Avid comic collector & fan for nearly twenty years, Vic started collecting comics around eight years old. Comic investing since the 2000s.
Hellboy Key Comics?
Sure, every comic character has key issues or key comics. They definitely have a debut, most likely have an origin or 1st origin story told, and they most likely have the debuts and origins of their supporting characters.
Hellboy is no exception, and the character actually does have two over-looked key comics currently. First, a disclaimer: I am a fan, and I admit that I was a casual fan of the Dark Horse comics back in the 90s. Then the Hellboy films by Guillermo del Toro came out and turned that fandom up a huge notch.
Despite that fact, I've always been a comic book fan and collected since an early age. Back in the mid-2000s, I started collecting mainly key comics and finding and hunting for those lesser-known keys that only uber-fans know.
You may already know these two. If so, awesome and I hope you're a fan of the comic series as well. If not, no worries. Let's have some fun.
Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1
There is so much key issue goodness in this issue it should be a sin. Okay, so it's not the debut of Hellboy himself in comics. Hellboy's 1st appearance in comics is a tad confusing as there is a "1st appearance" and then a "1st color appearance" involved.
Yeah, we'll get to that sometime. No, really, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1 actually tells the 1st told origin of Hellboy in comics. It's not a full origin that reveals the beginning or making of the character, but it is the origin story of how Hellboy ends up on planet Earth and kick starts the whole mythos.
Remember all the beginning stuff from the 2004 Hellboy movie? Yeah, remember the bits that took place during World War II that had the Nazis and the crazy wizard guy performing some ritual that ultimately brought a little Hellboy into this realm.
Well, that happened in the actual comic too. Okay, it sorta happened in the same way in this actual comic. It is a bit different from the film.
So, this comic starts off being told through a journal from one Sergeant George Whitman. A file is shown that sees three paranormal experts, and they are Professor Malcolm Frost, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, and Cynthia Eden-Jones. She happens to be the top psychic medium in England, and predicts that an event will occur in the village of East Bromwich in England.
Yes, the village is fictional, and the sergeant, his unit of soldiers, and the team of paranormal experts find themselves in an old church waiting for something to go down.
Cynthia Eden-Jones tells the team that she feels another center of "disturbance" somewhere else far north from where they are camped. On an island off the coast of Scotland, a group of Nazi scientists and occultists are performing some kind of ritual. In the movie, this all took place on that island, but in the comics, the "hellboy incident" happened in two different places.
In this origin story, we also see the cameo debuts of Kroenen and General von Krupt. Kroenen only appears in this flashback panel and on a Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense file at the end of this issue.
Cameo Debut of Kroenen
Not The Same As in the Movie
Let's Talk a Bit About Kroenen!
Okay, we all remember Kroenen from the movie. He was a badass and had blades that came out of his jacket sleeves, and he kicked all sorts of butt on-screen, right?
Well, not really the same in the actual comics. Yes, Kroenen was loyal to Project Ragna Rok—the project that sought to give Hitler a doomsday weapon that would end the war and put the Third Reich in power—and he had his trademark gas mask and all. However, he wasn't an ass-kicking badass.
Instead, he was a pretty unremarkable Nazi scientist that did zero ass-kicking in the pages of the Hellboy comics. Well, at least, in the early Hellboy comics before the flick, and he did look creepy cool with the gas mask an all.
Debut of Grigori Rasputin
Grigori Rasputin in the Hellboy Comics
As mentioned before, the ritual on the island off the coast of Scotland also saw the cameo appearance of General von Krupt, but the character isn't really a major baddie in the grand scheme of Hellboy comics. A noteworthy baddie is Grigori Rasputin. I do not think he is named in this issue or in the entire Seed of Destruction comic series, but I could be wrong. If so, please feel free to correct me.
Grigori is a sorcerer in charge of Project Ragna Rok, a Nazi funded program that would use occult and supernatural means to end the war with the world under Nazi control. Grigori, of course, used Nazi resources for his own purposes, and this was to summon the "Right Hand of Doom."
The Comic Baddie Was Based On The Real Grigori Rasputin
A Little About the Real Life Grigori Rasputin for Those Who Don't Know
Born in 1869, Grigori Rasputin is a controversial figure in Russian history. He claimed to be a mystic and holy man and befriended the family of Tsar Nicholas II, who was the very last Emperor of Russia. Gaining political influence and power from his connection to the royal family, quite a few historians claim that Rasputin helped to discredit the Romanov Dynasty. He is sometimes associated with its downfall and one of the reasons for the 1917 revolutions in Russia that saw the rise of the Soviet Union.
Cameo Debut of Isla Haupstein
Remember, Isla Haupstein from the movie. She was played by actress Bridget Hodson.
Isla Haupstein is a loyal member of the Ragna Rok Project in the actual Hellboy comics. She appears in only 3 panels in this issue. Her character, as well as Kroenen, appears more in the 2nd Hellboy comic series, Hellboy: Wake The Devil.
So Grigori does his hocus pocus, and nothing happens. Von Krupt actually thinks he failed, but Grigori knows that he has unlocked events that cannot be undone.
As we all know, he brought the Right Hand of Doom into this world, the bearer of the key that would unleash the Ogdru Jahad, agents of Hell that are destined to bring upon the world its ultimate destruction.
Well, instead of being captured by the Nazis, Hellboy ended up being found by the Allies in that church in East Bromwich. Trevor Bruttenholm becomes his adopted father, they both became members of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, and the Hellboy tale is off.
Comic history is made and fans are born.
Debut of Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense
Of course, this would have the debut of the actual organization that Hellboy and his adopted father, Trevor Bruttenholm, worked for. Yes, Bruttenholm does die pretty early on in this issue also, but as the image of the photo says, we do see Hellboy make a phone call to the headquarters of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense.
So should we recap the Hellboy key comic goodness in Hellboy: Seed of the Demon #1? Of course, we should:
- 1st Hellboy titled comic series that Hellboy stars in.
- 1st origin story Hellboy. His extended origin is finally revealed in the 8 part comic series, Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #6.
- 1st appearance and death of Trevor Bruttenholm.
- 1st appearance of Lady Cynthia Eden-Jones and Professor Malcolm Frost.
- 1st cameo of Kroenen (one panel in flashback and then in a B.P.R.D. file).
- 1st General von Krupt
- 1st Grigori Rasputin
- 1st cameo of Isla Haupstein (3 panels in flashback and in B.P.R.D. file)
- Debut of B.P.R.D
Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #2
Debut of Liz Sherman!
Yes, Liz Sherman is an important supporting character in the Hellboy comics. She is quite different than in the Hellboy movie franchise, and she was not romantically linked to "Big Red."
Hellboy and Liz have more of a brother/sister type relationship. She does have pyrokinetic abilities, and her powers are the cause of her family's death.
Elizabeth Sherman became a ward of the B.P.R.D. at age 11 and later becomes a field agent. She became close friends with Hellboy.
So, as stated before, the character of Elizabeth Sherman debuts in the 2nd issue of Hellboy Seed of Destruction #2, as seen in the panels below.
Debut of Abe Sapien!
As you can see, Elizabeth Sherman debuts a long with one Abe Sapien also. In the movie, Abe was absolutely my favorite character. He is covered up in this scene and disguised.
Not to fret, because he does show his true form in issue #2 as well. You can check that out in panels below from this very issue.
1st Brief Origin of Abe Sapien
I do mean brief origin, like very brief, as in one panel. It's not an extended origin, but it reveals how the B.P.R.D. finds Abe Sapien. Also, how he is named. You can see for yourself below.
Recap of Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #2 Key Goodness!
Alright, first off, CGC does not note or put on their labels that issue #2 has the debuts of both Elizabeth Sherman or Abe Sapien. They also do not note the brief origin of Abe Sapien as well. Not sure if CBCS notes the goodness either.
- Debut of Liz Sherman
- Debut of Abe Sapien
- Very brief 1st origin Abe Sapien
As of this writing, CGC just notes it as "Monkeyman & O'Brien back-up, story by Art Adams."
So, these two issues are from Hellboy's first self-titled comic series. It's a great story, and fun read. If you're a fan, these two issues are definite must-haves. Thanks for reading. You can check out more articles I have below.
© 2018 Vic
Vic (author) on September 17, 2018:
Heya HB Fan, thanks for reading. Share if you feel social!
HB Fan on September 07, 2018:
Wow great article! Love the movies 2