The central character, summoned to Earth by Grigori Rasputin and a group of Nazi occultists in the final months of World War II as part of Project Ragna Rok. Found by the U.S. Army, he was raised by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm in an Air Force base in New Mexico. In adulthood, he becomes the primary agent for the BPRD.Tropes associated with Hellboy:
The Alcoholic: Realises in "The Storm And The Fury" that he's been drinking solidly for six years and has made a lot of bad decisions, so he quits.
BFG: The Good Samaritan in the films, and its inspiration, the Hand Cannon given to him by the Torch of Liberty when he was younger. He eventually loses this at the bottom of the sea, and replaces it with a Colt 1911, which he loses fighting giants a year or two later. Beyond these he has a tendency to lose any firearms he's given. It doesn't bother him, because he's actually a rather lousy shot by his own admission.
Cosmic Plaything: Much to his displeasure and annoyance, he seems to be fated to continuously reminded of his eventual apocalyptic destiny, often as violently as he could possibly be reminded. Even other BPRD agents mention that regardless of how tame the case seems to be, when Hellboy shows up things get violent, and he always catches the worst of it.
Numerous others frequently repeated in the comics are "That's all for you!" (generally after he's killed something), and "There you go," though "Oh crap!" is by far his most famous thanks to it's repeated usage in the films.
Horrifying Hero: Hellboy is the demon who was supposed to bring about the Apocalypse, and he probably would have become a straight Eldritch Abomination 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.
Made of Iron: He's ridiculously hard to kill, and is able to absorb huge amounts of punishment and remain standing. He'd almost be Nigh Invulnerable if it weren't for the fact that he still tends to feel a great deal of pain and bleed everywhere when he does get injured.
Mundane Fantastic: In the comics. Given his status as a big red demon-person and relative fame as a paranormal investigator, you'd think more people who met Hellboy in the comics would react with more surprise to his presence when he suddenly shows up to investigate things, but almost everyone he meets treats his appearance like nothing special at all, and frequently fail to even remark on it at all.
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!
Write Who You Know: Largely based on Mike Mignola's father, who was a cabinet maker. He'd often come home to his family with tales of horrific on the job accidents, including one careless fellow losing a hand, told in the nonchalant, unflappable manner that would become HB's trademark.
Elizabeth 'Liz' Sherman
Pyrokinetic Liz Sherman, a young woman suffering from Power Incontinence as well as struggling with self-esteem issues over childhood trauma stemming from when her powers first manifested. She was taken in by the bureau in 1974 where she learned to control her powers to some degree. Her trauma has left her bitter and she often left the bureau – only to return some time later.In the B.P.R.D. spinnoff series, she managed to gain control over her powers due to living with a society of monks for a few years.Tropes associated with Liz:
Amplifier Artifact: The Hyperborean artifact Liz uses on the mountain-sized Ogdru Hem spikes her flame powers to the levels of a short radius nuke.
Dull Surprise: 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 tragic past, and in the later BPRD series, she gets better.
Expy: Of Charlene McGhee (from Stephen King's Firestarter). Has the exact same powers, a similar backstory, and even manifested her powers during roughly the same time period. Basically, she's what Charlene would be if she had the BPRD instead of The Company and Hellboy instead of her father.
Psychic Powers: She seems to have some sort of power like this. She called Abe for help after her soul was used to fuel a machine; she has visions ad dreams of the future and has apparently visited this future herself.
Self-Made Orphan: Destroyed an entire city block and killed her parents, her brother and her dog, albeit entirely by accident.
A super-intelligent "icthyo sapien" and Hellboy's best friend. He began his life as Langdon Everett Caul in the 19th Century. Being involved with the Oannes Society, an occult organization who believed in life and all knowledge having come from the sea, he transformed into a fish man after an incident.He was found in 1978 in an abandoned laboratory beneath a Washington, D.C. hospital. After some efforts to wake him up (and some grueling tests from curious scientists) the amnesiac fish man took a new name and became an agent.Tropes associated with Abe:
A Day in the Limelight: The Abe Sapien spinoff could be considered this and "Garden of Souls" is almost completely devoted to Abe Sapien with some supporting action for Daimio.
Made of Iron: He's nearly as tough as Hellboy is, having survived being shot three times by an angry monkey, tortured with iron brands, impaled through the chest twice, and once tossed around like a ragdoll by the Ogopogo Lake Monster.
Mysterious Past: Not that mysterious anymore, but now he has a mysterious future (as seen in several of Liz’s visions, he will play a role in the apocalypse).
Non-Action Guy: In the films, Abe is shown as a solid non-action member of the team, and his fighting scenes often get him thrown around and barely managing to survive whatever they are facing. If anything, he only looks good in dodging maneuvers and aiming.
The Ophelia: Caul’s wife Edith Howard always had an instable psyche. But after he disappeared, she went mad and drowned herself. She continued to haunt their house and tried to coax Abe into staying with her and becoming Caul again. He shows her her reflection in a mirror and she makes peace with her death.
Super Strength: It's downplayed in the films, but Abe appears to be extremely strong in the comics, once even capable of tearing a stone block the size of his torso out of a castle wall he was chained too.
Stable Time Loop: After being stabbed and going into a coma, he somehow ended up in Victorian London and by watching and touching his former self somehow caused his transformation into a fish man in the first place.
Shout-Out: As a humanoid fish man who apparently is still undergoing the process of further mutation into an even more fish-like state and his origins tied to a mysterious undersea city, Abe is something of a Deep One analogue for the Hellboy universe, especially with the revelation that Abe is effectively a highly evolved version of one of the Frog Monsters.
They Would Cut You Up: Curious scientists wanted to dissect him, but he was saved by Hellboy. He later saved Roger from the same fate.
Professor Katherine 'Kate' Corrigan
Kate was a professor of history at New York University before joining the B.P.R.D. in 1984 as a consultant. She is specializing in folklore and has a vast knowledge of anything occult, mystical or folklore. Kate became a regular cast member of the B.P.R.D. spinoff series where she acts as the special liaison to the ‘'enhanced talents'’ agents.Kate and Hellboy are good friends and she blames herself for encouraging him to leave the bureau.Tropes associated with Kate:
A Day In The Lime Light: B.P.R.D.: The Universal Machine is all about her searching for a way to bring Roger back to life.
Bad Ass Book Worm: In B.P.R.D.: The Universal Machine Kate is captured by an ageless marquis who wants to trade her for either Roger’s corpse or Abe Sapien. While unable to get the book she needed from the marquis to restore Roger back to life, she did manage to escape on her own in an awesome way – she recognized the ring of the marquis as a ring belonging to King Solomon and by destroying it she released a demon who was a prisoner of the marquis and who promptly took him to Hell.
Roger, a big energy-absorbing homunculus, was discovered in 1996 in Romania by B.P.R.D. agents Liz Sherman, Bud Waller and Sidney Leach. He was activated when Liz (who subconsciously wanted to get rid of her pyrokinesis) touched him. Liz went into a coma and Roger into a killing spree. Roger felt guilty and prayed to God to be killed. He then encountered his "brother" who was trying to get revenge on humanity by sacrificing Kate and using a giant homunculus made of human fat. Roger saved Kate, used Liz’s power to melt the giant body and killed his brother. He restored Liz’s pyrokinesis and – being without an energy source again – went into a coma for three years. He was restored by Abe Sapien using an overdose of electricity and became an agent. Roger was killed in the B.P.R.D. spinoff series by the villain Black Flame.Tropes associated with Roger:
Back from the Dead: Subverted. They even spend an entire story arc letting you think it's gonna happen.
Collector of the Strange: A harmless version. Roger collects all sorts of stuff and junk and hangs it up on strings from his ceiling. One of his collected things turns out to be very important in order for Liz to burn Katha-Hem to dust.
Man Child: Roger is very childlike. He looks up and wants to please Ben Daimio like he were his parent. He collects all sorts of stuff and his spirit even becomes a child in a dreamlike world after he died.
Back from the Dead: Under originally mysterious circumstances. He died, and cut himself out of a body bag three days later, with half his face missing.
Professor Trevor Bruttenholm
The director of the B.P.R.D. and Hellboy's adoptive father.Tropes associated with Prof. Bruttenholm:
Badass Bookworm: Back in the 1940s certainly. He once even parachuted out of a rocket filled with vampires!
Defiant to the End: In the first film, he makes it clear to Rasputin and Kroenen that no matter what, he will always see Hellboy as his son...
Face Death with Dignity: ...before calmly accepting his fate. Kroenen fatally stabs him after Rasputin assures him that his death will be quick.
No Pronunciation Guide: Averted. Where the Professor is a major character, at least Once an Episode someone attempts to pronounce "Bruttenholm" as it's written and are told it's pronounced "Broom." (This is real phenomenon with certain English names.)
Thomas 'Tom' Manning
Director of the BPRD since Trevor Bruttenholm resigned in 1982.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: At first, he tended to follow the directions of his superiors in opposition to the opinions of his team. This included (unwillingly) planting a bomb in Roger, which drove Hellboy to resign. After this he gradually evolved into...
A very easily exited scientist who works for the Bureau who seems to know a great deal about the Ogdru Jahad and the Ogdru Hem. He tends to freak out whenever the case relates to the Ogdru Jahad, and often launches into gothic prophecy about whatever they seem to be facing.
The Dragon of Revelation, destined to bring about The End of the World as We Know It. Only Hellboy and his Right Hand of Doom can set them free to do so.Tropes associated with the Ogdru Jahad:
Bigger Bads: Many of Hellboy's enemies seek to set them free.
Crystal Prison: They're trapped inside a giant, cloudy yellow crystal.
Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Their true forms resemble dinosaurs. Specifically hadrosaurs of all things. Mignola may have chosen hadrosaurs for their elaborate crests, representing the crowns worn by the Dragon in the bible.
Eldritch Abomination: Anything related to them, including the mere sight of them, can induce madness as Professor O'Donnell found out the hard way
Herman von Klempt
A recurring Nazi Mad Scientist villain who often appears to menace Hellboy and friends with his army of cybernetically enhanced gorillas known as the "Kriegaffes"note
War Apes. Note that the German is incorrect. It should be spelled "Kriegsaffe"
, despite being nothing but a floating head in a jar. He was a childhood friend of Kroenen's and was responsible for turning him into a cyborg after he lost most of his body in a lab accident, but Rasputin refused to let him into Project Ragna Rok because even Rasputin thought he was too crazy. Nonetheless he eventually found himself working for the Ogdru Jahad anyway.Tropes associated with von Klempt:
Affably Evil: His comic incarnation is actually a pretty nice guy, despite being a Nazi who wants to sacrifice the world to an Eldritch Abomination. He's friendly and polite to his colleagues and goes out of his way to help his best friend Herman even when he knows it might get him in trouble.
Alien Blood: Over the decades, the blood in his veins dried up into dust.
All There in the Manual: Kroenen's film backstory is revealed in a series of comic panels in Hellboy: The Art of the Movie and in the special features on the DVD.
Body Horror: His movie incarnation surgically removed his own eyelids, lips, fingernails, and toenails, as well as repairing himself with a clockwork heart, a robotic hand, and a steel rod in place of a broken piece of his spine. His comic incarnation may be even worse off, considering that gas-mask like face is his actual skull.
Combat Sadomasochist: His backstory in the films stated that every day, he'd whip himself with a branch of oak and find pleasure in the pain. And let's not forget his "surgical addiction."
Notable for being surrounded by impossible black flames, the Black Flame has a connection to the Ogdru Hem.
Dragged Off to Hell: Pope is carried away by the frogs after the destruction of Katha-hem. When he reappears, what sanity Pope had left seems to be gone.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When Diestel's wife is killed he abandons the fight to go to her, and allows himself to be arrested.
Evil Is Not a Toy: Pope believes that he can control both the powers of the black flame and the frogs. He is wrong.
Heel Face Door Slam: After realizing what his actions have unleashed, Pope is repentant. He apologizes to Liz for killing Roger...who, unaware he'd been responsible, responds by allowing him to be dragged away.
The Juggernaut: The original Black Flame was immune to anything less than a cannon shell, and that didn't kill him either.
Legacy Character: The first Black Flame, Raimund Diestel, appeared in the 1930s, and was a mystical assassin. His suit and remains were recovered by Landis Pope, who had a (at least partially) nonmagical copy of the suit created to allow him to interact with the frogs more easily.
Technicolor Fire: It's in the name. Notably, Pope's initial version of the costume burned blue, and turned black after the frogs empowered him and he became the real Black Flame.
The Undead: He looks like he has a skull for a head. Pope's was initially a helmet; it's not clear if this was the case for Diestel, or if it remained so for Pope.
Unwitting Pawn: His true purpose is just to burn, and light the way for the Ogdru Hem. The frogs allowed him to "control" them so they could get him to take on this role.
"The Lobster" has two histories. The real Lobster was a New York vigilante in the 1930s, and fought Nazis, spies, gangsters, saboteurs and villains like Memnan Saa and the Black Flame, branding their foreheads with the "Lobster's Claw" after their death. He was hired by the US government on the eve of the Second World War and died in a secret assault on the headquarters of the Nazi space programme. He proved as tenacious in death as in life and his ghost held on for years, eventually aiding Roger and Liz in the modern age.None of this is known to the public however, and the US government denies the existence and any knowledge of "The Lobster." Eventually he became a Pulp Magazine star, written by a hack who claimed to have met the real deal. A series of abysmal film serials followed, starring Vic Williams. Then, in the 50's, Mexican director Eduardo Fernandez created somewhere between nine and twelve low-budget films about Lobster Johnson, portraying him as a luchador hero. In fact, these were the source of the name "Lobster Johnson." Before the world ended and Hell On Earth began, rumours abounded that a reboot might be in order, possibly directed by Guillermo del Toro.
The Woobie: Hellboy and Abe inform the captured Daryl that they will have to keep him imprisoned indefinitely, because killing him will only move the curse. They also tell him that his memories of his family will probably start to slip away, and leave him with a family photograph so he can try to remember.