Rasputin’s baby

Rasputin’s baby
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First Published: Sat, Apr 05 2008. 12 38 AM IST

Demonic: A hero who goes by the rules
Demonic: A hero who goes by the rules
Updated: Sat, Apr 05 2008. 12 38 AM IST
He is so clean and pure, it sometimes hurts.
Demonic: A hero who goes by the rules
He likes dogs, cats, and noisy brats.
He presumably shaves every day because he rarely has a stubble.
And, he respects rules.
He is, of course, Superman, and does it surprise anyone that this writer doesn’t quite like him?
Most superheroes are, like Superman, good-looking (with and without the mask) and finely proportioned, although their sense of fashion does leave a lot to be desired.
And most also follow the rules (Batman is one exception, but even he does largely stick to the spirit of the law if not the letter).
The Incredible Hulk is both ugly and as anti-authority as it gets, but isn’t a particular favourite of this writer either. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby made him big, ugly, grey (before the printing presses of the time turned him green) and confused but, despite their best attempts, the franchise never became the postmodern retelling of the Frankenstein monster story that its creators wanted it to be.
This edition of CF is about a character who is ugly but follows the rules; he is big, red, sports a tail and two sawn-off horns, and goes by the name of Anung Un Rama.
And because that is a mouthful, we will refer to him simply as...HELLBOY (drum roll, please).
Hellboy is a demon, brought to earth as a young boy by mad monk Rasputin who, it turns out, is working for the Nazis. He is rescued by the Allies, and eventually goes to work for the US’ Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD), where, as its name indicates, he investigates paranormal phenomenon and fights some very evil monsters and demons. Hellboy also has an oversized right hand that would appear to be made from red stone (it is called the Right Hand of Doom and is apparently the key to D-day).
Hellboy was created by Mike Mignola, who both writes and illustrates the comics; he has a unique style, with a penchant for strong primary colours (well, the protagonistis red).
Most readers are probably familiar with the movie version of the comics, which was good simply because it did not try to be anything more than what it was—a good special effects filled B-movie. A sequel is in the works, and two animated for-DVD-only releases are out.
Mignola’s terse writing style and austere illustrations have transformed the Hellboy franchise into a minor cult classic, and Dark Horse, the publisher, has retained the character despite getting out of publishing original comic books (the company has discovered that there’s more money to be made in licensing).
Write to cultfiction@livemint.com
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First Published: Sat, Apr 05 2008. 12 38 AM IST