It’s ‘H-E-Double Hockey Sticks Boy’
With a name made of a swear word, you gotta be cool
Okay, this is a family comic-book column, right?
And being a conscientious columnist I can’t go tossing swear words into the paper, can I?
So, I’ll try to do this as delicately as I can.
There’s this movie that came out this weekend. It’s based on a comic book, so that means I just gotta write about it.
But I don’t wanna swear. This is the “post-Janet Jackson” era. We folks in the media have got to be careful.
The problem is there’s a swear word in the aforementioned comic book’s title.
It isn’t real bad mind you, but all those folks going to see “The Passion of the Christ” aren’t going to be happy.
The movie I’m talking about is “Heckboy,” but it’s not really “Heckboy.” It’s “H-E-Double Hockey Sticks Boy.”
So instead of either of those names, let’s just call the comic character and movie something else, something nice. How about we just call him “PuppyBoy.” That’s nice, isn’t it? Who could hate a fellow named PuppyBoy?
For all you comic-book purists, just replace the word “Puppy” with that other word, and we’ll all be happy.
Who is … PuppyBoy?: According to the comics, which may deviate from the movie starring Ron Perlman, PuppyBoy was summoned to Earth in the 1940s as the Nazi regime was collapsing. The Third Reich hoped that this creature — a red-skinned beast with one over-sized, rock-like hand — could help them overcome the allied forces.
The Nazi plan didn’t work out. Come to think of it, do Nazi schemes ever work? There must be some unwritten law for adventure writers that says that Nazis can never win at anything — desperate bids to clone their leader, races to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant, games of kickball against third-graders. Nope, they just can’t win.
Anyway, the creature, then just a child, ended up falling into ally hands. One of the G.I.’s dubbed the beast PuppyBoy, and he went into custody of the U.S. government.
Flash forward several decades and PuppyBoy is still working with the U.S. government as part of the fancy-named “Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense.”
The bureau’s mission? To ferret out things that go bump in the night.
Why the feds are so concerned about that kind of stuff is another mystery. Shouldn’t they just leave that to Indiana Jones?
The powers of PuppyBoy: Trying to determine anything else about PuppyBoy is a little difficult. Through most of the PuppyBoy comics, he doesn’t really display any spectacular powers other than that he’s pretty strong — but not superstrong. Then again, if you watch the trailers to the movie, there’s PuppyBoy, knocking cars around like they were in a pinball machine.
PuppyBoy also seems to be pretty tough, but he doesn’t just stand around to be shot at like Superman does, so it’s kind of hard to tell.
But hidden in one PuppyBoy comic might be a clue as to what he can do.
In “PuppyBoy: Box Full of Evil,” one creature, who claimed to be a cousin of PuppyBoy’s, said that PuppyBoy was actually the engine of destruction that would bring about the end of the world.
Now from that description, I’d bet he has some sort of supernatural powers, but gosh darn it, you’ll never find out in that story. Bad dog!
So why has PuppyBoy got a big hand that looks like it’s made out of marble? Beats me.
In one PuppyBoy limited series, “Seeds of Destruction” Rasputin, yes, the one from Russia, tells PuppyBoy that it’s the key to Rasputin’s sinister plans. But just like “Box Full of Evil” we never find out.
A puppy’s best friends: PuppyBoy’s work at the Bureau has created an interesting circle of friends. Sure, there’s probably regular old FBI-type agents, but it being a comic book, PuppyBoy doesn’t hang around with mutts like that.
Instead, he’s buddies with carbon copies of the Creature From the Black Lagoon and the Firestarter.
The Creature-type fellow is a blue-skinned fellow named Abe Sapien. He’s a calm, almost aristocratic, monster with the ability to breathe underwater. In the movie, he’s voiced by “Frasier” star David Hyde Pierce.
PuppyBoy’s other pal is the firebug, Elizabeth Sherman, a lady who never needs a lighter because she can summon fire out of thin air. As played by Selma Blair, she wields a blue flame, somewhat akin to lighted propane, which really helps out at barbeques.
And they called it puppy love: The best thing about the PuppyBoy character is the kinds of situations he comes up against in his comics.
In one story, “The Corpse,” which you can get for just 25-cents at local comic-book stores, he battles a pesky baby-impersonating imp.
Nearly all of PuppyBoy’s stories have P.B. confronting a modern version of a fairy tale, legend or notorious individual from the past.
But most of all, there’s something about PuppyBoy. He’s got a certain aura about him.
For him, giant goat demons, people turning into freakishly huge frogs, heat-powered homunculi and the reappearance of long-dead Russian monks is just an average day at work.
Instead of freaking out when a vampire shows up, PuppyBoy just reaches into his pocket, pulls out a wooden stake and sinks it straight into the fiend’s heart. Just like the guy who makes change for you at the gas station, it’s something he does every day.
HellBoy — er, PuppyBoy — is just that cool.
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