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How The Cast Of Hellboy Should Really Look

The Hellboy comic book series, created by writer and artist Mike Mignola, is a wildly imaginative feast for the eyes. So imaginative that at first glance it would seem like a live-action movie adaptation would be nearly impossible to pull off accurately, since so many of the comic's central characters aren't human. But leave it to director Guillermo Del Toro to faithfully bring the comic's characters to screen. But no matter how good the translation there are always a few differences. So what were the changes from comic to screen?


The biggest difference between comic and movie versions of the story's central character is Ron Perlman. Hellboy, while definitely a large specimen who towers over everyone else, is usually depicted as thin, maybe a little wiry. Though sometimes he is as big and burly as Ron Perlman is in the movies. Really, it just comes down to however Mike Mignola felt like drawing him that day. Del Toro's version of the character remains as faithful as could possibly be, not counting the varied character size. It looks like he was ripped directly out of the pages of the comic and thrown into a movie screen. Everything, from the trench coat, to the facial hair, his oversized rocky fist, and his comically oversized gun (nicknamed Good Samaritan) is pitch perfect.

Abe Sapien

Abe is so faithfully adapted that there's only one clear difference between his film and comic book counterparts: the breathing apparatus that wraps around his neck. In the movies, particularly the first one, anytime Abe is seen wandering around outside of his water tank he has his portable water tank wrapped around the gills on his neck so he can join Hellboy on his adventures. The breathing apparatus rarely shows up in the second film, which brings him much more in line with the source material since he never wears it in the comics. Abe can breathe just as well out of water as he can in it.

Liz Sherman

Liz isn't too difficult of a character to translate onto the screen. She is one of the few recurring human characters in both the movies and comics, so all costume designers and special-effects wizards had to worry about was outfitting her in a suitably cool-looking series of jackets and beanies while occasionally filling her hands with computer-generated flames whenever she showed off her pyrokinesis skills. Mission accomplished.


Karl Ruprecht Kroenen is the reanimated corpse of a former Nazi doctor whose dead flesh has had machinery grafted into it to make him deadlier than he ever was when he was alive. His retractable arm blades also help with the deadliness. He's a bizarre character, for sure, but he was brought to the screen about as well as a fan of the Hellboy comics could've hoped. He's clad from head to toe in that stylish militaristic black leather garb movies love to adorn their Nazis in, because when you're dealing with what might've been the most evil army in world history there really aren't too many points that can be exaggerated other than the clothing they wore. His mask is largely the same as in the comics, albeit a little elongated, and it doesn't look as much like a scuba mask around the mouth area as it does in the comics.

Grigori Rasputin

Rasputin, the villain of the first movie, looks identical to his comic book counterpart. But neither of them look like their real-life counterpart, the actual Grigori Rasputin, a former Russian peasant turned mystical faith healer who became an influential figure within the Russian government during World War I. Oh, and he was the guy who was notoriously difficult to assassinate. He was poisoned, shot three times, beaten, and thrown into an icy river — and he fought the whole way through. The real Rasputin wasn't nearly as bald as Hellboy's version. His hair was long, dry, and wiry, like black hay.

Professor Broom

Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (Professor Broom, for short) is a classic mad scientist. In the comics he looks like an older Doc Brown with somehow wilder hair. In the Hellboy movies he's, well, pretty much the exact same thing, with one exception: the glasses. Actor John Hurt's rendition of Hellboy's surrogate father is an accurate representation of the character from the comics, but with the added bonus of small circular spectacles that complete the look of a nerdy bookworm.

Sergeant George Whitman

Whitman is the U.S. Army sergeant tasked with leading a group of commandos and three scientists/paranormal experts (Professor Broom included) on the mission that will eventually be known as the "Hellboy Incident." His comic book appearance is more aligned with General Patton than the run-of-the-mill green-fatigued soldier we see in the opening minutes of Hellboy.

Tom Manning

Manning is the director of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, the government agency tasked with handling the odd supernatural circumstances surrounding Hellboy and his team of monstrous misfits. As such, Tom is depicted as a run-of-the-mill schlubby bureaucrat who has his crap together just enough to land a high-ranking government job but not enough to do it well or with confidence. There is no actor on Earth more qualified to play this role than Jeffrey Tambor, who, without a hint of makeup or prosthetic, is Tom Manning's spitting image, visually and spiritually.

Johann Kraus

Technically, Kraus doesn't actually have a face. Sure, he has a mask that acts as a pseudo-face, but seeing as he's an ectoplasmic spirit with psychic abilities living inside of a containment suit, essentially a cloud of gas in scuba gear, there isn't much of a physical presence to compare. We're basically comparing costumes. And if that's what they were doing then Guillermo Del Toro only took minor liberties when bringing Johann Kraus to the screen. In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Kraus wears what appears to be a giant fishbowl on his head that has two large exhaust pipes sticking out the front. It kind of has the look of an old school diving suit. It's big and clunky, more of a walking steampunk chamber than the sleek and almost tactical suit worn by Kraus in the comics. On the page Kraus' head is less a giant fishbowl and more of a glass facsimile of a normal human head.

Ilsa Haupstein

Tall, blonde, and sexy female Nazis are a trope that pops up whenever Hollywood crosses World War II with science fiction. In the first Hellboy Ilsa is depicted as a bit more of a traditional film noir femme fatale than she is in the comics, where she tends to look like a G.I. Joe villain. Her hair is usually drawn as being much shorter, giving her almost a buzz cut. And in the comic she sports an article of clothing that seems to be always exclusively worn by comic book characters, most famously by Gambit from the X-Men universe. We're not even sure what to call it, but it's like a pair of tights for your neck that extends up over the ears. It's a comic book clothing trope that serves no immediately apparent purpose other than to make characters look cool. And keep their throats warm.