10 Amazing Hellboy Spin-Offs Mignola Fans Must Read

The vigilantes, aliens, witch-hunters and mechanical warriors from the pages of Hellboy.

Abe Sapien Comic
Dark Horse Comics

Most superhero or comic book fans are likely familiar with Hellboy. The grouchy red demon who fills his time before unleashing the Apocalypse by acting as the World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator has become an icon for Dark Horse Comics and the star of a pair of beloved cult movies (and one that we don't really talk about).

People may be less familiar, though, with the rich, bizarre world that creator Mike Mignola has built up around his monster-punching, cigar-chomping hero.

Since Hellboy's debut in a four-page black and white comic back in 1993, he has saved the world countless times - and died, gone to Hell, and returned to bring about Ragnarok. That climax to the Devil You Know arc in 2019 may have promised to be the endpoint of Hellboy's own story, but it certainly isn't the final word in the ever-widening world of gods and monsters that surround him.

Over those three decades, the Mignolaverse has spawned at least a dozen further titles under the "From the pages of Hellboy" label. Here you can find a whole array of weird and wonderful spin-off heroes battling anything from Nazis to giant eels to unimaginable terrors from beyond our dimension.

What was once the story of a single beast-battling demon now stretches to a cast of hundreds across a couple of centuries of storylines.

But where to begin with the weird and wonderful wider world of Hellboy? These classic spin-off stories would make a good starting point.

10. Sledgehammer 44

Abe Sapien Comic
Dark Horse Comics

Despite his wartime origins and plethora of Nazi villains, there are actually very few stories from Hellboy's universe set amidst the cauldron of Second World War conflict.

The one exception, however, is the short run of the Hellboy universe's version of Iron Man: a mechanical armoured suit powered by an arcane mystical energy source and possessed by the soul of a dead GI.

Sledgehammer 44 was actually a spin-off of a spin-off. The original Lobster Johnson solo comic, The Iron Prometheus, had introduced the prototype Vril Energy Suit. This iron armour harnessed the ancient power of Vril, the Sacred Fire which once powered the ancient Hyperborean civilisation.

Vril, an invention of Victorian hollow earth sci-fi novel The Coming Race and therefore a concept long predating Mignola, was also the inspiration for the name of Bovril, salty meat paste fact fans!.

In Sledgehammer 44 the VES is revived in 1944 as Project Epimetheus (AKA "Sledgehammer") and dropped into conflict in post-D-Day France.

There have only been two Sledgehammer 44 stories, both gathered together in a single trade paperback, so it's a quick, action-packed read. The second - Lightning War - pitches the possessed energy suit against fiery-skulled Nazi supervillain the Black Flame (a regular character across all the spin-offs) for a lightning filled battle atop an experimental aircraft. It's for anyone after a combat comic filtered through the Hellboy lens.

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