Creator appears in Manhattan Beach as Hellboy dies

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola with David Kwock of Long Beach, who had arrived five hours early for an autograph. Photo by Robb Fulcher

Hellboy, the troubled hero of comic book and movie fame, was killed in an epic battle last Wednesday while his creator, Mike Mignola of Manhattan Beach, was calmly signing his work at the Comic Bug store.

The large-fisted, horned and tailed Hellboy died when his heart was pulled from his chest in a battle of supernatural forces, with implications for the world as we know it. He was 66.

His death was chronicled in Mignola’s comic book “Hellboy, The Fury #3” which was being read by fans worldwide while Mignola hobnobbed with the faithful inside the store on Manhattan Beach Boulevard.

Among his admirers was David Kwock, who had arrived from Long Beach five hours early to be first in line for the signing.

Ryan Torstvet, 26, of Anaheim shows his Hellboy tattoo. Photo by Robb Fulcher

Another fan, Ryan Torstvet, 26, had come from Anaheim in a Dr. Who T-shirt, a derby hat and a big red tattoo of Hellboy on his right bicep. Torstvet was not mourning the comic hero as he awaited Mignola’s arrival.

“I’m very excited for the next installment,” he said, referring to a message on the inside back cover of “Fury #3” which promises a 2012 series featuring “Hellboy in Hell.”

Hellboy’s death, which had been more than hinted at by Mignola in the past, “was a given,” Torstvet said.

Meanwhile, Torstvet’s wife was back in Anaheim, picking up the couple’s weekly books from their regular store, Beach Ball Comics. Torstvet reads everything Hellboy, including the many spin-off series that have featured related characters and the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, an agency for which Hellboy once worked.

As Torstvet spoke, four young male nerds sat at a folding table arguing the rules of the HeroClix collectible miniatures game. A broad, flat video screen was showing the 1926 Italian devil-fighting silent film “Maciste in Hell,” as a man-sized Darth Vader standee looked on.

Hellboy, a man-shaped creature, appeared in an island off the coast of Scotland in 1944, summoned as “the beast of the apocalypse” by power-mad Nazis and a resuscitated Rasputin. Hellboy was rescued as a baby by the forces of Catholicism and Democracy, and pressed into supernatural warfare against evil.

His death concluded an epic comic book story arc that began in 2007.

The storyline concluded over the three issues of “Fury,” which were soaked in Norse and Celtic mythology and Arthurian legend. At the time of Hellboy’s death, he had been cast in the role of Norse god Thor in a Mignola-ized version of the apocalyptic battle Ragnarok.

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