[[quoteright:270:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hellboyred.jpg]]

->''"In Absentia Luci, Tenebrae Vincunt"''[[note]]"In the Absence of Light, Darkness Prevails."[[/note]]

In the final days of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, [[StupidJetpackHitler the Nazis]], through the assistance of [[BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy Grigori Rasputin]], attempted to bring about "Project Ragna Rok" on a small island off the coast of Scotland in an attempt to salvage the war effort for the Third Reich. A group of Allied occultists and soldiers were on hand to witness the event, and found the fruits of Rasputin's labors: An infant demon, quickly nicknamed "Hellboy."

Instead of being killed because, well, he's a demon, Hellboy is whisked away by the United States and raised under the auspices of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, a government organization devoted to... well, ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Over the years, Hellboy becomes one of the BPRD's top paranormal investigators and forms a deep relationship with his colleagues, who include:

* [[PlayingWithFire Pyrokinetic]] Liz Sherman, a young woman suffering from PowerIncontinence as well as struggling with self-esteem issues over childhood trauma stemming from when her powers first manifested.
* Abe Sapien, an intelligent [[FishPeople man/fish hybrid]] and Hellboy's best pal.
* Professor Kate Corrigan, a folklore and mythological encyclopedia and TeamMom.
* Roger, a [[GentleGiant hulking but childlike]] [[OurHomunculiAreDifferent homunculus]].

Following several weird revelations and a nasty bit of disagreement with the leadership, Hellboy quits the BPRD and begins wandering the Earth searching for [[MysteriousPast answers about his past]] and the ''real'' reason why Rasputin summoned him all those years ago...

The ComicBook/{{BPRD}} spinoff series details the adventures of the organization in Hellboy's absence. Two new members are recruited:

* Dr. Johann Kraus, an eccentric German medium whose body was destroyed during an astral projection, leaving him alive in the form of moving ectoplasmic gas.
* Ben Daimio, resident ShellShockedSenior and with good reason: He died in action and somehow came back to life.

These members of the BPRD must confront their own pasts, skeletons from the Bureau's own closet and the escalating threat of lingering horrors from pre-human history.

Has a [[Characters/{{Hellboy}} character page]] that NeedsMoreLove.

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!!Provides Examples Of:

* AbhorrentAdmirer: Hecate is in crazy stalker love with Hellboy. Unfortunately, he's not the kinda guy who goes for metal-skinned vampire snake women who want to kill every living thing on Earth.
** Most high demons in Hell are surprisingly patient, understanding and reluctant when it comes to Hellboy. Even Astaroth, High Prince of Hell, doesn't try to force Hellboy into fulfilling his role in the advent of Apocalypse. They'd much rather he take up the role willingly.
*** Even lower demons (like the one that took possession of Hellboy's crown) admit that sometimes their feuds with Hellboy are somewhat petty. Of course, that doesn't stop Hellboy from kicking their collective rear ends.
* AHellOfATime [[spoiler:Hellboy's ultimate fate is apparently to spend eternity in Hell, which apparently isn't as bad as it sounded at first. Billions of people and demons to meet (or fight), a house, possibly some family, and a nearly infinite world to explore forever. In other words, more like the norse Valhalla than anything.]]
* [[spoiler:AlienAbduction: "Buster Oakley Gets His Wish".]]
* AllThereInTheManual: You ''really'' have to read a lot of mythology to get a lot of the idiosyncrasies of the plot. This includes mythology from film, television, novels, and other comics.
* AllTrollsAreDifferent: "The Troll Witch"
* AlternateContinuity: Both the movies and ''WesternAnimation/HellboyAnimated'' have differences from the comics.
* AmplifierArtifact: [[spoiler:the Hyperborean artifact Liz uses on the mountain-sized Ogdru Hem spikes her flame powers to the levels of a short radius nuke]].
* [[spoiler:AnalProbing: Almost happened to Hellboy after he was [[AlienAbduction abducted by aliens]], but he decided that he didn't like that idea so he kicked all their alien asses.]]
* AngelsDevilsAndSquid. Though the lines between them are often blurry.
* TheAnimatedSeries: Sort of: a handful of animated movies were released and shown on Creator/CartoonNetwork / Creator/AdultSwim. Notable for showing that [[HeroicMime Doug Jones]] was capable of doing Abe's voice as well as his body.
* TheAntichrist: Hellboy, though he's not too keen on the idea and becomes an AntiAntiChrist which ultimately [[spoiler:costs him his life]].
* AndIMustScream: "Buster Oakley Gets His Wish"
* AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent: Most of the stories involve Hellboy fighting supernatural monsters and demons. And then, in "Buster Oakley Gets His Wish", he suddenly [[spoiler: gets abducted by aliens]].
* AntiHumanAlliance: The Queen of Blood gathers one to destroy mankind. Unfortunately for them, she has no intention of restoring their world.
* AntiHero: The somewhat silly sounding Lobster Johnson is a solid type III, and he is ''not'' someone you want to piss off. Throughout his long career in the 30s he personally killed hundreds of gangsters, Nazi saboteurs, cultists and monsters. [[spoiler:And he only gets more dangerous when he's dead]].
* AntiVillain: Koshchei the Deathless.
* ApocalypseCult: There is a large number of cults and secret societies—Project Ragna Rok, the Oannes Society, and the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra, to name a few—hoping the trigger the apocalypse. Most of them are operating under the logic that the world is going to end anyway, but if they're the ones who pull the trigger, they'll at least have some measure of control over the destruction.
* ApocalypseMaiden: Hellboy
** In the ''B.P.R.D.'' series, it's recently been revealed [[spoiler:that Abe will also have a role in the [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt end of the world]]]].
* ArtificialHuman: Roger the Homunculus.
* AscendedDemon: Hellboy is so heroic, his spilled blood sprouted lilies during his "paranormal graduation exam" of sorts... [[spoiler:An [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming entire field of them]] bloomed across the ground where he died]]. Particularly impressive since in traditional Christian iconography lilies represent purity; roses represent the blood of a martyr. [[TheMessiah Jesus]] apocryphally did the same thing.
* AstralProjection: Johann Kraus.
* AuthorAppeal: Have we mentioned Mike Mignola likes Gothic antiquity? How about old myths? The list goes on.
* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler:Subverted with Roger. They even spend an entire story arc letting you think it's gonna happen.]]
** [[spoiler:Hellboy, on the other hand, has died and returned to life on at least one occasion. It appears that his death has implications in furthering the onset of Armageddon.]]
** Captain Daimio may have done this also. He made it into a body bag, at least.
* {{Badass}}: Hellboy
** BadassBookworm: Kate Corrigan.
** BadassNormal: Corrigan again, Captain Daimio, and some of the other BPRD agents. Also Lobster Johnson.
* BadassBoast: [[spoiler: The Ogdru Jahad: "Hellboy... Your fall should be like the fall of mountains... But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning and shall be forever... The first and the last... The world come full circle. You think you can fight me, kill me, as you would a beast? I am not the wheel-- I am the hand that ''turns'' the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. We are bound together in that. I was the wind in the stars before this-- Before planets, before Heaven and Hell-- And when all's done I will be wind again, to blow the world as dust back into endless space."]]
* BadassLongcoat: Of the second Hellboy story, Mignola said it taught him two things. The first was that HB looked better in a trench coat.
* BeastAndBeauty: Hellboy and Kate, as well as Hellboy and Alice.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: In ''Sullivan's Reward'', Sullivan is being rewarded in gold for feeding people to his HauntedHouse. He's been feeding it drunks and vagrants, and getting a few gold coins each. He decides to feed it Hellboy, and when he appears to have succeeded he triumphantly calls out to the house asking what he reward for HIM would be. [[spoiler: An entire 8-foot by 3-foot by 3-foot block of gold coins crashes down the stairs, crushing him]]
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: Grigori Rasputin as master mystic. Granted, even many of his contemporaries thought there was something weird about him.
* BigBad: Rasputin, Herman Von Klempt, Baba Yaga, the Queen of Blood.
** BiggerBad: The Ogdru Jahad.
* BigBadWannabe: Ualac and Igor Bromhead.
* BigEater: Hellboy
* BlackSpeech: A lot of witches and sorcerers use this.
* BloodBath: ''Hellboy: Wake the Devil'' references the original legend about Elizabeth Bathory. The blood baths are only mentioned, not shown, but the iron maiden that was used to obtain the blood plays a pivotal role in the plot.
* BloodierAndGorier: The ''BPRD'' spinoff. Artist Guy Davis doesn't make much use of [[GoryDiscretionShot gory discretion shots]]. ''Killing Ground'' is especially violent.
* BlueAndOrangeMorality: Hecate claims as much in one of the epilogues to "Darkness Calls."
* BrainsAndBrawn: Abe and Hellboy, though Hellboy is nearly as bright as he's strong and impulsive and Abe is every bit as tough as he's smart. Although the AlternateContinuity [[FilmOfTheBook film]] plays up this trope more.
* BrainInAJar: Herman von Klempt.
* BrokenAngel: The "Seraphim" in B.P.R.D. The Dead. It's not made clear if it's a 'real' angel, or a Nazi approximation of one.
* CallBack: "Hellboy, your fall should be like the fall of mountains." [[spoiler: And indeed, when Nimue finally tears out Hellboy's heart and kills him, Hellboy turns to stone and crumbles to dust]].
* CaptainErsatz: Von Klempt's odd similarities to [[MazingerZ Count Brocken]].
* CatchPhrase: Shares one with [[{{Uncharted}} Nathan Drake]]: "Ah, crap!" Also, "[[CurseCutShort Son of a b-]]"
* CensorShadow: Goes hand-in-hand with FullFrontalAssault. (The {{Chiaroscuro}} makes it easy.)
* ChekhovsArmory: Just about everything Hellboy sees or does in "Wake the Devil" (and a couple of the short stories, like "Box Full of Evil") comes back to haunt him in "Darkness Calls."
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler: Alice Monaghan]] from "The Corpse."
* {{Chiaroscuro}}: When Mignola's doing the art it borders on tenebrism.
* ChromeDomePsi: Abe Sapien.
* ClothingDamage: Hellboy's BadassLongcoat rarely survives his missions.
* ClueFromEd: Used very sparsely, generally to point you out which prior stories a referenced event occurred in. They are not attributed to an editor.
* ComicBookTime: Averted in the sense that the series does not employ a sliding timescale, and most events are dated around the time the arc is published, with, for instance Hellboy quitting the Bureau in 1998, and not being heard from for nearly ten years. The characters are more ambiguous. Tom Manning and Kate Corrigan seem to have aged in real time, but that may be due to Guy Davis's different art style. Liz Sherman looks older than she did in 1994, but she was canonically born in 1962, making her over 50 at present. [[ImmortalityBeginsAtTwenty This might suggest that people of a magical nature age at a slower rate than normal.]]
* CosmicHorrorStory / LovecraftLite: It's up in the air which of the two the series falls under; it really depends on which wins in the end: YouCantFightFate or ScrewDestiny.
* CrossOver: With ''ComicBook/TheGoon'', ''ComicBook/NextMen'', ''ComicBook/BeastsOfBurden'', and ''TheSavageDragon'', as well as a memorable three-way crossover with Franchise/{{Batman}} and James Robinson's Comicbook/{{Starman}}.
* CrossoverCosmology: Deities and monsters of classical mythology make regular appearances, while {{God}} was responsible for the creation of the (originally non-evil) cosmic entities mentioned above.
* CrystalPrison: The Ogru'Jahad's prison.
* CursedWithAwesome: Liz Sherman. Arguably, Hellboy himself.
* DarkIsNotEvil: Despite being a demon, Hellboy is one of the more noble characters of the series.
** One story even implies that he might be a ''saint''.
** Although there are a lot of villains trying convince him that he ''should'' be evil.
* ADayInTheLimelight: The ''Abe Sapien'', ''Lobster Johnson'' and ''Witchfinder'' spinoffs could be considered this since they all expand on previously existing characters from ''Hellboy'' and are much more limited series. As for ''B.P.R.D.'', the "War on Frogs" miniseries could count for several agents and "Garden of Souls" is almost completely devoted to Abe Sapien with some supporting action for Daimio.
* DeadAllAlong: [[spoiler:Lobster Johnson]] in ''The Conqueror Worm''.
* DeathSeeker: Ben Daimio, [[spoiler: once he realizes he'll never be free of the jaguar curse]].
* DemonSlaying: Hellboy's standard M.O.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Also Hellboy's M.O. Given Hellboy's true name and nature, this probably applies whenever someone punches ''him'' out.
* DoNotGoGentle: Armageddon is underway. The B.P.R.D. and Hellboy have won countless battles, but each comes with a terrible cost. No one has any hope for victory at this point. The only thing they can hope for is to prevent their enemies from remaking the world in their image, fulfill the end of days with courage, and [[FlingALightIntoTheFuture throw a light into the future]], as what may have been destined all along.
* DullSurprise: Liz Sherman's default expression for most of the Hellboy comics. Justified, as she's supposed to be depressed and heavily medicated due to her [[DarkAndTroubledPast tragic past]], and in the later ''BPRD'' series, she gets better.
* EldritchAbomination: Ogdru Jahad and their 369 offspring Ogdru Hem, which are Sadu-Hem and Katha-Hem, among others. Creator/HPLovecraft's influence here is no surprise.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: And there's ''no'' escaping it. The B.P.R.D. is fighting a desperate battle to ensure something of humanity's spirit and legacy will survive after the end. But the Ogdru Hem are rising, the FourHorsemen have been unleashed, cities are swallowed in war with monsters and natural disasters, the world's biggest hope [[spoiler:is dead]], and WordOfGod has said things that are broken aren't getting fixed.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: von Klempt's series of "Kriegaffes", one of which prompts Hellboy's entirely accurate line, "Goddamn Nazi Frankenstein monkey!" "Box Full of Evil" involves a gun-toting Satanist getting turned into a chimp and trying to kill Abe. ''Lobster Johnson'' introduces shape-shifting Tibetan were-apes, and [[spoiler:Daimio's grandmother, the Crimson Lotus, had a monkey that seems to have been her familiar.]]
--> '''Hellboy''': "Enough with the damn monkeys! They were monkeys!"
--> '''Von Klempt''': "APES!"
* {{Evil Chancellor}}: By the end of the Lobster Johnson miniseries ''The Burning Hand'' (set in 1932) it's clear that Isog is this to crime boss Arnie Wald. He acts subservient and deferential to him in order to let him think that he's in charge.
** [[spoiler: Astaroth]] reveals that his ultimate plan is to become this for whoever becomes [[spoiler: ruler of Hell.]]
* EvilIsNotAToy: Nearly everyone Hellboy encounters seems to have their own agenda for the Right Hand of Doom and the Ogdru Jahad, believing that they can control their powers (even {{Hell}} seems to think they can use the Dragon). It is implied that they are all delusional, and that the release of the Ogdru Jahad would simply result in the annihilation of reality. Hecate is the only one who seems to be aware of this, but pursues it anyway and mocks those who believe they can twist the power to their own ends (she suggests that it ''might'' be possible that a new world will be born from the ruins, but it doesn't really concern her).
** Igor Bromhead seems particularly unable to understand this principle.
** The various short story collections contain no small number of would-be occultists with just enough knowledge to be be a danger to themselves an others, trying to use powers beyond their control for usually very petty ends.
** Lampshaded in the first story when a bunch of aliens detect signs of activity from the sleeping Ogdru Jahad. The aliens wonder who would be stupid enough to wake the damn things since the Dragon will simply burn the world to cinders.
* EvilSorcerer: Rasputin
** Igor Bromhead clearly ''tries'' to be this.
* EyeScream: Hellboy shoots out the Baba Yaga's eye in the 60s. [[spoiler:And gives up his own to pay her back!]]
* ExiledFromContinuity: The appearance of the Torch of Liberty in the first miniseries is still ''canon'', but since the character is created and owned by John Byrne, who scripted the original miniseries, he has never reappeared.
* ExtranormalInstitute: The BRPD's offices.
* TheFairFolk: In the comic book short story "The Corpse", Hellboy rescues a baby taken by Fairies; since then, the fairies and their king have taken a particular interest in Hellboy.
* FantasyKitchenSink: The size of an Olympic swimming pool.
* [[MotherlyScientist Fatherly Scientist]]: Professor Trevor Bruttenholm adopts Hellboy after he was summonned into this world.
* FertileBlood: In "The Nature of the Beast", there's a legend that when the monk who first killed the St. Leonard Worm was injured fighting the dragon, lilies grew from where his blood fell. When Hellboy fights the Worm, lilies grow from where ''his'' blood fell as well. This is significant because Hellboy is a half demon and the prophesied {{Antichrist}}, but he is so good despite this fact that he becomes an AntiAntichrist.
* FingerSnapLighter: Liz Sherman uses her pyrokineses to light her cigarettes on occasion.
* FishPeople: Abe Sapien.
* FromBadToWorse: [[spoiler:Hellboy's dead]]. Crap.
* FullFrontalAssault: [[spoiler:The Queen of Blood's nakedness only adds to her creep factor.]]
** Other villains do this as well.
* {{Geek}}: Kate Corrigan was the occult/mythology geek in the comics (it was her day job before she joined the BPRD). Recently, Johann Kraus seems to be turning into the evil version of this.
* GentleGiant: Hellboy is gentle with children, even sometimes when it's against his better judgment.
* {{Ghostapo}}[=/=]StupidJetpackHitler: {{Jet Pack}}s, LegoGenetics, {{Hollywood Cyborg}}s, [[BrainInAJar heads in jars]], the [[PublicDomainArtifact Spear of Longinus]], and quality occult advice from ''Rasputin''; you name it, the Nazis had it. Mignola's Hitler had [[WhereDoesHeGetAllThoseWonderfulToys more toys]] than Franchise/{{Batman}}.
* GodIsGood: Aside from the plentiful holy relics, {{Badass}} undead saints and OurAngelsAreDifferent types that occasionally lend a hand, Hellboy is Catholic. He doesn't burst into flames at the sound of church bells, and stakes, crucifixes, etc. have no effect on him despite his demonic nature. [[spoiler: Even going to Hell doesn't seem like too much of a torment to him]]. The guy upstairs is pretty forgiving.
* GodzillaThreshold: [[spoiler: Starting with Black Flame, the B.P.R.D. is now at war with the various demonspawn spilling out all over the globe. Collateral damage is barely a concern. Half of Indonesia has been obliterated along with Munich, California, Houston, Seattle, London, New York and a zombie plague is devastating Russia. The nuclear option has come up several times... The Bureau and its allies are desperately trying to HoldTheLine... it's not working.]]
* GratuitousGerman: Johann Kraus, when he loses his temper. Allmachtiger!
* {{Grimmification}}
* HandCannon: Hellboy uses a whole series of handguns from a single-shot pistol of some very large caliber given to him by The Torch of Liberty (a WWII-era superhero), through a more modern (though ultimately unreliable) autoloader that would make the Desert Eagle wet itself in awe, to a plain old antique [[CoolGuns Colt M1911A1]] to replace his custom sidearm when it went MIA.
* HandOfGlory: Igor Bromhead uses one in ''Box of Evil''.
** Another appears in ''Being Human''.
* HeadlessHorseman: King Vold, leader of the Wild Hunt.
* HideYourOtherness: Hellboy keeps sawing off his devil horns in an effort to fit in and deny his very, very evil heritage.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Rasputin, obviously. He had some contact with BabaYaga while he was alive, but he got a ''real'' upgrade when he threw in with the Cosmic Horror Story crowd after his (first) death.
* HollowWorld: The BPRD miniseries ''Hollow Earth''.
* HornedHumanoid: Hellboy.
* HorsemenOfTheApocalypse: And boy are they pissed off.
* HorrifyingHero: Hellboy is the demon who was supposed to bring about the Apocalypse, and he probably would have become a straight EldritchAbomination if not for being raised like a human. He's personable enough that he isn't treated like the abomination he is, but by his very nature he was ''supposed'' to be evil.
* IKnowYourTrueName: Used with great consistency to control and contain demons, though hubris usually gets the better of the summoner in question. This is one of Hellboy's early weaknesses until he realizes [[spoiler: Anung Un Rama isn't ''his'' name]].
* IWantGrandkids: In "Curse of the Haunted Doll", the ghost of Kate Corrigan's mother bugs her about this.
* InterspeciesAdoption: Hellboy doesn't seem to mind (too much) that he's a demon raised among humans. Even if he was kept hidden away from the public. Part of this has to do with his unique heritage. [[spoiler:He's only half demon]].
* InterspeciesRomance: Hellboy and Kate dated for a brief time before ending the relationship on good terms. More recently, Hellboy has fallen for Alice, the girl he rescued decades ago from the fey folk.
* InhumanableAlienRights: Both the UN and the Pope gave Hellboy "honorary human rights".
* KillItWithFire: Liz uses this a lot, obviously. Also, the BPRD usually sends one "flame-thrower guy" with field teams when they expect contact. Most of the cosmic entities can be killed with fire, though not all.
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler:Nimue tears Hellboy's heart out in the last chapter of The Fury and drops it into Hell, while Hellboy's body turns to ash. Most sources point this to being the permanent sort of death.]]
** [[spoiler:He's definitely permanently dead in the physical world, but still exists as an entity within hell, which he will apparently spend the rest of eternity exploring in a WidgetSeries spinoff.]]
* KingArthur: [[spoiler:Hellboy is the last living descendant of Arthur's son Mordred, and therefore is the Pendragon and rightful King of England.]]
** The [[spoiler:Queen of Blood]]'s true identity is revealed to be [[spoiler:Nimue, the sorceress who seduced Merlin, stole his secrets and imprisoned him. She was driven mad by the Ogdru Jahad]].
* KnightInSourArmor: Hellboy, he's gonna be sore in the mornin'.
* KnightsTemplar: The Knights of Saint Hagan, a Crusader who rose headless to fight in the last battle of the Crusades. His followers continued their campaign to destroy all things Satanic with considerable success. Hellboy lampshades their 'kill em all' approach as misguided... however, ''most'' of the demons and heathens killed certainly deserved it.
* LikeABadassOutOfHell: [[spoiler:Hellboy in Hell... maybe.]]
* LivingLabyrinth: A standard of the various haunted and cursed places Hellboy often explores.
* LoveTriangle: A weird one in Johann Kraus's past. He fell in love with the ghost of a man's wife he was hired to contact as a spirit medium. Naturally, this did not end well.
* MagicalDatabase: Both movie and comics, featured the agency having an extensive database/library of the occult, where our hero's MissionControl usually digs up a vital piece of information for defeating the MonsterOfTheWeek.
* MaskedLuchador: Lobster Johnson, as imagined in [[ShowWithinAShow a series of mexican horror movies]] of [[AdaptationDecay questionable quality]]
** Hellboy also teams up with some in one of the Christopher Golden novels, which are apparently part of the comic continuity.
** And he teams up with a trio of brothers that used to be these before becoming monster hunters in a one-shot.
* {{Masquerade}}: Averted, while it's in full force in the first movie and a half, Hellboy is an internationally famous paranormal investigator in the comics. Certainly, no one seems terribly disturbed when a guy who is seven foot tall, bright red and has a hand made of solid stone turns up to look into their supernatural troubles.
* MightyWhitey: Invoked, but ultimately subverted by Martin "Fu Manchu" Gilfryd.
* AMillionIsAStatistic: Used and inverted by the protagonists and the antagonists in "The Black Goddess."
* MindScrew: Mignola is a great admirer of mythology and fairytales, and the Hellboy comics often adhere more to that sort of curious dream-logic than the more linear storytelling most modern readers are accustomed to. This is especially prevalent in the one-shots, as the larger {{Story Arc}}s, by their very nature require a more cohesive approach. In his introduction to ''The Hydra & The Lion'', Mignola comments: "I've always said that in supernatural stories you need bits that are beyond human comprehension. This one is pretty much made of those bits."
* MonsterModesty: Hellboy wears little more than brown shorts and a trenchcoat. His chest is completely bare.
** Abe Sapien and many other non-human characters often wear pants and nothing else.
** Hilariously subverted when Captain Daimio meets Roger, is flabbergasted by the (literal) block of wood and ring on his groin, and tells him to put some pants on. When it becomes apparent that Roger's groin-block is so large that pants do absolutely nothing to hide them and make him a walking prince-albert joke, Daimio quickly tells him to, on second thought, lose the pants.
* MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate: While not outright ''evil'', it seems that the head of Research for the [=BPRD=], Dr. Roddel (And to a lesser extent his associate Dr. Cobb) is not a particularly compassionate man. He had to be talked into the proceedure that woke Abe from his [[RipVanWinkle Magical Sleep]], and refused to do the proceedure that revived Roger after he was first brought back (Abe had to sneak into the lab and do it himself). Abe describes his first few days awake in the [=BPRD=] research labs as "Terrifying", and we see him in a tank with attached electrodes surrounded by dead fish (Presumably that they had thrown into the tank to feed him and never cleaned up after). Hellboy agrees, stating from his own experience that the lab boys will keep going, finding new things to experiment towards until told to stop. Hellboy says this as he charges into an experiment-in-progress, pulls Abe from the tank he's in and takes him to the cafeteria for a sandwich.
** Herman von Klempt, however, fits this trope to a tee.
* MundaneUtility: Liz Sherman lighting her cigarettes with pyrokinesis.
* MysteriousPast: Oh, yeah. The exact amount of mystery varies between characters. Several have even gotten enough plot attention to not be mysterious anymore.
** Hellboy himself seems to favor this over knowing his full past and origins: "I ''like'' not knowing. I ''sleep good'' not knowing.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, Ogdru Jahad, Anung Un Rama.
* NaziHunter: Hellboy acted as one after the war and killed AdolfHitler himself.
** The Lobster as well, both before his death in 1939 and as a [[spoiler:ghost]] afterwards.
* NighInvulnerability: Hellboy of course. After he and Liz leave the Bureau, Johann's status as a [[IncrediblyLamePun ghost in a shell]] means he's currently the B.P.R.D.'s ace in the hole during combat missions. He simply switches bodies/suits if he takes damage. It takes an Ogdru Hem's psychic assault to even slow him down.
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: Cyborg gorillas? A Nazi astronaut possessed by [[EldritchAbomination eldritch abominations]]? Mexican wrestler demons? Bring 'em on!
* NoShirtLongJacket: Hellboy's usual look.
* OffhandBackhand: Done to a hapless vampire in ''House of the Living Dead'' by Hellboy using a blessed sword.
* OhCrap: Hellboy's had so many of these moments, it's practically become his CatchPhrase. A few villains have had them as well. The better ones involve monkeys.
* OlderThanTheyLook: Hellboy's appearance is inhuman enough to make an apparent age not readily determinable, but he doesn't really seem to show his 60-80 years in which he has been on Earth (he was technically "born" in the 1600s, but doesn't seem to have aged until he left {{Hell}}). [[spoiler:Alice Monaghen also looks about twenty years younger than she is, due to the influence of the fae]].
* OurAngelsAreDifferent: So far we've seen ones that look like flaming skeletons with no legs, and another that looks like a giant maggot with a metallic black mask, pointy legs and wings made of flayed human skin, with a floating spear of fire that follows it around.
* OurDemonsAreDifferent: HB's pretty typical, physically, but the other demons we see keep getting progressively weirder as time goes on. The bizarre crow/bat/udder thing in ''BPRD: The Universal Machine'' probably takes the cake.
* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: A race of grey-skinned mountain faeries from "Jutland" appear in The Wild Hunt. They are short, bearded, and like crafting with metal and gems. While they [[NotUsingTheZWord haven't yet been identified as such]], they fit the dwarven archetype to a T. A similar group shows up when Hellboy fights the ghost of Norse Frost Giants.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Given the nature of the series, this is to be expected. Besides classical vampires, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. have faced off against a number of variations.
** Vampire-Human hybrids made from injecting the mentally and physically disabled, gay, and other prisoners that the Nazis had rounded up with vampire blood.
** The Manananggal/Penanggalan, a normal-looking woman by day, who at night detaches her head from her body to feed, ALL of her internal organs leaving with her.
** The bestial and corpse-like vampires of Mexican folklore
** The Varcolac, a Titan-esque King of the Vampires that can devour the moon.
** The vampire lords (a group to whom Vladimir Giurescu and Baron Koenig also belonged) are of the more classical kind. [[spoiler:However, they also have a centuries-old plan to take over the world. That is, if the ongoing apocalypse doesn't beat them to it. And if Simon Anders doesn't wipe them all out in the meantime]].
* PaperThinDisguise: Despite there being no [[TheMasquerade masquerade]] in this world, Abe shows up to the Cavandish estate in ''Seed of Destruction'' in one of these, including a hat, sunglasses, fake beard and ConspicuousTrenchcoat
* PhysicalGod: Hecate, [[spoiler:The Queen of Blood]].
** Hellboy himself would become one of these if he ever took up his place in {{Hell}}. He's on the verge of it as he is already, given his strength and how hard it is to kill him.
* PutOnABus: This happens to Abe in an awesome way in the ''B.P.R.D.'' story "The Dead". He returns to field duty... but not for long.
* RasputinianDeath: Rasputin.
* RedRightHand: Left hand, too.
* RedShirt: Just about any non main BPRD character who tags along with the main characters on their missions isn't coming back. They did, however, TakeALevelInBadass in several side stories. The extreme danger normal humans face working for the B.P.R.D. is discussed many times. They do their jobs anyway.
** Certain BPRD agents may be {{MauveShirt}}s, however, with Agent Devon being one of the more notable examples to emerge from the ''B.P.R.D.'' comics.
** RedshirtArmy ([[InvokedTrope Invoking]] FacelessGoons as well.
* TheRightHandOfDoom: The TropeCodifier.
* RoswellThatEndsWell: Scenes involving Hellboy's childhood and the early years of the BPRD are sometimes set at the Roswell Army Air Field, where the Bureau was based until the famous 1947 spaceship crash. (It's possible that they might've been able to stay there, were it not for an incident involving kid Hellboy, his dog Mac, and some of the residue from the ship. In the aftermath, it was decided that the time had come for the Bureau to go its own way, at which point it moved to the Connecticut facility seen in stories set during Hellboy's tenure as a BPRD agent.)
* {{Satan}}: Mentioned in ''The Wild Hunt''. Is currently [[spoiler:taking a two-thousand-year nap beneath Pandemonium]]. Oh yeah, and [[spoiler:Hellboy killed him]].
* ScrewDestiny: Hellboy was born to bring about the Apocalypse. He's not happy about that. In the second trade paperback ''Wake The Devil'', Hellboy [[spoiler:actually says "Screw you!" as part of his ShutUpHannibal to Hecate after she lectures him about his destiny]].
-->'''Hecate''': Accept the truth of your existence or be destroyed! You cannot escape your destiny!\\
'''Hellboy''': Gonna try.\\
'''Hecate''': Time is coming to ring down the curtain on man. Already, the four horsemen are loose in the world. It is for us to darken the sun, turn the moon to blood, and put out the stars. Then you and I alone, forever in the dark--\\
'''Hellboy''': Shut up! Not gonna happen... 'cause you're very, very ugly... and... '''you have a giant snake body'''!\\
''**impale**''
* ShellShockedSenior: Captain Ben Daimio. [[spoiler:He was dead for three days, wouldn't you be too?]]
* ShoutOut: You'll be hard pressed to find a Hellboy story that doesn't have at least one reference to Creator/HPLovecraft.
* ShowWithinAShow: After his death in 1939, [[TwoFistedTales two-fisted]] adventure hero The Lobster became the subject of a number of these: PulpMagazine stories, [[ComicBookAdaptation comic books]], {{Film Serial}}s, and finally Mexican movies with The Lobster (or, rather, "Lobster Johnson," the last name taken from the SecretIdentity he was given in the pulps) as a MaskedLuchador. Compared to his RealLife, they all make for ''massive'' cases of AdaptationDecay, and [[StylisticSuck are all considered atrociously terrible]], although some people (including Hellboy himself) [[CultClassic enjoy them anyway]]. The existence of these adaptations allow the ''Hellboy''-verse's US government to cover up the existence of the real Lobster (and the fact that he was a spy for them in WWII), and as a further side-effect, the character is more readily known, on both sides of the FourthWall, as "Lobster Johnson."
* SilentSceneryPanel: Lots of close-ups of thematically-important artwork and statuary.
* SixthRanger: While sorting the various agents into roles is a bit tricky, Captain Daimio is certainly a SixthRanger, now replaced by Johann.
* SmugSnake: Igor Bromhead, a hedge-wizard who makes a point of knowing more about the task at hand and being better prepared than his companions, and likes to lord it over people. That said, he still doesn't know nearly as much as he thinks he does. At the end of his first appearance [[spoiler: He is saved from being arrested or killed by the BPRD by invoking the Demon Prince Astaroth, who in return gives him the lower body of a reptile. Later he imprisons Hecate as part of a bid to become the King of Witches, but winds up trying to eat the moon, which leaves him bloated and wracked with pain and begging Hellboy to kill him]]
** [[DemonLordsAndArchdevils Astaroth himself]], while a demon lord, seems pretty confident that Hellboy will fulfill his destiny willingly in time. [[spoiler: Later, when Hellboy doesn't, Astaroth reveals that he planned to rule Hell with Hellboy as a figurehead. This doesn't end well.]]
* {{Spinoff}}: So far the main Hellboy series has four official spinoff series, including ''B.P.R.D.'', ''Lobster Johnson'', ''Abe Sapien'', and the upcoming ''Witchfinder'' series. Not too mention the ''Odd Jobs'' series, the ''Weird Tales'' comics, and all the non-canon novelizations; there's a whole lot more to the Hellboy [[TheVerse universe]] than just the original comics.
* {{Squick}}: InUniverse. Hellboy's seen a lot of stuff, but in ''Conqueror Worm'' he's particularly unhappy when he finds that the psychic radio the [[{{Ghostapo}} Nazis]] were using used the severed, mummified heads of saints that were actually psychics.
-->'''Hellboy''': This is the worst place on Earth.
* StartXToStopX: Lampshaded by Hellboy when he gets captured by the Bog Roosh.
--> '''Hellboy''': So you had a dream that when I die the whole world gets destroyed and you're going to stop that-- by killing me? You're a genius.
* TheStoic: Hellboy.
* StrippedToTheBone: Happens a whole lot.
* StylisticSuck: See ShowWithinAShow, above.
* SuperhumanTransfusion: ''The Island."
* SupernormalBindings: Rather common when dealing with demons. When attempting a summoning, anyone with half an ounce of sense will use some magical binding or words of power to prevent the demon from leaving the summoning circle. (Of course, anyone with a full ounce of sense wouldn't be summoning demons in the first place, because things always manage to go wrong even with these barriers in place.)
* TallDarkAndSnarky: Hellboy.
* TastesLikeFriendship: Apparently, Hellboy is lost to the forces of darkness forever because he ate pancakes.
* TheTeamNormal: Kate Corrigan.
* TechnologyPorn: One word: [[spoiler:Helicarrier]].
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: See OhCrap above.
* ThoseWackyNazis: If there's a non-supernatural foe in the comics, there's a good chance they wear a swastika.
** NaziOccultism: They're not mutually exclusive either.
* TimmStyle: In the {{OVA}}s. Was likely used for being cheaper to animate than Mignola's actual style, while still being somewhat similar.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: "Pamcakes."
* TrenchcoatBrigade: one of his trademarks is a coat and a big cigarette.
* UltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny: Hellboy's version of Armageddon consists of a seven aspect god of chaos, its spawn, the forces of hell, and every magical being left in the world with a grudge against humanity vs. a half-demon, half-human hybrid (with the fist of an angel), an undead army of Christendom, a global paramilitary defense agency, and a walking atomic bomb. That's the Cliff Notes version.
* TheUnchosenOne: Hellboy
* TheUnmasquedWorld: Hellboy was granted honorary human status by the UN and is something of a paranormal celebrity. There's a reason people don't freak out when a giant red demon shows up to investigate a were-rat infestation. In the first trade paperback, while Hellboy stands around in broad daylight when on missions, Abe Sapien wears a [[WigDressAccent coat, hat, goggles, and a fake beard]] to hide his amphibian nature. [[AllThereInTheManual The Companion]] explains that Abe was never too keen on drawing excess attention and lacks the natural charm that Hellboy uses to overcome the fear his appearance causes. Hellboy even speculated at one point that it's easier for people to accept him because Hell seems "more abstract" than anything that reminds them of the [[UncannyValley weird things in the oceans that they know are real]]. Thus Abe uses the CoatHatMask and Hellboy doesn't.
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: [[spoiler: Nice job destroying England, the world, your own people, and the human race, Gruagach.]]
* UpbringingMakesTheHero
* UrbanLegend: Lobster Johnson, and this is the main reason why all the [[ShowWithinAShow in-universe stories]] about him are [[StylisticSuck pulpy]] and wildly incorrect.
* VengefulVendingMachine: An omake strip showed him dealing with one of these, but the ending reveals that a tiny imp was behind it, not the machine itself.
* VillainousBSOD: In ''Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand'', The original [[PlayingWithFire Black Flame]] is shot by everything from handguns to [[MoreDakka submachineguns]] to a ''[[{{BFG}} 4-inch shell from an Anti-Aircraft cannon]]'' and the most they were able to do is stop him for a few minutes. He is only defeated when [[spoiler: [[IntrepidReporter Cindy Tynan]] forces Isog to run over the Black Flame's wife and partner [[DragonLady Kamala]]. The Black Flame, who has shown little emotion to that point, is clearly crushed, and collapses and allows himself to be taken into custody then]]
* VillainTeamUp: In both the main series and ''B.P.R.D.'', see main article for details.
* TheVirus: One of the more horrific, and common, fates in Hellboy is being transformed into horrible demon-spawn frog monsters. No race, gender or age group is spared.
* WalkingShirtlessScene: Hellboy almost never wears one. When he ''does'' have a shirt, it usually [[ClothingDamage doesn't last very long]].
* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotHeinous: [[TheDevil Astaroth]] and his horde's reaction to Hellboy having breakfast
--> '''Mammon''': It is the boy. He has eaten the pancake.
--> '''Haborym''': He will never come back to us now.
--> '''Astaroth''': Truely, this ''is'' our blackest hour.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Something Hellboy must deal with often enough.
-->''Remember Hellboy, to be something other than human, does not necessarily mean to be something less.''
** In the books, the BPRD comes down on the wrong side of this question when it [[spoiler:fits Roger the Homunculus with a self-destruct]].
** And this comes up in ''The Black Goddess'' a bit with Johann.
* TheWildHunt: One ''Hellboy'' arc seemed to indicate that TheFairFolk are gearing up to take on the human race.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Mary, from "The Sleeping and the Dead".
* WreathedInFlames: Liz can do this.
* ZorroMark: Lobster Johnson's lobster claw.
-->'''Lobster Johnson''': "Here is the claw!"
-->'''ThoseWackyNazis''': "Nein! Nein!"
----
->And there you go.