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Lobster Johnson (also known as The Lobster or The Claw) is a fictional character featured in the Hellboy and Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense comic books published by Dark Horse Comics. He was created by Peter C. Nguyen.

The Lobster
The Lobster
Publication information
PublisherDark Horse Comics
First appearanceHellboy: Box of Evil #1 (August 1999)
Created byPeter C. Nguyen
In-story information
Notable aliasesThe Claw

Within the Hellboy universe, the Lobster was a vigilante who worked in secret in New York City during the 1930s. Although the public believes that the Lobster was only the hero of pulp serials and comics, he was a real man who faced gangsters as well as paranormal threats. The Lobster had a reputation for violence, such as killing mobsters and burning his trademark lobster claw symbol into their foreheads with the palm of his gloved hand. This behavior was similar to the Marvel UK comic book character Night Raven, the Phantom and the pulp magazine hero The Spider.

Lobster Johnson appeared in the 2019 Hellboy reboot, portrayed by Thomas Haden Church.

Fictional biography

Life and death

The Lobster started his career in 1932, working with a small but trusted group of allies out of a secret base in the sewers of New York City. Together they fought against gangsters, spies, and the like.[1] In 1937 the gang came up against one of their most imposing enemies to date - the inscrutable and immeasurably powerful Memnan Saa, during the case of the Iron Prometheus.[2] Though the Lobster and his allies escaped the confrontation with their lives, tragedy dogged them thereafter as they continued to research his crimes and history. One by one, the Lobster's allies met various gruesome and mysterious ends, until the Lobster called off the search. The deaths seemed to weigh heavy on his conscience - always a quiet man, he became increasingly cold and taciturn. Not long after this, he accepted an offer of employment from the United States Government, a chance to lay some ghosts to rest.[3]

Aided by a new sidekick, the Lobster spent the late 1930s combating the Nazi threat to the United States. One of his unsuccessful missions involved the escape of a Nazi criminal in Colorado who destroyed a train full of scientists bound for the Manhattan Project, resulting in the death of his sidekick.[4]

The Lobster's final mission was an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the Nazis from launching a space capsule at Hunte Castle, Austria, on 20 March 1939. Arriving seconds too late to stop the launch itself, he managed to force the roof of Hunte Castle closed, but the capsule burst through regardless. The subsequent explosion and fire completely gutted the castle. Besides Nazi scientist Herman von Klempt and one German soldier, there were no survivors, including the Lobster himself.[5]


According to B.P.R.D. Director Tom Manning (in The Conqueror Worm), Lobster Johnson was a fictional character created in the pulp magazines and made briefly popular in a couple of movies such as The Phantom Jungle (Republic, 1945), in which he was portrayed by Vic Williams.[6] In the backup materials of The Iron Prometheus, we learn of his appearances in pulp magazines, comic books, movie serials, and masked Mexican wrestling movies. It is revealed that the character is properly called "The Lobster". "Johnson" was the last name of his alter ego, crippled millionaire Walter Johnson, created by the author of the pulp stories. It was the masked Mexican wrestling movies that combined the names as "Lobster Johnson".

"Latchkey Memories from Crab Point" is a memoir by Guy Davis, presented in the back matter to the B.P.R.D.: The Black Goddess trade paperback, in which he recounts childhood memories of seeing "the cut-up and dubbed version of the Mexican Lobster Johnson films!" presented on children's after-school television as a black-and-white serial called The Masked Claw. [7]


Death was not the end for the Lobster. The Lobster's ghost was one of the strongest yet seen in the Hellboy universe. He was completely corporeal when he chose to be, firing his pistol with deadly effect and burning his sign into the forehead of his victims. It would appear that the Lobster's death greatly increased his powers, as opposed to the Ghost of Rasputin, who was rendered almost immaterial by his death at Abe Sapien's hands.

In 2001, Hellboy (a lifelong Lobster fan) and Roger the homunculus encountered his ghost in the haunted ruins of Hunte Castle, beginning a long association between the Lobster and the BPRD, and with Roger and Johann Kraus in particular. The Lobster was instrumental in helping them defeat Rasputin, the Conqueror Worm and Hermann von Klempt, completing in death the mission he had failed to do in life.[8]

Having seemingly formed some bond with Roger during the mission, it was to the homunculus that he next appeared, when in 2003 he helped Roger and Liz Sherman resolve another of his failed missions - bringing to justice the elderly German saboteur in Colorado.[4] The Lobster was quiet for some time after this, although his ghostly presence was half-felt by Johann several times in the basement of the BPRD's new WWII-era base in the Colorado mountains.[9]

It was not until his old adversary Memnan Saa began to make his presence felt to the BPRD during the war against Sadu Hem's frog monsters that he returned in earnest; briefly taking possession of Johann's ectoplasm in the wake of Ben Daimio's disastrous end of relations with the team to break the hold Saa had gained over Liz.[10] With something of his past association with Saa thus revealed, the team held a séance not long afterwards in which his spirit gave them their first clues in the search for Saa, using the information he had uncovered decades before in his investigations.[11] When the BPRD finally traced Saa to his base somewhere on the Stanovoy Ridge, the Lobster again took possession of Johann's form in the closing moments of the denouement in an attempt to defeat his old nemesis.[3] With all his business on earth thus concluded, Kate took him back to Hunte Castle in Austria, where he relinquished his hold on Johann's ectoplasm and rejoined the ghostly throng inhabiting the castle - having found his own sort of peace in an afterlife where he could continue his battle against Nazis and the forces of evil forever after.[12]

Skills and abilities

The Lobster was an expert combatant. He usually wielded either one or two pistols, but he had used a submachine gun on at least one occasion. He showed skill with both weapons. The Lobster had also occasionally used other weapons such as swords, spears, or even the leg of a broken chair. He was also shown to be a proficient unarmed fighter.

The Lobster somehow remained alive after explosions and possibly being hit by gunfire in Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #2. There has not yet been any explanation of the Lobster's powers, however.

In the stories set in the 1930s, the Lobster possessed technology that was advanced for its time. He had used a bulletproof vest on at least one occasion, and he also used a radio that was small enough to be built into his helmet. It is not shown in the comics who invented these.

Publication history


Lobster Johnson has an internal numbering on the inside cover of its issues.

Issue Title Date Story Art Colors Cover Collection
#1 The Iron Prometheus September 5, 2007 Mike Mignola Jason Armstrong Dave Stewart Mike Mignola
  • Lobster Johnson – Volume 1:
    The Iron Prometheus
#2 October 3, 2007
#3 November 7, 2007
#4 December 5, 2007
#5 January 2, 2008
#6 The Burning Hand January 11, 2012 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Tonci Zonjic Dave Stewart Dave Johnson
Mike Mignola (variant)
  • Lobster Johnson – Volume 2:
    The Burning Hand
#7 February 8, 2012 Dave Johnson
#8 March 14, 2012
#9 April 11, 2012 Dave Johnson
Mike Mignola (variant)
#10 May 9, 2012 Dave Johnson
#11 The Prayer of Neferu August 22, 2012 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Wilfredo Torres Dave Stewart Tonci Zonjic
  • Lobster Johnson – Volume 3:
    Satan Smells a Rat
#12 Caput Mortuum September 19, 2012 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Tonci Zonjic Dave Stewart Tonci Zonjic
#13 Satan Smells a Rat May 22, 2013 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Kevin Nowlan
#14 A Scent of Lotus July 24, 2013 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Sebastián Fiumara Dave Stewart Tonci Zonjic
#15 August 21, 2013
#16 Get the Lobster February 5, 2014 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Tonci Zonjic Dave Stewart Tonci Zonjic
  • Lobster Johnson – Volume 4:
    Get the Lobster
#17 March 5, 2014
#18 April 2, 2014
#19 June 4, 2014
#20 August 13, 2014
#21 A Chain Forged In Life July 29, 2015 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Troy Nixey Dave Stewart Tonci Zonjic
  • Lobster Johnson – Volume 6:
    A Chain Forged in Life
Kevin Nowlan (framing sequence)
#22 The Glass Mantis December 30, 2015 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Toni Fejzula Dave Stewart Tonci Zonjic
#23 The Forgotten Man April 6, 2016 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Peter Snejbjerg Dave Stewart Tonci Zonjic
#24 Metal Monsters of Midtown May 25, 2016 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Tonci Zonjic Dave Stewart Tonci Zonjic
  • Lobster Johnson – Volume 5:
    The Pirate's Ghost and Metal Monsters of Midtown
#25 June 29, 2016
#26 July 27, 2016
#27 Garden of Bones January 11, 2017 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Stephen Green Dave Stewart Tonci Zonjic
  • Lobster Johnson – Volume 6:
    A Chain Forged in Life
#28 The Pirate's Ghost March 29, 2017 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Tonci Zonjic
  • Lobster Johnson – Volume 5:
    The Pirate's Ghost and Metal Monsters of Midtown
#29 April 26, 2017
#30 May 31, 2017
#31 Mangekyō August 2, 2017 Mike Mignola
and John Arcudi
Ben Stenbeck Dave Stewart Tonci Zonjic
  • Lobster Johnson – Volume 6:
    A Chain Forged in Life

Trade Paperbacks

Number Title Collects Published ISBN
1 Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus
  • The Iron Prometheus
    (5-issue miniseries)
June 18, 2008 9781593079758
2 Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand
  • The Burning Hand
    (5-issue miniseries)
November 14, 2012 9781616550318
3 Lobster Johnson: Satan Smells a Rat
  • Caput Mortuum
    (one shot)
  • Satan Smells a Rat
    (one shot)
  • Tony Masso’s Finest Hour
    (short story)
  • A Scent of Lotus
    (2-issue miniseries)
  • The Prayer of Neferu
    (one shot)
February 12, 2014 9781616552039
4 Lobster Johnson: Get the Lobster
  • Get the Lobster
    (5-issue miniseries)
December 17, 2014 9781616551995
5 Lobster Johnson: The Pirate's Ghost and Metal Monsters of Midtown
  • Metal Monsters of Midtown
    (3-issue miniseries)
  • The Pirate's Ghost
    (3-issue miniseries)
December 13, 2017 9781506702063
6 Lobster Johnson: A Chain Forged in Life
  • A Chain Forged In Life
    (one shot)
  • The Glass Mantis
    (one shot)
  • The Forgotten Man
    (one shot)
  • Garden of Bones
    (one shot)
  • Mangekyō
    (one shot)
March 7, 2018 9781506701783

Appearances outside the Lobster Johnson series

Other media


Hellboy: Blood and Iron (2007)

Lobster Johnson has a brief cameo in the second animated Hellboy film, Blood and Iron appearing during a flashback scene showing Hellboy's birth and Malcolm Frost's reaction to the creature.[13] After the credits, there is a teaser for the unproduced third film The Phantom Claw, where he would have helped Hellboy and Kate Corrigan in battling the ghost of Rasputin.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) and Hellboy III

Guillermo del Toro planned to feature Johnson in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, but was cut due to Mike Mignola's wish to remain true to the character's origin. Del Toro has stated that Johnson would have appeared in the unproduced Hellboy III and expressed interest in casting Bruce Campbell in the role.[14]

Thomas Haden Church as Lobster Johnson in Hellboy (2019)
Thomas Haden Church as Lobster Johnson in Hellboy (2019)

Hellboy (2019)

Johnson was featured in Hellboy (2019), portrayed by Thomas Haden Church in a flashback and mid-credits scene.[15]



  1. Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand
  2. Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus
  3. BPRD: The Black Goddess
  4. BPRD: Night Train
  5. Hellboy: Conqueror Worm
  6. Mignola, Mike (2002). Hellboy: Conqueror Worm. Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 9781593070946.
  7. Lobster Johnson at the Internet Movie Database
  8. Hellboy: Conqueror Worm
  9. BPRD: Garden of Souls
  10. BPRD: Killing Ground
  11. BPRD: The Warning
  12. BPRD: King of Fear
  13. "Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron". IGN. Retrieved 2010-11-15.
  14. Hellboy Animated: The Phantom Claw
  15. C., Jake (November 4, 2018). "Thomas Haden Church Cast As Lobster Johnson In 'Hellboy'". Discussing Film. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  16. Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Hellboy Animated Magnet: Lobster Johnson
  17. Sniegoski, Thomas E.; Manchess, Gregory (July 21, 2009). Lobster Johnson: The Satan Factory on Amazon. ISBN 978-1595822031.
  18. Gilyadov, Alex (August 23, 2017). "Raiden and Hellboy Heading to Injustice 2". IGN. Retrieved August 26, 2017.

На других языках

- [en] Lobster Johnson

[it] Lobster Johnson

Lobster Johnson è uno dei personaggi del fumetto Hellboy, creato dall'artista statunitense Mike Mignola, è un violento vigilante, cacciatore di nazisti e l'eroe preferito di Hellboy.

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