The creature which would become known as Hellboy first appeared the night of December 23, 1944, when the evil mystic Grigori Rasputin summoned Hellboy to Earth with the help of the Third Reich.
Baby Hellboy appeared miles away in a churchyard in East Bromwich, England where he met a crack team of American soldiers lead by 1st Sgt. George Whitman sent to investigate the mysterious Nazi ritual.
They were accompanied by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.), Professor Malcolm Frost, Lady Cynthia Eden-Jones, and the Torch of Liberty, a WWII-era costumed superhero.
Bruttenholm befriended the creature, christening him Hellboy. The child was raised in secret by the U.S. government and trained to be a paranormal investigator.
After he appeared in a church on an island off the coast of Scotland, Hellboy was taken to an air force base in New Mexico where he grew up under the guidance of Trevor Bruttenholm and the fledgling B.P.R.D. Hellboy interacted with personnel at the base such as U.S. General Norton Ricker, and the dog, Mac. In 1952, when he was eight, Hellboy officially joined the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense as a full-time agent.
Hellboy aged greatly in body, although somewhat less in mind: while appearing to be a full-grown middle-aged man, he still had the rebellious fire and attitude of an adolescent. He became adept in many supernatural and paranormal subjects such as possession, haunting, exorcism, enchantments, holy amulets, and sacred artifacts. He eventually became a full-fledged field agent of the B.P.R.D. under Trevor Bruttenholm. In the years following World War II and the demise of the Nazi regime, Hellboy traveled the world, encountering and defeating numerous supernatural beings and disturbances such as werewolves, vampires, and encounters with the deranged Nazi scientist Herman von Klempt. Hellboy also encounters minor deities, mythological creatures, and beings of folklore. He had a notable encounter with the Baba Yaga. In the year 1952, Hellboy was granted honorary human status by the United Nations.
Two years later, Hellboy was approached by the Osiris Club to slay the Saint Leonard worm, an alligator-like monster. This battle was, in fact, a test of Hellboy's true virtue, resulting in lilies that grew from his spilled blood, which seemed to confirm his good nature. A short time later, Professor Bruttenholm sent Hellboy to help Professor Edmond Aickman with the King Vold myth. Aickman was obsessed with a possible reward and manipulated Hellboy into begrudgingly completing Vold's chosen tasks.
In 1959 Hellboy was in Ireland and embarked on a mission to rescue a baby, Alice Monaghan. In order to do so, he had to bear a corpse to its final resting place. Overseeing the assignment was the King of the Daoine Sidhe, who would harbor an interest in Hellboy in the near future.
In 1979 Hellboy was sent to aid a once-famous physical medium, Mister Tod. Tod, using drugs to enter a trance, accidentally released a cosmic monster which created a body for itself with Tod’s ectoplasm. This was Hellboy's first encounter with the spirit of an Ogdru Hem; he was able to defeat the creature with an herb. In 1982 tracked down the infamous Countess Ilona Kakosy, a vampire. Hellboy slew her after she tried to distract him with a disturbing vision.
In 1991, Hellboy is called in to assist fellow Bureau agent Pauline Raskine. The B.P.R.D. was investigating a newly discovered hidden basement in a mansion owned by former Doctor Carp. Carp was a Grand Master of the Golden Lodge, a temple of the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra located in New York. Hellboy has knowledge of the H.B.R. and refers to them as crazy. Upon entering the room Hellboy was magically warped through time to the year 1902, where he had to contend with the sadistic Doctor. Carp managed to get a sample of Hellboy’s demonic blood to use on a chimpanzee, turning the ape into a bloodthirsty monster.
The Cavendish Hall affair
However, it wasn’t until the groundbreaking Cavendish Hall mission that Hellboy truly met a challenge that posed an extreme threat to him or his fellow agents Abe Sapien and Elizabeth Sherman, a woman with uncontrollable pyrokinetic abilities. It began when Hellboy met with his mentor Trevor Bruttenholm, who was trying to tell Hellboy a crucial memory disturbing the Professor. Suddenly, Bruttenholm was mysteriously killed when a spawning of frogs entered the room, and an angry Hellboy faced off with a humanoid frog monster.
A mission was sent to the haunted Cavendish Hall mansion, consisting of Hellboy, Abe and Liz to question the elderly Mrs. Cavendish, whose well-known family heritage Bruttenholm mentioned as he tried to remember what to tell Hellboy seconds before his death. Mrs. Cavendish was a widow who lost her three sons a few months before, when they, along with Trevor Bruttenholm, together explored the Arctic in search of a legendary temple. She said it was her family's curse that every male in the line, starting with Elihu Cavendish, became obsessed with retrieving something from the Arctic. Many would never come back.
In truth, the Cavendish boys along with Bruttenholm made it to a secret temple in the Arctic. There they had come across Grigori Rasputin, who had been hibernating for years in service to a terrible cosmic monstrosity, the Ogdru Jahad. Rasputin had become the creatures’ only hope of entering our world in order for them to unleash the Apocalypse on Earth. A dormant Ogdru Hem, Sadu-Hem one of the 369 children of the Ogdru Jahad, was accidentally awoken by the team. It's breath transformed the three Cavendish brothers, and their guide while Bruttenholm was able to keep by Rasputin, after reading his mind and discovering his link with Hellboy. They boarded a ship and when they arrived in America, Bruttenholm was allowed to escape with a fragile memory, in order to lure Hellboy to Cavendish Hall.
Hellboy and his partners elected to stay the night at Cavendish Hall, to further explore any possible clues. Unbeknownst to the agents, the revived Rasputin had been manipulating events in order to draw Hellboy closer to him, intent on forcing Hellboy to fulfill his purpose as the Harbinger of Armageddon. Rasputin was the one who had summoned Hellboy to this world back in 1944, and had been patiently waiting for his chance to return and retake control of his ‘son.’
Upon discovering the presence of Rasputin, who had willingly revealed himself that evening in a vain attempt to coerce Hellboy’s loyalty, Hellboy refused this destiny. Having been raised by his mentor in the ways of good, he then tried to slay the now furious Rasputin.
Abe Sapien managed to kill Rasputin by throwing a harpoon through his chest. However, he was actually being possessed by the spirit of Elihu Cavendish. The ghost of Cavendish desired vengeance against Rasputin for the murder of his family. Liz Sherman awoke from her trance and summoned a firestorm that killed Sadu-Hem. Hellboy succeeded in rejecting his purpose and delaying the End of Days. Rasputin’s body was destroyed and his spirit was forced to flee, vowing that Hellboy would fulfill his purpose in the end, whether he wanted to or not.
More Career Highlights
What follows are a few worthy-of-note adventures of Hellboy and his partners following the Cavendish Hall incident:
- 1994, Griart, The Balkans: Hellboy and Kate Corrigan visited a town decimated by the angry ghosts of werewolves. It became a revenge mission after Father Kelly, Hellboy's associate, was murdered by a living werewolf. Kate's first sighting of a ghost occurred during this mission.
- 1995, Scotland: Hellboy returned to the ruined church where he first appeared in the world and had a dream-vision of his origin: His mother, as a young woman, had cavorted with the demon Prince Azzael, and on Walpurgisnacht (a night of great significance to witches) conceived Hellboy.
- 1998, Lizarza, Spain: Hellboy met with Adrian Frost, the son of Malcolm Frost. Hellboy related his life story to Frost, and the two realized that Hellboy's stone right hand was the key to triggering the Apocalypse. Hellboy has decided to keep the hand lest someone else retrieve it and uses it.
The Giurescu Affair
In 1997, the second major turning point in Hellboy’s journey of discovery regarding his original purpose on Earth began as a mission to Romania, to investigate the theft of an ancient box containing the corpse of Vladimir Giurescu, a Napoleonic officer who was, in fact, a vampire.
The legend went that whenever Giurescu was injured in battle, his servants would bring his body back to his home castle, where the rays of the full moon would mystically revive him back to full health. In 1882, Giurescu, posing as a foreign nobleman, attempted to start a secret evil empire to conquer England. This caught the attention of the Nazi party during the 1940s, who then sent a delegation lead by Ilsa Haupstein to recruit the immortal vampire to their cause. The meeting went badly, resulting in Hitler ordering the arrest and murder of Giurescu’s vampiric followers, nicknamed his “family.” He and his ‘family’ were beheaded and stabbed through the heart with stakes, and then burned; their ashes sent to Hitler.
However, this was not the end of Vladimir Giurescu. In 1997, a former Nazi named Howard Steinman/Hans Uber was shot to death inside his own museum, and a crate marked “Giurescu Lot #666” was taken. It is assumed that Uber had stolen the remains of Giurescu during his Nazi days and had hidden the deceased vampire inside the museum for the last few decades. Now it appeared that Giurescu’s followers, lead by Ilsa Haupenstein, had come to rescue their master and bring his remains to Castle Giurescu, where the next full moon would revive him.
The problem was that Castle Giurescu had never been found, for its location has always been hidden. B.P.R.D. agent Kate Corrigan made three rough guesses at possible locations of the castle, and three groups of agents were sent to each location in case one of them is the real deal. Hellboy went solo to the first site, while Agent Clark and Abe Sapien went to the second site, and Liz Sherman, Bud Waller, and rookie agent Sidney Leach investigated the third site.
Hellboy arrived in time to discover that Ilsa had already prepared for the resurrection ceremony, but he was distracted by an encounter with the harpy-like Women of Thessaly. Meanwhile, Rasputin’s spirit had returned, and he succeeded in transforming Ilsa into the reincarnation of the goddess Hecate, who battled with Hellboy. When Hellboy was captured and left to die chained to a pole, the revived Giurescu charged him, only to be killed in an explosion when Hellboy cracked the pole in half and struck the vampire’s horse. In fury, the iron maiden which formerly was Ilsa Haupenstein swallowed up Hellboy, trapping him within an alternate dimension.
He encountered a group of beings who claim to be Chaos itself and told Hellboy that the time had finally come for him to embrace his purpose. His true name, “Anung Un Rama,” was revealed for the first time, and the two sawed-off horns atop Hellboy’s forehead began to regrow as a crown of fire appeared above him.
Hellboy, however, managed to overcome the transformation, telling the spirits, “screw you!” and snapping off his newly-regrown horns; an act which represents Hellboy’s devotion to the cause of good and that he truly is a well-meaning being, despite his origins or purpose. This moment of defiance instantly returned him back to our world, where he met Kate Corrigan. Backup never arrived due to an accident at the airport, and Kate revealed to a shocked Hellboy that during his adventures the other two teams had met their own misfortunes:
Liz Sherman accidentally revived a human-sized homunculus which drained her power and killed Bud Waller before fleeing. Liz felt extreme guilt over the incident. At the same time, Abe Sapien and Agent Clark had visited a church in the belief that they would meet Hellboy there due to the presence of his tracking device.
But it was revealed to be a trap set up by Rasputin, who wanted revenge against Abe for stabbing the mystic through the chest in their last encounter during the Cavendish Hall affair. Clark was killed in the process, but Abe managed to survive. The skeletal remains of Vladimir Giurescu were recovered by the B.P.R.D. while Hellboy and his fellow agents were airlifted home, exhausted by their recent mission.
Meanwhile, Rasputin's other henchmen Karl Ruprect Kroenen and Leopold Kurtz attempted to follow the will of Rasputin in a castle in Norway. The two Nazi scientists had been entrusted with the task of creating an Army for Giurescu to lead in a campaign to destroy mankind, thus bringing about Rasputin’s planned “Ragna Rok” apocalypse. However due to Kroenen's disobedience in resurrecting Nazi scientist Herman Von Klempt, whom Rasputin despised, and the accidental killing of Kurtz the undead mystic struck the C.E.O. of the Zinco Corporation, Roderick Zinco blind. While Zinco panicked, he accidentally hit a button that destroyed the fortress. However, Kurtz and Kroenen were somehow able to survive, probably thanks to Rasputin, and recently reappeared in the B.P.R.D. story Russia.
After losing her powers to the homunculus, Liz Sherman underwent treatment by Dr. Olasz at the Wauer Institute. Meanwhile, Hellboy and Kate Corrigan investigate a missing cross and several missing corpses. The culprit was the homunculus, praying for God to kill him. Instead, the homunculus met his older brother, who told him of his creator and of their plans to overthrow mankind. Hellboy and Kate discovered the homunculus' lair where they were attacked by his brother's crude homunculi henchmen. Kate was captured and the homunculus's brother planned to use her to build an enormous homunculus body for him to inhabit. Kate was rescued, but the evil brother used the giant body to attack Hellboy. The first homunculus then seemingly gave in to his brother's wishes, becoming part of the giant body. But he used the pyrokinesis taken from Liz to destroy his evil brother's new body. They rushed to the Wauer Institute and arrived just moments after Liz died. Then the homunculus, now dubbed "Roger", returned Liz's pyrokinetic powers to her, restoring her life at the cost of his own.
The Little Box of Evil
In 1999, Hellboy and Abe investigated the castle of Count Guarino after a mysterious attack. On this mission, the warlock Igor Bromhead released Ualac, a minor demon trapped in a box by St. Dunstan. Ualac was able to teach Bromhead Hellboy's secret name, Anung Un Rama, and temporarily paralyze him. Abe was shot by a chimpanzee, the former count now transformed. Ualac claimed the Crown of the Apocalypse (which sits invisibly on Hellboy's head) before attempting to take Hellboy's stone right hand. Hellboy was able to break free thanks to advising from the Daoine Sidge and killed his enemy’s mortal body. Bromhead and Ualac were claimed by the demon Astaroth, who also took Hellboy's crown down to Hell.
The Conqueror Worm Affair
This was a landmark moment in Hellboy’s multi-layered career. With the help of fellow agents Roger and Abe Sapien, among others, he faced off against an unprecedented threat: a cosmic entity bound with a Nazi scientist who had been floating through space for decades and was now the vessel for the monstrous creature’s arrival on Earth. This beast was an alleged offspring of the Ogdru-Jahad, which the Nazis had tried to communicate with back in the ’40s. This mission to stop the ‘worm,’ now controlled by Grigori Rasputin, culminated in an intense sacrifice from Roger the Homunculus, who risked his very life to try and imprison the worm’s spirit within himself.
With assistance from the ghost of famed television-serial hero Lobster Johnson, Hellboy managed to drive away the Worm’s consciousness, and a wounded Roger was given aid by B.P.R.D. agents. Hellboy now felt deep guilt over his profession, due to him having been given by Manning prior to the mission a device to kill Roger, should he become dangerous again. Then, with a heavy heart, Hellboy announced his resignation to Kate Corrigan, before leaving to try and find out once and for all the truth behind the supposed fate that would always haunt him.
- 2004, Africa: Hellboy sought advice from an African witch-doctor and was told to dive to the bottom of the sea. He was captured by the Bog Roosh, who meant to prevent the Apocalypse by dismembering Hellboy and hiding the Right Hand of Doom, but Hellboy managed to escape with the assistance of a mermaid.
- 2006: Hellboy washed up on an unknown island. He accidentally resurrected an ancient mystic, learned the secret history of the universe, and one of the Ogdru Hem which had been reborn in the blood of a 16th-century Spanish priest. This Ogdru monster was Urgo-Hem. Hellboy then set sail for England as the Daoine Sidhe watched on.
- 2007: Hellboy returned to England and stayed with his friend Harry Middleton, who had died years before. Rejecting the offer of Britain's witches to become their king, Hellboy was sent to another dimension to face the Baba Yaga and her warrior slave, Koshchei the Deathless.