PHILADELPHIA - It has been two decades since Mike Mignola created a horned, red-hued devilish beast with a penchant for cigars and a big gun.

Since that first appearance in Dark Horse Com-ics' "San Diego Comic-Con Comics" No. 2, his creation has become a top-seller for the publisher, been transformed into animation and spawned a pair of films starring Ron Perlman as Hellboy.

Mignola thinks the character's appeal is that he talks like an everyman and that even though the stories are replete with monsters and more, it's not a classic super-hero style.

To mark the anniversary, Dark Horse will hold an international celebration March 22 of the character with signings and appearances by artists and others.

Associated Press