Is Hellboy Marvel or DC? Mike Mignola’s Hellboy is one of the most iconic independent comics. Neither Marvel nor DC-owned, Hellboy is one of the few independent characters to have become a part of the pop culture lexicon, being featured in several movies as well as a critically-acclaimed universe of comics that has lasted for decades.
A good-natured demon with a snarky attitude, fans have long been enamored with Hellboy’s demeanor and design. However, Hellboy’s status as a Dark Horse hero means he has had much of a chance to test his mettle against Marvel’s mightiest. Still, there are quite a few characters who Hellboy would unquestionably beat.
Is Hellboy Marvel or DC?
Hellboy debuted in 1993, decades after practically every major comic book hero with a longstanding tradition, but has almost instantly become a hit and his 30-year legacy is something that will certainly go down into history books. Because of his popularity, a lot of people often ask if Hellboy is a part of Marvel or DC.
Hellboy is a character owned by Dark Horse Comics, an independent publisher separate from both DC Comics and Marvel. He was initially offered to DC Comics and he has crossed over with DC’s characters, but he is from a completely separate fictional universe.
Today’s article is going to be all about who owns Hellboy. You’re going to find out to which fictional universe he belongs and which publishing house owns the rights to the character. You’re also going to find you whether Hellboy has crossed over with other universes. Let us begin!
Is Dark Horse Comics Owned by Marvel or DC Comics?
The structure of American comic book publishing is relatively clear – DC Comics and Marvel Comics are the two major players, with DC also owning Vertigo Comics. But, they are not the only relevant publishers. Alongside Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics has been an independent publisher since the 1980s.
Dark Horse Comics is an independent comic book publishing house founded on February 4, 1986. It is among the largest comic book publishers in the United States of America, despite not being even close to DC Comics or Marvel, but also to Image Comics, the third largest publisher.
Dark Horse Comics has, so far, published titles such as Hellboy, The American, The Mask, Boris the Bear, as well as comic book adaptations of famous franchises such as Alien, Conan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Star Wars.
Did Hellboy Appear in Marvel or DC Comics?
Although he is a Dark Horse Comics character, Hellboy is quite famous for his many crossovers. One of the most important authors with hose work he has crossed over is, of course, H.P. Lovecraft, one of the most important horror authors in history; Lovecraftian horror is a recurring theme in Hellboy’s stories.
So, has Hellboy crossed over with other comics books, especially those published by DC Comics and Marvel? He has, although not as often as you might think. Let us explain.
As far as Marvel is concerned, Hellboy has never crossed over with any Marvel title or character. We assume that this is due to the fact that Hellboy is too dark and too gritty for Marvel’s editors, so there was really no interest in a crossover event.
DC Comics, on the other hand, is a completely different story, as DC is known for tackling dark(er) topics and for its gritty stories. Hellboy has crossed over with DC Comics and this is how it went down.
The comic book we are talking about is Batman/Hellboy/Starman, published in 1999. It had just two issues. In the first issue, Hellboy and Batman teamed up to save Starman from a group of neo-Nazis (if you know your Hellboy, you know he really dislikes them).
In the second, Hellboy and Starman work together to defeat the demon Suggor Yogeroth, a character that looks like he came out of a Lovecraft story.
The stories were written by James Robinson and illustrated by Mike Mignola, and they remain the only official Hellboy/DC crossover up to date.
Hellboy has also appeared in the DC Comics-based video game, Injustice 2, where he is a playable character.
Is Hellboy from DC Comics’ or Marvel’s fictional universe?
As we’ve already established, Hellboy debuted in 1993 and was created by Mike Mignola. He has become an exceptionally famous and popular character, so much that he has already appeared in three live-action films (played twice by Ron Pearlman and once by David Harbour), two animated films and several video games. This kind of popularity is usually associated with DC’s or Marvel’s characters, so one cannot but ask oneself – who owns the rights to Hellboy, DC or Marvel? Neither! Let’s see why that is.
Hellboy’s history starts with Mike Mignola drawing up a basic concept for the comic book and pitching it to DC Comics. And while DC’s board of directors loved the character and the general idea, they did not want the story to be connected to Hell in any way, something which Mignola couldn’t really accept so he left. He did not go to Marvel next but opted for Dark Horse Comics instead.
Dark Horse Comics accepted his pitch and the rest is history. I am going to talk about Dark Horse Comics in the next section of this article.
Now, all these facts reveal that Hellboy doesn’t belong to DC Comics or Marvel; he is a Dark Horse Comics character and is, thus, a part of their fictional universe, although he has crossed over with other universes, as you are going to see a bit later.
So, is Hellboy a Marvel or DC Comics character?
Hellboy is neither Marvel nor DC. The Hellboy character belongs to Dark Horse Comics, the largest comic book publisher outside of Marvel and DC. While he has crossed over with some characters from the DC universe in the past, Hellboy is owned by Dark Horse.
In case you’re curious about the origins of our beloved horned friend, and how the character arrived at Dark Horse Comics, join me after the break. Today, we celebrate Hellboy and Dark Horse Comics for giving us one of the century’s best comic heroes.
Mike Mignola, Hellboy, And Dark Horse Comics
When Mike Mignola arrived at founding Dark Horse Comics in the early 1990s, he had already enjoyed a successful career at both Marvel and DC Comics. Mike had developed a reputation for being able to do first-class inking and was one of the most prominent promoters of a simple yet realistic chiaroscuro style.
Comics fans who wanted to consume work that featured faithfully realized dark and gloomy art knew to go for the Mike Mignola art.
It was around this time that Mike Mignola set out to change the status quo a bit and create a character that would encapsulate the dark and perverse themes of Lovecraftian mythos, of which he was an avid fan, but that did not stray far from the superhero genre in which he was well versed.
Mignola had already had some experience in adapting other writers’ work who shared his penchant for the occult and the mystic.
Readers of his work on the Chronicles of Corum in 1986, as well as his work on Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in 1990, would have seen the initial clues of what would eventually become Hellboy’s signature graphical style and a mixture of antediluvian horrors and modern sensibilities.
Now at the helm of his own Dark Horse project, Mignola was interested in exploring a major character that allowed him to live out his Lovecraft meets Poe meets Indiana Jones fantasies, in a fully realized world replete with occult rites and mythical beings.
(Mignola had pitched the idea for Hellboy at DC, but the studio felt that the involvement of Hell made the comic a risky proposition and turned Mignola down)
Finally published in 1994, Hellboy’s Seed of Destruction introduced the world to a blood-red-skinned half-human/half-demon with a complex moral and ethical compass, and a biting sense of humor and wit.
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