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December 3, 2017

Character Spotlight: Abe Sapien

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Written by: Dr. Bustos
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Found in a tube, his past forgotten to him, oh, and he’s a fish man. That’s what Abe Sapien awoke to, even his name is just a collection of words found along with him. So who is Abe Sapien and where did he come from? Let’s find out!

Langdon Everett Caul was a man with infinite curiosity, he’d spend his life dedicated to science and the occult to learn more about the origins of humanity. He’d marry Edith Howard and the two were happy together but Langdon still spent his nights seeking truth, he’d even join a secret society, the Oannes Society. Named from a Babylonian god and believing that humanity originated from the oceans, The Oannes Society would have a major breakthrough in finding a bizarre jellyfish creature unlike any seen before. Langdon would lead members in a magic ritual to uncover the secrets of the creature. Sadly, during the ritual, Langdon would see some sort of fish-like demon creature floating above himself and with that disruption, the jellyfish would get away and Langdon would begin to transform. His colleagues were terrified and did their best to save him, he was turning into some sort of fish man. They put him into a tank of water and labeled it with what they assumed he was and the day this had happened “Icthyo¬† Sapien April 14th, 1865” and hoped to return to him when the country was in less of a hectic situation.

A little over a century passed before the Bureau for Paranormal Research & Defense would find the remains of the room this tank had been placed in. They found a fish man in stasis and upon reading label on it, named him Abraham Sapien, his first name coming from the date which was when Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated. Abe would awake to being poked and prodded by scientists trying to understand who and what he was. Field agent, Hellboy, a demon who worked as a paranormal investigator for the BPRD demanded they leave Abe alone. Unable to remember anything of his own past and having to remember how to speak and move once more, Abe would become good friends with Hellboy and begin as a part-time field agent to aide him in his missions. He’d also develop a sibling bond with pyrokinetic, Liz Sherman, often going on missions with Liz and Hellboy, forming a family and happiness for a time.

In the 1990s, a lot of new events occurred that seem to be the beginning of the end of all things, but it wouldn’t be noticeable until much later. Abe would be possessed by a contemporary of Langdon Caul and stab a spear through Rasputin, the Mad Monk, who was responsible for the death of BPRD founder, Trevor Bruttenholm. On a later mission, Abe would be visited by the ghost of Rasputin, telling him that Abe would be killed by a spear as well as vengeance.

History would repeat itself when a new creature entered the BPRD, a homunculus named Roger was found and being experimented on until Abe stepped in and was able to give him a new power source and stop the scientists from experimenting on him, just as Hellboy had once done for him. Roger and Abe would become good friends and go on many missions together.

At the start of the new millennium, Liz would leave the BPRD for a monastery to better control her powers. Hellboy would leave soon after, disgusted with learning the BPRD had implanted a bomb in Roger in case he’d ever lose control of himself. Abe and Roger debated leaving as well but realized that the BPRD was the only place that accepted them and the only life they knew. Abe would come to Liz’s rescue from bizarre creatures, this would help bring moral back to the BPRD as Abe and Liz’s friendship was infectious to others.

During a mission in 2004, Abe would be stabbed to death by a spear, just as the ghostly Rasputin had predicted. Unexpected was that Abe found himself experiencing not only an out of body experience, but a time traveling episode as he’d travel far back in time to witness Langdon Everett Caul performing the magic ritual that would¬† then have Abe possess Langdon and transform him into an icthyo sapien. Knowing this was his origin didn’t grant him any lost memories when he awoke in the present, just who he had to research to learn more about his former life.

Working with field director Kate Corrigan, Abe would look into the life of Caul to try and better understand where he came from. Traveling to Long Island, he’d discover that soon after Langdon had gone missing, his wife Edith would commit suicide. Her ghost now haunted their dilapidated old home. Able to manifest an illusion of their former life together, Abe saw what it was like to be Langdon and to live and love Edith. They would both realize that this time was sadly over and with Abe’s help, Edith was able to move on and peacefully be exorcised. This did give Abe a bit of a personality crisis as he began to dress more and more in clothing that was fitting to Langdon than Abe was used to wearing.

Returning to the BPRD but more distant than ever, he’d keep his experience in Long Island a secret from everyone, including Kate and the new team leader Ben Daimo. This was made all the worse when Roger would die on a mission and Abe nearly died trying to avenge him. As time went on Daimo would become good friends with Abe and the two would work together often. One such mission had them fighting an Egyptian mummy and the current incarnation of the Oannes Society, who was attempting to save what they could of humanity from the coming apocalypse by killing millions and housing their souls in artificial bodies.

Upheaval would occur again when Daimo’s long under control werejaguar side roared out of control and killed several agents including the new body of field agent/former ghost, Johann Kraus. Abe would lead a team after Daimo, seeking to find his old friend, though Abe wasn’t quite sure if it was to bring him in or put him out of his misery. Things would get further complicated as a new threat calling itself the Black Fire had made itself known, having been behind the raising threat of frog creatures who had been become a more frequent danger since the 1990s. This would become even more alarming as it would eventually tell Abe that he was the first of the new stage in human evolution if it hoped to survive the coming apocalypse. Thanks to Liz, the Black Flame would be put out once and for all but the devastation the frog creatures had done would be felt for years to come.

Abe would eventually find his friend Daimo, he’d keep it a secret from the BPRD, and find that Daimo did not wish to return and had found peace and control out in the wild. It would be discovered that Abe was hiding something and drive a wedge between himself and the BPRD, including his friends and colleagues. While on a mission, Abe would be shot and enter a coma for several months where he’d begin to further transform, becoming larger and lankier while losing his nose. When he’d awaken, he’d leave the BPRD and begin adventuring on his own as he’d discovered that Hellboy was dead and that the apocalypse was here.

There you have it! Abe Sapien has always been an interesting character, starting off as a mysterious fish man found in a weirdly labeled tank to having a centuries old history. Where will the future take him? Is there a future to be had? We can only hope. Abe Sapien has been on the big screen as played by Doug Jones and voiced by both Jones and David Hyde Pierce. He will likely be getting a new incarnation in the new Hellboy movie in the works and he’s even been animated. See you next time!

Suggested Reading
Hellboy
BPRD
Abe Sapien

Dr. Bustos
drbustos@comicattack.net

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