Hellboy debuted in 1993, decades after practically every major comic book hero with a longstanding tradition, but has almost instantly become a hit and his 30-year legacy is something that will certainly go down into history books. Because of his popularity, a lot of people often ask if Hellboy is a part of Marvel or DC.
Hellboy is a character owned by Dark Horse Comics, an independent publisher separate from both DC Comics and Marvel. He was initially offered to DC Comics and he has crossed over with DC’s characters, but he is from a completely separate fictional universe.
Today’s article is going to be all about who owns Hellboy. You’re going to find out to which fictional universe he belongs and which publishing house owns the rights to the character. You’re also going to find you whether Hellboy has crossed over with other universes. Let us begin!
Who Owns Hellboy?
Hellboy first appeared in the world of comic books back in 1993, created by Mike Mignola. Hellboy’s rise to mainstream popularity was quite unique in the world of comics, as a character that is not even 30 years old so has already appeared in three live-action films (played twice by Ron Pearlman and once by David Harbour), two animated films and several video games.
This, of course, wouldn’t be that strange if Hellboy were a DC Comics or Marvel Comic character (a good example is Gorr the God Butcher, who is set to appear in the fourth Thor movie, despite being a completely new character), but he isn’t! Namely, Hellboy doesn’t belong to any of the two major fictional universes.
In the early 1990s, Mike Mignola came up with a basic concept for the comic book and tried pitching it to DC Comics. DC Comics initially loved the whole idea and especially the character but they disliked that the comic had so much to do with Hell and they asked Mignola to change it.
Mignola couldn’t really do that (okay, he did not want to do it) so he withdrew and went to Dark Horse Comics, who accepted his comic the way he had envisioned it and the rest is history.
Hellboy is, thus, owned by Dark Horse Comics.
Is Dark Horse Comics Owned by Marvel or DC Comics?
The structure of American comic book publishing is relatively clear – DC Comics and Marvel Comics are the two major players, with DC also owning Vertigo Comics. But, they are not the only relevant publishers. Alongside Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics has been an independent publisher since the 1980s.
Dark Horse Comics is an independent comic book publishing house founded on February 4, 1986. It is among the largest comic book publishers in the United States of America, despite not being even close to DC Comics or Marvel, but also to Image Comics, the third largest publisher.
Dark Horse Comics has, so far, published titles such as Hellboy, The American, The Mask, Boris the Bear, as well as comic book adaptations of famous franchises such as Alien, Conan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Star Wars.
Did Hellboy Appear in Marvel or DC Comics?
Although he is a Dark Horse Comics character, Hellboy is quite famous for his many crossovers. One of the most important authors with hose work he has crossed over is, of course, H.P. Lovecraft, one of the most important horror authors in history; Lovecraftian horror is a recurring theme in Hellboy’s stories.
So, has Hellboy crossed over with other comics books, especially those published by DC Comics and Marvel? He has, although not as often as you might think. Let us explain.
As far as Marvel is concerned, Hellboy has never crossed over with any Marvel title or character. We assume that this is due to the fact that Hellboy is too dark and too gritty for Marvel’s editors, so there was really no interest in a crossover event.
DC Comics, on the other hand, is a completely different story, as DC is known for tackling dark(er) topics and for its gritty stories. Hellboy has crossed over with DC Comics and this is how it went down.
The comic book we are talking about is Batman/Hellboy/Starman, published in 1999. It had just two issues. In the first issue, Hellboy and Batman teamed up to save Starman from a group of neo-Nazis (if you know your Hellboy, you know he really dislikes them).
In the second, Hellboy and Starman work together to defeat the demon Suggor Yogeroth, a character that looks like he came out of a Lovecraft story.
The stories were written by James Robinson and illustrated by Mike Mignola, and they remain the only official Hellboy/DC crossover up to date.
Hellboy has also appeared in the DC Comics-based video game, Injustice 2, where he is a playable character.