The creator of Hellboy has just given us a long-lost peek at the character's history. Creator and artist Mike Mignola revealed the first-ever image of the world's greatest paranormal detective (real name Anung-un-rama) on Twitter today, and it provides an interesting glimpse at what the sharp-tongued BPRD member may have looked like in his earliest days.
This original drawing was done by Mignola at a comic book convention in 1993, and it's fair to say that it is a bit different from the character we all know and love today. Aside from the horn stubs on his head and the name "Hellboy" on his belt, there is little further connection. Mignola had no intention of going any further with the character when he drew this, but the name "Hellboy" stuck with him, and he went on to create the character that bears that name when he became interested in a "creator-owned character." Hellboy would hit Dark Horse comics in 1994, with a collection of issues that are now grouped in a volume called Seed of Destruction.
Gone were the wings, the perched vulture, and the second set of horns. The chained and torturous-looking weapon was replaced with a giant revolver, and instead of armor, Hellboy began wearing his trademark trench coat. His utility belt was still a feature, but it no longer came emblazoned with his name on it. A fish was no longer strapped to it either, though that is perhaps the only unfortunate part.
Hellboy really hit the mainstream with Guillermo del Toro's first film based on him in 2004, with a follow-up film in 2008. Though del Toro never got to finish what he began (with a much-hoped-for third installment), the character is currently undergoing a reboot, with Stranger Things' David Harbour donning the horns in place of the previous star, Ron Perlman.
There is no word yet as to whether David Harbour's version of Hellboy will have a fish on his belt or a vulture on his shoulder, but nevertheless it's interesting to look at Mignola's early conception and see just how far things have come.