Back in the days before every comic book property under the sun was getting a movie or TV deal, it was a pretty huge accomplishment for anything that wasn’t Batman or Spider-Man to make it to the big screen. Such was the case with Hellboy, which surprised everyone by not only making it to the big screen, but also managing to do so without fundamentally changing everything about the series. That said, getting one movie made is one thing. Getting a sequel? Even less likely. In the years that followed the first Hellboy film, the film’s director, writers, and principle cast members decided to continue their fun through a series of direct-to-DVD animated movies. They produced two, Hellboy: Sword of Storms and Hellboy: Blood and Iron, before eventually returning with the live action Hellboy 2. While Mezco Toyz held the licenses for the comic and film incarnations of Hellboy, the animated license was picked up by Gentle Giant, at the time known for their statue and bust work (now they’re the ones responsible for the sculpts in Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series and Marvel Legends Infinite Series). They produced HB and his teammate Abe Sapien. Today, I’ll be taking a look at Big Red himself.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Hellboy was released in two different ways, though the figure is the same both places. He was available as a single figure, or packed in a set with the two movies. My figure comes from the set with the movies. The figure is about 6 ½ inches tall, with 30 points of articulation. The figure is based on the standard Hellboy design used in both animated films. He’s done here in his sans-coat look. One has to wonder if there might have been plans to do a coated version later down the line. The figure’s sculpt was original to him, and it’s really quite well done. In the films, HB’s proportions are rather exaggerated. The figure does a nice job of translating them, resulting in an (overall) sturdy figure, to a level that’s pleasantly surprising. From his head to his hooves, HB’s sculpt is very carefully handled, resulting in something that not only replicates the cartoon look, but also looks pretty great in three dimensions. Something that sets this figure apart from the vast majority of animation-based figures is texture. Many animation figures attempt to replicate the totally smooth look of the animated character, which can be rather problematic if not done right, and can also end up a little boring. HB, on the other hand, is pretty much coated in unique textures. The best work is definitely on the Right Hand of Doom, which is appropriately rocky looking, but he also has a rather neat orange peel-style texture on his skin, which is strangely appropriate for the character. The texture really catches the light just right and ends up making the figure quite interesting to look at. My only issue with the sculpt is that the shins are so thin that one of them snapped on my figure. However, this is less the sculpt’s fault and more an inevitability of the character design. Still, it’s something that warrants caution. The paint on this figure could have been rather flat, but it’s actually not, which is pretty cool to see. The base paint work is pretty much par for the course. There are a few spots of bleed over and missed lines, but nothing too bad. The strength of the paint really lies in the accent work, which does a lot to bring out the best of the sculpted work. The musculature is all outlined by some nicely handled dark red airbrushing, the RHoD has a black wash to bring out the cracks in the rocky surface, and the belt/pouches/holster have all been given a sufficiently worn looking paint job. All of this is above what is generally expected for an animation figure, which just makes it that much better. Hellboy included his signature gun, The Samaritan, an extra left hand to properly hold it, the Sword of Storms, and a display stand with the Hellboy Animated logo on it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I kinda missed these figures when they were first released, mostly due them being in scale with pretty much nothing I owned. I ended up finding a slightly damaged HB along with the DVDs at this record store called Music for a Song. They were selling it for less than the price of one of the DVDs by itself, so I figured it was probably worth it. I’m glad I found it and decided to go for it, because it’s probably the best Hellboy figure ever made. The articulation’s great, the sculpt is great, the paint’s great. The only thing (at the time) that wasn’t great was that he really didn’t fit with anything else I owned. And then DC Collectibles started doing Bruce Timm-styled figures in the 6 inch scale. Batman/Hellboy team-up FTW!