Hellboy is a fictional character, a comic book superhero created by writer-artist Mike Mignola. The character first appeared in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 (Aug. 1993), and has since appeared in various eponymous miniseries, one-shots and intercompany crossovers. The character has been adapted into two live-action feature films in 2004 and 2008 that starred Ron Perlman in the title role, and two straight-to-DVD animated films, as well as two video games – Asylum Seeker and The Science of Evil.
A well-meaning demon whose true name is Anung Un Rama ("and upon his brow is set a crown of flame"), Hellboy was summoned from Hell to Earth as an infant on December 23, 1944 (given as his birth date by Mike Mignola) by Nazi occultists (spawning his hatred for them). He was discovered by the Allied Forces; amongst them, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who formed the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). In time Hellboy grew to be a large, red-skinned demon with a tail, horns (which he files off, leaving behind the signature circular stumps on his forehead), cloven hooves for feet, and an oversized right hand made of stone. He has been described as smelling of dry-roasted peanuts. Although a bit gruff, he shows none of the malevolence thought to be intrinsic to demons, has a strong sense of humor and works with other strange creatures in the BPRD. This is said to be because of his upbringing under Professor Bruttenholm, who raised him as a normal boy.
Hellboy works for the BPRD, an international non-governmental agency, and himself against dark forces including Nazis and Baba Yaga, in a series of tales that have their roots in folklore, pulp magazines, vintage adventure, Lovecraftian horror and horror fiction. In earlier stories, he is identified as the "World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator."