurate line, "Goddamn Nazi Frankenstein monkey!" "Box Full of Evil" involves a gun-toting Satanist getting turned into a chimp and trying to kill Abe. Lobster Johnson introduces shape-shifting Tibetan were-apes, and Daimio's grandmother, the Crimson Lotus, had a monkey that seems to have been her familiar.
Hellboy: "Enough with the damn monkeys! They were monkeys!"
Von Klempt: "APES!"
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Nearly everyone Hellboy encounters seems to have their own agenda for the Right Hand of Doom and the Ogdru Jahad, believing that they can control their powers (even Hell seems to think they can use the Dragon). It is implied that they are all delusional, and that the release of the Ogdru Jahad would simply result in the annihilation of reality. Hecate is the only one who seems to be aware of this, but pursues it anyway and mocks those who believe they can twist the power to their own ends (she suggests that it might be possible that a new world will be born from the ruins, but it doesn't really concern her).
- Igor Bromhead seems particularly unable to understand this principle.
- The various short story collections contain no small number of would-be occultists with just enough knowledge to be be a danger to themselves an others, trying to use powers beyond their control for usually very petty ends
- Evil Sorcerer: Rasputin
- Eye Scream: Hellboy shoots out the Baba Yaga's eye in the 60s. And gives up his own to pay her back!
- Extranormal Institute: The BRPD's offices.
- The Fair Folk: In the comic book short story "The Corpse", Hellboy rescues a baby taken by Fairies; since then, the fairies and their king have taken a particular interest in Hellboy.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The size of an Olympic swimming pool.
- Fatherly Scientist: Professor Trevor Bruttenholm adopts Hellboy after he was summonned into this world.
- Fertile Feet: Fertile blood in this case.
- Finger-Snap Lighter: Liz Sherman uses her pyrokineses to light her cigarettes on occasion.
- Fish People: Abe Sapien.
- Full-Frontal Assault: The Queen of Blood's nakedness only adds to her creep factor.
- Other villains do this as well.
- Geek: Kate Corrigan was the occult/mythology geek in the comics (it was her day job before she joined the BPRD). Recently, Johann Krauss seems to be turning into the evil version of this.
- Gentle Giant: Hellboy is gentle with children, even sometimes when it's against his better judgment.
- Ghostapo / Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Jet Packs, Lego Genetics, Hollywood Cyborgs, heads in jars, the Spear of Longinus, and quality occult advice from Rasputin; you name it, the Nazis had it. Mignola's Hitler had more toys than Batman.
- God Is Good: Aside from the plentiful holy relics, Badass undead saints and Our Angels Are Different types that occasionally lend a hand, Hellboy is Catholic. He doesn't burst into flames at the sound of church bells, and stakes, crucifixes, etc. have no effect on him despite his 'demonic' nature. Even going to Hell doesn't seem like too much of a torment to him. The guy upstairs is pretty forgiving.
- Godzilla Threshold: In full swing starting with Black Flame. The world is now at open war with the various demonspawn spilling out all over the world. Collateral damage is barely a concern. Half of Indonesia has been obliterated along with Munich, California, Houston, Seattle and a zombie plague is devastating Russia. The nuclear option has come up several times... The B.P.R.D. and its allies are desperately trying to Hold the Line... it's not working.
- Gratuitous German: Johann Krauss, when he loses his temper. Allmachtiger!
- Hand Cannon: Hellboy uses a whole series of handguns from a single-shot pistol of some very large caliber given to him by The Torch of Liberty (a WWII-era superhero), through a more modern (though ultimately unreliable) autoloader that would make the Desert Eagle wet itself in awe, to a plain old antique Colt M1911A1 to replace his custom sidearm when it went MIA.
- Hollow World: The BPRD miniseries Hollow Earth.
- Honor Before Reason: The Japanese daimyo in Sword of Storms, to the point of killing his own daughter to keep his promise to the demons Thunder and Lightning.
- Horned Humanoid
- Horsemen of the Apocalypse: And boy are they pissed off.
- Horrifying Hero: Hellboy is the demon who was supposed to bring about the Apocalypse, and he probably would have become a straight Eldritch Abomination if not for being raised like a human. He's personable enough that he isn't treated like the abomination he is, but underneath it all he was still by his very nature supposed to be evil.
- I Know Your True Name
- Interspecies Adoption: Hellboy doesn't seem to mind (too much) that he's a demon raised among humans. Even if he was kept hidden away from the public.
- Interspecies Romance: Hellboy and Kate dated for a brief time before ending the relationship on good terms. More recently, Hellboy has fallen for Alice, the girl he rescued decades ago from the fey folk.
- It Got Worse: In recent huge developments:Hellboy's dead.
- Inhumanable Alien Rights: Both the UN and the Pope gave Hellboy "honorary human rights".
- Kill It with Fire: Liz uses this a lot, obviously. Also, the BPRD usually sends one "flame-thrower guy" with field teams when they expect contact. Most of the Cosmic Horrors can be killed with fire, though not all.
- Killed Off for Real: Nimue tear's Hellboy's heart out in the last chapter of The Fury and drops it in Hell, while Hellboy's body turns to ash. Most sources point this to being the permanent sort of death.
- He's definitely permanently dead, but still exists as an entity within hell, which he will apparently spend the rest of eternity exploring in a Widget Series spinoff.
- King Arthur: Hellboy is the last living descendant of Arthur's son Mordred, and therefore is the Pendragon and rightful King of England.
- The Queen of Blood's true identity is revealed to be Nimue, the sorceress who seduced Merlin, stole his secrets and imprisoned him. She was driven mad by the Ogdru Jahad.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Hellboy
- Knights Templar: The Knights of Saint Hagan, a Crusader who rose headless to fight in the last battle of the Crusades. His followers continued their campaign to destroy all things Satanic with considerable success. Hellboy lampshades their 'kill em all' approach as misguided... however, most of the demons and heathens killed were Complete Monster material themselves.
- Like a Badass Out of Hell: Hellboy in Hell... maybe.
- Living Labyrinth
- Love Triangle: A damn weird one in Johann Krauss' past. He fell in love with the ghost of a man's wife he was hired to contact as a spirit medium. Naturally, this did not end well.
- Masked Luchador: Lobster Johnson, as imagined in a series of mexican horror movies of questionable quality
- Hellboy also teams up with some in one of the Christopher Golden novels, which are apparently part of the comic continuity.
- And he teams up with a trio of brothers that used to be these before becoming monster hunters in a one-shot.
- Masquerade: Averted, while it's in full force in the first movie and a half, Hellboy is an internationally famous paranormal investigator in the comics. Certainly, no one seems terribly disturbed when a guy who is seven foot tall, bright red and has a hand made of solid stone turns up to look into their supernatural troubles.
- Masquerade Maintenance: Hellboy keeps sawing off his devil horns.
- Mighty Whitey: Invoked, but ultimately subverted by Martin "Fu Manchu" Gilfryd.
- A Million Is a Statistic: Used and inverted by the protagonists and the antagonists in "The Black Goddess."
- Mind Screw: Mignola is a great admirer of mythology and fairytales, and the Hellboy comics often adhere more to that sort of curious dream-logic than the more linear storytelling most modern readers are accustomed to. This is especially prevalent in the one-shots, as the larger Story Arcs, by their very nature require a more cohesive approach. In his introduction to The Hydra & The Lion, Mignola comments: "I've always said that in supernatural stories you need bits that are beyond human comprehension. This one is pretty much made of those bits."
- Monster Modesty: Hellboy wears little more than brown undies and a trenchcoat. His legs and chest are completely bare.
- Abe Sapien and many other non-human characters often wear pants and nothing else.
- Hilariously subverted when Captain Daimio meets Roger, is flabbergasted by the (literal) block of wood and ring on his groin, and tells him to put some pants on. When it becomes apparent that Roger's groin-block is so large that pants do absolutely nothing to hide them and make him a walking prince-albert joke, Daimio quickly tells him to, on second thought, lose the pants.
- Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate: While not outright evil, it seems that the head of Research for the BPRD, Dr. Roddel (And to a lesser extent his associate Dr. Cobb) is not a particularly compassionate man. He had to be talked into the proceedure that woke Abe from his Magical Sleep, and refused to do the proceedure that revived Roger after he was first brought back (Abe had to sneak into the lab and do it himself). Abe describes his first few days awake in the BPRD research labs as "Terrifying", and we see him in a tank with attached electrodes surrounded by dead fish (Presumably that they had thrown into the tank to feed him and never cleaned up after). Hellboy agrees, stating from his own experience that the lab boys will keep going, finding new things to experiment towards until told to stop. Hellboy says this as he charges into an experiment-in-progress, pulls Abe from the tank he's in and takes him to the cafeteria for a sandwich.
- Mundane Utility: Liz Sherman lighting her cigarettes with pyrokinesis.
- Mysterious Past: Oh, yeah. The exact amount of mystery varies between characters. Several have even gotten enough plot attention to not be mysterious anymore.
- Hellboy himself seems to favor this over knowing his full past and origins: "I like not knowing. I sleep good not knowing.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, Ogdru Jahad, Anung Un Rama.
- Nazi Hunter: Hellboy acted as one after the war and killed Adolf Hitler himself.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Cyborg gorillas? Nazi astronaut possessed by eldritch abominations? Bring 'em on!
- No Shirt, Long Jacket: Hellboy's usual look.
- Offhand Backhand: Done to a hapless vampire in House of the Living Dead by Hellboy using a blessed sword.
- Off With Her Head: In Sword of Storms, the daimyo beheaded her own daughter.
- Oh Crap: Hellboy's had so many of these moments, it's practically become his Catch Phrase. A few villains have had them as well. The better ones involve monkeys.
- Older Than They Look: Hellboy's appearance is inhuman enough to make an apparent age not readily determinable, but he doesn't really seem to show his 60-80 years in which he has been on Earth (he was technically "born" in the 1600s, but doesn't seem to have aged until he left Hell). Alice Monaghen also looks about twenty years younger than she is, due to the influence of the fae.
- Our Angels Are Different: So far we've seen ones that look like flaming skeletons, and another that looks like a giant maggot with a metallic black mask, pointy legs and wings made of flayed human skin, with a floating spear of fire that follows it around.
- Our Demons Are Different: HB's pretty typical, physically, but the other demons we see keep getting progressively weirder as time goes on. The bizarre crow/bat/udder thing in BPRD: The Universal Machine probably takes the cake.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: A race of grey-skinned mountain faeries from "Jutland" appear in The Wild Hunt. They are short, bearded, and like crafting with metal and gems. While they haven't yet been identified as such, they fit the dwarven archetype to a T. A similar group shows up when Hellboy fights the ghost of Norse Frost Giants.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Given the nature of the series, this is to be expected. Besides classical vampires, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. have faced off against a number of variations.
- Vampire-Human hybrids made from injecting the mentally and physically disabled, gay, and other prisoners that the Nazis had rounded up with vampire blood.
- The Manananggal/Penanggalan, a normal-looking woman by day, who at night detaches her head from her body to feed, ALL of her internal organs leaving with her.
- The bestial and corpse-like vampires of Mexican folklore
- The Varcolac, a Titan-esque King of the Vampires that can devour the moon.
- Physical God: Hecate, The Queen of Blood.
- Hellboy himself would become one of these if he ever took up his place in Hell. He's on the verge of it as he is already, given his strength and how hard it is to kill him/
- Put on a Bus: This happens to Abe in an awesome way in the B.P.R.D. story "The Dead".
- Rasputinian Death: Rasputin. Though as of Darkness Calls, it seems that Rasputin is finally dead, the last of his soul used by the Baba Yaga to help Koshchei.
- Recursive Adaptation: Hellboy Animated has its own comic books.
- Red Right Hand: Left hand, too.
- Red Shirt: Just about any non main BPRD character who has the gall to tag along with the main characters on their missions isn't coming back. They did, however, Take a Level In Badass in a few short stories. Sadly so did the Frogs.
- The Right Hand of Doom: The Trope Codifier.
- Roswell That Ends Well: Scenes involving Hellboy's childhood and the early years of the BPRD are sometimes set at the Roswell Army Air Field, where the Bureau was based until the famous 1947 spaceship crash. (It's possible that they might've been able to stay there, were it not for an incident involving kid Hellboy, his dog Mac, and some of the residue from the ship. In the aftermath, it was decided that the time had come for the Bureau to go its own way, at which point it moved to the Connecticut facility seen in stories set during Hellboy's tenure as a BPRD agent.)
- Satan: Mentioned in The Wild Hunt. Is currently taking a two-thousand-year nap beneath Pandemonium.
- Screw Destiny: Hellboy was born to bring about the Apocalypse. He's not happy about that. In the second trade paperback Wake The Devil, Hellboy actually says "Screw you!" as part of his Shut UP, Hannibal to Hecate after she lectures him about his destiny.
Hecate: Accept the truth of your existence or be destroyed! You cannot escape your destiny!
Hellboy: Gonna try.
Hecate: Time is coming to ring down the curtain on man. Already, the four horsemen are loose in the world. It is for us to darken the sun, turn the moon to blood, and put out the stars. Then you and I alone, forever in the dark--
Hellboy: Shut up! Not gonna happen... 'cause you're very, very ugly... and... you have a giant snake body!
- Shell Shocked Senior: Captain Ben Daimio. He was dead for three days, wouldn't you be too?
- Shout-Out: You'll be hard pressed to find a Hellboy story that doesn't have at least one reference to H.P. Lovecraft.
- Show Within a Show: After his death in 1939, two-fisted adventure hero The Lobster became the subject of a number of these: Pulp Magazine stories, comic books, Film Serials, and finally Mexican movies with The Lobster (or, rather, "Lobster Johnson," the last name taken from the Secret Identity he was given in the pulps) as a Masked Luchador. Compared to his Real Life, they all make for massive cases of Adaptation Decay, and are all considered atrociously terrible, although some people (including Hellboy himself) enjoy them anyway. The existence of these adaptations allow the Hellboy-verse's US government to cover up the existence of the real Lobster (and the fact that he was a spy for them in WWII), and as a further side-effect, the character is more readily known, on both sides of the Fourth Wall, as "Lobster Johnson."
- Silent Scenery Panel: Lots of close-ups of thematically-important artwork and statuary.
- Sixth Ranger: While sorting the various agents into roles is a bit tricky, Captain Daimio is certainly a Sixth Ranger. Johann may also qualify.
- Smug Snake: Igor Bromhead, a hedge-wizard who makes a point of knowing more about the task at hand and being better prepared than his companions, and likes to lord it over people. That said, he still doesn't know nearly as much as he thinks he does. At the end of his first appearance He is saved from being arrested or killed by the BPRD by invoking the Demon Prince Ashteroth, who in return gives him the lower body of a reptile. Later he imprisons Hecate as part of a bid to become the King of Witches, but winds up trying to eat the moon, which leaves him bloated and wracked with pain and begging Hellboy to kill him
- Spin-Off: So far the main Hellboy series has four official spinoff series, including B.P.R.D., Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, and the upcoming Witchfinder series. Not too mention the Odd Jobs series, the Weird Tales comics, and all the non-canon novelizations; there's a whole lot more to the Hellboy universe than just the original comics.
- Squick: In-Universe. Hellboy's seen a lot of stuff, but in Conqueror Worm he's particularly unhappy when he finds that the psychic radio the Nazis were using used the severed, mummified heads of saints that were actually psychics.
Hellboy: This is the worst place on Earth.
- The Stoic: Hellboy
- Stripped to the Bone: Happens a whole lot.
- Stylistic Suck: See Show Within a Show, above.
- Superhuman Transfusion: The Island."
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Hellboy.
- The Team Normal: Kate Corrigan.
- Technology Porn: One word: Helicarrier.
- This Is Gonna Suck: See Oh Crap above.
- Those Wacky Nazis: If there's a non-supernatural foe in the comics, there's a good chance they wear a swastika.
- Nazi Occultism: They're not mutually exclusive either.
- Timm Style: In the OVAs. Was likely used for being cheaper to animate than Mignola's actual style, while still being somewhat similar.
- Trademark Favorite Food: "Pamcakes."
- Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Mike's vision of Armageddon consists of a seven aspect god of chaos, its spawn, the forces of hell, and every magical being left in the world with a grudge against humanity vs. a half-demon half-human hybrid (with the fist of an angel), an undead army of Christendom, a global para-military defense agency, and a walking atomic bomb. That's the Cliff Notes version.
- The Unchosen One: Hellboy
- The Unmasqued World: Hellboy was granted honorary human status by the UN and is something of a paranormal celebrity. There's a reason people don't freak out when a giant red demon shows up to investigate a were-rat infestation. In the first trade paperback, while Hellboy stands around in broad daylight when on missions, Abe Sapien wears a coat, hat, goggles, and a fake beard to hide his amphibian nature. The Companion explains that Abe was never too keen on drawing excess attention and lacks the natural charm that Hellboy uses to overcome the fear his appearance causes. Hellboy even speculated at one point that it's easier for people to accept him because Hell seems "more abstract" than anything that reminds them of the weird things in the oceans that they know are real. Thus Abe uses the Coat, Hat, Mask and Hellboy doesn't.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Nice job destroying England, the world, your own people, and the human race, Gruagach.
- Upbringing Makes the Hero
- Urban Legend: Lobster Johnson, and this is the main reason why all the in-universe stories about him are pulpy and wildly incorrect.
- Villain Team-Up: In both the main series and B.P.R.D., see main article for details.
- The Virus: One of the more horrific, and common, fates in Hellboy is being transformed into horrible demon-spawn frog monsters. No race, gender or age group is spared.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Hellboy almost never wears one. When he does have a shirt, it usually doesn't last very long.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Something Hellboy must deal with often enough.
Remember Hellboy, to be something other than human, does not necessarily mean to be something less.
- In the books, the BPRD comes down on the wrong side of this question when it fits Roger the Homunculus with a self-destruct.
- And this comes up in The Black Goddess a bit with Johann.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Astaroth and his horde's reaction to Hellboy having breakfast
Mammon: It is the boy. He has eaten the pancake.
Haborym: He will never come back to us now.
Astaroth: Truely, this is our blackest hour.
- What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Read the "Our Angels Are Different" entry up there.
- The Wild Hunt: The current Hellboy arc is seems to indicate that The Fair Folk are gearing up to take on the human race, so the trope may be fully invoked yet.
- Wreathed in Flames: Liz can do this.
- Zorro Mark: Lobster Johnson's lobster claw.
Lobster Johnson: "Here is the claw!"
Those Wacky Nazis: "Nein! Nein!"
And there you go.
- "In the Absence of Light, Darkness Prevails."