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Adapting Hellboy


Adapting The Devil

Hellboy is one of my favorite comic books of all time. The 67-issue series (57 issues of the general Hellboy title and an additional 10 from Hellboy in Hell) spanned from 1994 untill the character’s death and adventures in  Gothic Hell that concluded in 2016. Hellboy was the classical everyman, and was instrumental in bringing back horror’s presence in the comic book medium. The character developed into one of the most iconic independent horror characters of all time. Born Anung Un Rama (And Upon his Brow a Crown of Flame), Hellboy is the true beast of the apocalypse, carrying with him the right hand of doom. Despite the character’s epic destiny, part of what made Hellboy iconic was the character’s personality and relatability. True, no one can relate to the destiny of the beast of the apocalypse, but the character’s sense of humor and interest (being a fan of lucha libre wrestling, reading, and the occasional drink) made him feel like a genuine everyman. 

The character’s popularity was high enough to garner two feature films from Guillermo Del Toro and a reboot from Neil Marshall. While there are good and bad things to say of each film, there does exist a sense of longing for another appearance for Hellboy. The character has exhibited the power of lasting, remaining popular over his 25 years of published stories. Hellboy fans have been aching for another Hellboy adaptation. While feature films had garnered wonderful imagery and a career defining performance from Ron Perlman, it’s time we saw Hellboy take on the small screen. Hellboy’s adventures exist in a very serialized format, due to the nature of comic books.


Placing the character on television might seem to be a perfect avenue to take the character. The nature of the stories that feature Hellboy often take a one and done approach that remains popular with television series, while also feeding into a larger narrative. Few characters and source materials are a perfect fit for television adaptations. There already exists a perfect platform for the character to transition to as well, as Netflix had inked a first look deal with Dark Horse Comics, the publisher of Hellboy. Netflix as a platform has become the most dominant streaming company in existence. Many have attempted to dethrone the giant, but it remains not only the original but the best of streaming platforms. With stunning original content from Stranger Things (2016) to The Witcher (2019) to Umbrella Academy (2019), Netflix has made a habit of taking risky concepts and giving creators free reign to create the best television series a network could have.

Hellboy is perfect material to get the Netflix treatment. It’s got a story that fits a fixed narrative, but also plays to just about every studio’s desire to create an ever-expanding universe (via such Hellboy spin off titles as B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien, and Lobster Johnson). Through imaginative gothic set pieces, horrific monsters, and an occult detective, Hellboy is the kind of material that just makes for great television. Lesser known, or loved, comic book characters have been featured headlining their own adaptations. With characters like DC’s Swamp Thing being able to create a dynamic horror series, there’s no question that Hellboy is a character that can be done easily and produce a cost effective, entertaining, and intriguing horror series. Hellboy has a loyal legion of fans ready to see their favorite occult detective get the silver screen treatment, and there is no doubt that, given the right creative team working on it, Hellboy would absolutely usurp other horror shows as the new king of horror television. As a fan myself I wait with baited-breath to see what comes next for Mike Mignola’s iconic creation. Heck, if asked I even have my own ideas of what to do with a Hellboy series.

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Guest Columnist on Dead Talk News and Interview Formatter on the Dead Talk Live Show.