Dr. Izar Hoffman is a B.P.R.D. agent and psychic. Though he made his first appearance in Hellboy: Wake the Devil, he had been mentioned previously in The Wolves of Saint August. Another Dr. Izar Hoffman, visually distinct from the Hoffman in Wake the Devil, made his first appearance in B.P.R.D.: The Ectoplasmic Man.
In the final panels of the Hellboy story The Wolves of Saint August, a short official B.P.R.D. summary concludes the case. A follow up investigation to the village of Griart is mentioned to have failed to detect any traces of Father Edward Kelly or the ghosts of the Grenier family. The site is declared clear by Dr. Izar Hoffman on May 29th, 1994. This is Dr. Hoffman's first mention in the Hellboy continuity and suggests he is a senior, or high ranking B.P.R.D. agent capable of leading Psychic investigation teams.
Dr. Hoffman briefly appears in the first issue of the Hellboy story Wake the Devil. B.P.R.D. Director Tom Manning explained that Dr. Hoffman's psychics had examined the wax museum storage room owned by Hans Ubler. Hoffman reported that his people were upset by the atmosphere of the place and several in particular described a tall, "evil-looking" man in a napoleonic uniform. Hoffman concluded that Vladimir Giurescu's body had been stored in the wax museum before being stolen.
In the B.P.R.D. one-shot The Ectoplasmic Man, a different Dr. Hoffman makes his first appearance. In Heidelberg, Germany in 2002, Hoffman is summoned by Jurgen, a German police inspector to the scene of a seance gone wrong. There, thanks to his psychic abilities, Hoffman is able to see the ectoplasmic form of Johann Kraus, and discern the nature of the incident which destroyed Johann's clients the Wagner family as well as Johann's physical body. He tells Johann about the events in Chengdou, which lead to a backlash on the psychic plane and advises Johann to 'move on' or let the B.P.R.D. help him. After Johann has fled the scene consumed by guilt, Hoffman is reluctant to close the scene of the incident and give up on Johann. Johann eventually returns and Hoffman facilitates Johann's induction into the B.P.R.D. In a B.P.R.D. lab Hoffman watches Johann receive his first containment suit and demonstrate his ability to give temporary forms to the dead.
In the official Hellboy Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game Dr. Hoffman is mentioned to be the director of the B.P.R.D. research department and although not a psychic himself, an expert on enhanced talents. He is described as in his fifties, dark haired, and balding. This description of Hoffman seems to fit with the Hoffman that appeared in Wake the Devil.
One Hoffman or Two?
The distinctly different Hoffmans in Wake the Devil and The Ectoplasmic Man suggest there are two Dr. Hoffmans at the Bureau, possibly a father and son. Alternatively, this could simply be an art error.
Powers and Abilities:
The Dr. Hoffman in The Ectoplasmic Man refers to himself as a psychic, although the true nature and range of his abilities are unknown. He at least demonstrates a psychic sensitivity above that of baseline humans, as he was able to see and converse with Johann's spirit. If the Hellboy Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game is accurate, the elder Dr. Hoffman is not psychic.