As a metalhead raised on a steady diet of Number of the Beast, How the Gods Kill and South of Heaven, routinely accused by my peers of Satan worship, predisposed to favor the darker corners of popular culture, I really should have discovered the wonders of Hellboy sooner; I didn’t become a fan until the release of 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and for all my tireless love of that film, I have yet to pursue Mike Mignola’s Hellboy comics, nor the Hellboy prose novels I asked Poe about in response to his considerably more thorough Hellboy-themed Show and Tell from July 2009.
But I do own a Hellboy toy, and I like to think we can all agree: that’s what really matters.
Whereas Poe favors the six-inch scale, my toy hobby revolves around the roughly four-inch scale of Hasbro’s modern G.I. Joe action figures; I will mostly only buy a larger toy if it can serve as a convincing monster in a photo of a G.I. Joe toy. Naturally, I was thrilled when Mezco produced Hellboy figures that can plausibly coexist alongside my Joes.
I opted for the Hellboy/Golden Soldier two-pack, not because I wanted a Golden Soldier figure (it looks swell, though its articulation is limited, but really, one Golden Soldier is like one Foot Clan ninja: kinda useless), but because the two-pack offers the definitive look for Hellboy: shirtless, wearing a trench coat, his face stern but not distractingly expressive; the variant with the cigar molded in Hellboy’s mouth would be a cool alternate pack-in portrait, but I would find him rather limiting for photos if the cigar-in-mouth look was the only option.
I wish Hellboy’s Red Right Hand offered more in the way of posability; there’s effectively no elbow articulation on the right arm (it has a swivel, but it adds very little in the way of options); the Hand itself is sculpted in a permanent fist pose. But this is the only criticism I can offer; Hellboy is one of my favorite toys. His sculpt is magnificent, his legs boast a staggering level of articulation, and his paints apps are flawless.
We’ve all learned to take for granted how magnificently Guillermo del Toro’s creative staff adapted Mignola’s distinctive, stylized design for live-action, but I for one will never take a Mezco Hellboy toy for granted. I suspect this action figure will be a favorite muse of mine for a long time.