Adapting 'Hellboy'

Ron Perlman as Hellboy. See more superhero pictures.
Photo courtesy HB-042 = Egon Endrenyi © 2004 Revolution Studios Distribution Company, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

With the success of films like Spider-Man and X-Men, Hollywood is turning to the shelves of comic-book stores to find the next blockbuster. Nestled on the shelves is the dark and edgy Dark Horse Comic "Hellboy."

Sony Pictures, Revolution Studios and director Guillermo del Toro (Blade II, Devil's Backbone) have taken on the project of bringing "Hellboy" to the screen.

"Hellboy" is the creation of cult hero and comic-book illustrator/writer Mike Mignola. Mignola also serves as a visual consultant on the film.

As with any adaptation, the challenge lies in converting one type of storytelling into another. One of the rules in film storytelling is: Show, don't tell. This can be quite a challenge when adapting the story of a book or graphic novel into a film.

The compelling and complex story of Hellboy unfolded for almost 10 years in the pages of a Dark Horse Comic. When del Toro set out to bring this red behemoth to the screen, he had to figure out how to condense 10 years of story into a commercial, feature-length film. Add to that the burden of casting the right actors to portray the comic's unique collection of characters and the challenge of transferring the distinct look of "Hellboy" to film.

Pages from the Dark Horse Comic "Hellboy" Pages from the Dark Horse Comic "Hellboy"
Pages from the Dark Horse Comic "Hellboy"
Image courtesy Dark Horse Comics

In this article, HowStuffWorks learns from del Toro, Mignola and other filmmakers on the project about the process of adapting a comic book into a motion picture.