24 days until Hellboy Day - Herman von Klempt
Doctor Herman von Klempt was one of he worst human (and former human) beings in all of the Mignolaverse. An inarguable genius, gifted surgeon, and brilliant scientist, he was an incessant threat not only to Hellboy, but every living creature on Earth.
Von Klempt’s particular scientific obsession was cybernetics: infusing living tissues with machine part. His first ever experiment was performed on the family cat, whom he murdered and attempted to integrate clock parts...when he was only 10 years old. His disregard for the sanctity of life terrified his family, who were glad to be rid of him when he went off to university.
It is at university that he met Karl Ruprect Kroenen, an older, fellow student. The two became fast friends, although the emotional power balance was in von Klemp’s favor. While Kroenen was extremely fond of the younger student, von Klempt saw the older as a rich, connected resource that he could manipulate to his own ends. When Kroenen nearly died in an explosion, it was the furthering of his own experiments and the preservation of his bank roll, not sentimentality, that drove him to save his colleague’s life.
Heinrich Himmler, seeing two brilliant scientists, bereft of the shackles of morality, recruited both von Klempt and Kroenen into the German Occult Society. Herman expanded his Kriegaffe (war ape) project, and along with Kroenen, began the construction of a hybrid man/machine army for the Nazi war effort. He was granted laboratory space and equipment in the bottom of Hunte Castle in Austria, and soon married a local woman. This was not for love, but again to further his own social status, but the marriage was to be short lived.
Like Kroenen before him, von Klempt would also suffer a fatal injury in a lab experiment. The intervention of Leopold Kurtz was the only thing that saved his life, although it was only his head, living afloat in a bell jar. His wife could no longer tolerate him and his unique situation, and left.
While most would find the handicap of being a disembodied head in a jar to be crippling, von Klempt thrived in his new situation. With his primary focus being cybernetics and robotics, he became inspired by his own situation in the creation of new robot bodies. When Rasputin recruited Kroenen, he returned to Hunte Castle, to refine his own body and continue working on the Nazi war effort, but this failed after the intervention of the Lobster caused a Nazi space program to destroy the castle. Von Klempt was the only survivor.
From here he would travel around the globe, consistently foiled in his experiments by Trevor Bruttenholm, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. In 1959, a face-off with Hellboy in the jungles of South America would put him out of commission for decades. It was in 1997, that Roderick Zinco would use his resources to locate and retrieve Von Klempt’s head at the beckoning of the recently unfrozen Karl Ruprect Kroenen. Von Klempt, perpetually unappreciative, berated and undermined Kroenen, and ridiculed his loyalty to Rasputin, that is, until Rasputin returned to the castle and cursed the lot of them, to the destruction of Kroenen’s castle, but again ,he survived.
He somehow made his way back to south america, despairing over the loss of all of his projects and resources there. He then found his way back to Germany, to a secret lab he had once shared with Kroenen. When he was wallowing in his despair, Rasputin appeared to him, and provided him with a new purpose: The return of the Nazi space capsule at Hunte Castle, bringing home one of the Ogdru Hem. He no longer wished to conqueror humanity, he now wanted to destroy it. Once again his plot was foiled, as he was defeated by Hellboy, and presumed dead.
Decades later, von Klempt’s head was found amongst the possessions of former Zinco CEO Alexander Pope, when the assistant to the new CEO is destroying all of Pope’s Nazi memorabilia. Kroenen, after escaping from the B.P.R.D. during the assault on the Black Flame, made off with the head of his lifeless friend.
The entity known as Varvara stumbled across Kroenen and his deceased friend, and used her demonic powers to restore the head to life. Von Klempt, who had since been turned to serve Rasputin and his goals of global destruction, commited himself to the girl, betraying Kroenen, the one person who had ever truly cared for him, to help usher in the end of days.
Herman von Klempt had a knack for staying alive while all others around him died. He was so despicable that he just may be capable of sustaining himself on the pain and suffering of others. This hateful, disgusting creature had been, and likely will always be, a real pain in the ass. One can even imagine that, should everything end, and in billions of years, when the universe eventually collapses in on itself, that his floating head will continue on, cackling with victory. I guess we will find out soon what his fate will be.
See the Disembodied Jerk-Head here:
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