Is Hellboy DC or Marvel? It’s Not That Simple…

When he debuted in 1993, Hellboy almost instantly became a hit with the fans and his legacy is certainly admirable, especially when you consider that he has been around for a much shorter period of time than some pillars of modern American comic books. Hellboy is a phenomenon, that much is certain, and we certainly love talking about him, which is why I have decided to dedicate today’s article to him. If you want to read more about Hellboy, keep reading our article. 

Hellboy is a character belonging to Dark Horse Comics, which means that he is neither a part of DC Comics nor Marvel Comics. He has, though, crossed over with DC’s characters more often and was even initially offered to DC. 

In today’s article, I am going to tell you everything you need to know about Hellboy’s appearances in the major comic book fictional universes. You’re going to find out whether Hellboy has any links to DC Comics, Marvel and a little about the origins of the fictional universe created by his publishers. It’s going to be an informative article, so let’s get started.

Is Hellboy from DC Comics’ or Marvel’s fictional universe?

As we’ve already established, Hellboy debuted in 1993 and was created by Mike Mignola. He has become an exceptionally famous and popular character, so much that he 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 kind of popularity is usually associated with DC’s or Marvel’s characters, so one cannot but ask oneself – who owns the rights to Hellboy, DC or Marvel? Neither! Let’s see why that is. 

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Hellboy’s history starts with Mike Mignola drawing up a basic concept for the comic book and pitching it to DC Comics. And while DC’s board of directors loved the character and the general idea, they did not want the story to be connected to Hell in any way, something which Mignola couldn’t really accept so he left. He did not go to Marvel next but opted for Dark Horse Comics instead. 

Dark Horse Comics accepted his pitch and the rest is history. I am going to talk about Dark Horse Comics in the next section of this article. 

Now, all these facts reveal that Hellboy doesn’t belong to DC Comics or Marvel; he is a Dark Horse Comics character and is, thus, a part of their fictional universe, although he has crossed over with other universes, as you are going to see a bit later. 

Is Dark Horse Comics part of DC Comics?

Like Image Comics and unlike Vertigo Comics, Dark Horse Comics has never been a part of either DC Comics or Marvel. 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, although still behind both DC Comics and Marvel, as well as Image Comics, which comes in third place, behind the two giants. 

Although certainly not as famous and as popular as the two American comic book giants, Dark Horse Comics has published several important and popular comic book titles during the years. Their assets include HellboyThe AmericanThe MaskBoris the Bear, as well as comic book adaptations of famous franchises such as AlienConanBuffy the Vampire Slayer, and Star Wars. 

Credit Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse Comics probably won’t ever dominate the comic book market in the United States, but they have enough interesting and important assets to survive in that competitive environment without losing their fans and their revenue. 

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This revealed to you that Dark Horse Comics has never been a part of any major publishing house and that is a publisher in its own right, present in the market despite not being as popular as the three larger) players. 

Did Hellboy appear in Marvel or DC Comics?

Now, despite being an asset owned by Dark Horse Comics, Hellboy is a character known for his intercompany crossovers, but also crossovers in general, as he has crossed over with other literary universes, most notably the one created by H.P. Lovecraft and his followers, as Lovecraftian horror is a prominent stylistic element in Hellboy stories. 

Knowing this fact, one might assume that Hellboy has often crossed over with the major players, but that wasn’t really the case. In this section, I am going to explore Hellboy’s crossovers with the major players – DC Comics and Marvel. 

Credit Dark Horse and or DC Comics!

As far as Marvel is concerned, Hellboy has never crossed over with its characters, nor has he appeared in the Marvel Universe. This isn’t really a shock, as Marvel doesn’t really support such dark and gritty stories, which would make Hellboy stand out in a very unnatural manner and there is really no need for Marvel to create such storylines, as it would go against their general editorial policies. 

As far as DC Comics is concerned, I have already told you that DC loved the idea of the character, but not the setting. This would make DC more likely to have a crossover with Hellboy and that has, indeed, happened on one occasion in the comic books. 

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The comic book in question was, simply, titled Batman/Hellboy/Starman and was published in 1999, containing just two issues. In the first issue, Hellboy and Batman team up to save Starman from a group of neo-Nazis, while in the second, Hellboy and Starman work together to defeat the demon Suggor Yogeroth, a very Lovecraftian-type of character. 

These two stories were written by James Robinson and illustrated by Mike Mignola, and remain the only story where Hellboy entered DC’s universe. It makes much more sense for DC to use Hellboy in their stories, as they have a history of darker and grittier stories, which gives them a better position than Marvel in this case. 

Hellboy has also appeared in the DC Comics-based video game, Injustice 2, where he is a playable character.