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The Ectoplasmic Man is the story of Johann Kraus's origin, expanding on the events seen in the B.P.R.D. teaser. It was released in conjunction with Hellboy II: The Golden Army in 2008.

Publication History[]

The one-shot issue was originally published in 2008. The story was collected in the trade paperback B.P.R.D.: Being Human in November 2011.

Plot Synopsis[]

The story fleshes out the events leading to the "death" of Johann Kraus and his subsequent induction into the B.P.R.D., which was first detailed in the B.P.R.D. teaser and B.P.R.D.: Hollow Earth.

In Heidelberg, Germany, 2002, Johann is holding a séance, attempting to make contact with a deceased man known as Heinrich Wagner alongside his clients the remaining members of the Wagner family. While out of his body in his ectoplasmic form Johann meets the spirit of a young boy from Chengdou China, who asks Johann to help his parents. Meanwhile in Chengdou, an unknown figure is seen raiding a secure building and removing the lid from a mysterious casket. A massive spike of psychic energy erupts throughout Chengdou. Back in Heidelberg the psychic backlash of the event in Chengdou passes through the spirit of the boy into Johann, destroying his physical body and those of his clients the wagner family.

A few hours later BPRD operative Dr. Izar Hoffman arrives on the scene of the ill-fated séance on request from police inspector Jürgen. Hoffman, a psychic is able to see the ectoplasmic form of Johann and explains to him how a demon released in Chengdou possesed a whole town of people and caused a drop in spirit activity across the world. Hoffman, advises Johann to 'move on', or face his spirit dissipating into nothing. Johann is overcome with guilt, blaming himself for the death of the Wagner family and the boy from Chengdou. He flees the scene of the séance into the nearby town.

Pausing in a nearby graveyard, Johann encounters the ghost of a recently deceased man. He attempts to console the spirit and help it pass on. Their conversation is interupted by a mysterious stranger calling himself Wieland Lorst who tells the ghost he can help him return to life. Suspicious, Johann follows the pair to an old fashioned house. As he arrives Johann is horrified to find that Wieland has devoured the ghost. Wieland reveals himself as a creature straight from hell, feeding on death. Wieland then attempts to devour Kraus too, however, Johann's spirit proves too strong to be devoured. Unconcerned, Wieland simply dismisses Kraus. Furious and horrified, Johann vows to see the monster punished. Mockingly, Wieland invites Johann to kill him with a revolver and silver bullet blessed by Pope Gregory XVI. Stuck as a spirit without a physical body Johann is unable to use the gun. Wieland laughs and expels him from the house.

Returning to the scene of his "death", Johann asks Dr. Hoffman for his help. Johann is seen first receiving his containment suit and demonstrating his abilities on a dead bird in a BPRD lab. Hoffman invites Johann to join the BPRD and fly over to the states. Johann excuses himself to finish some business before he departs. In the final panel, Johann is seen returning to house of Wieland to destroy the monster once and for all.

Story Chronology[]

The story takes place in February 2002, showing the transformation of Johann Krauss into an ectoplasmic entity. It occurred between the events of Hellboy: Conqueror Worm and the B.P.R.D. teaser.

B.P.R.D. Publication Order
Preceded by
War on Frogs
The Ectoplasmic Man
Followed by
The Warning
B.P.R.D. Trade Paperback Order
B.P.R.D.: Being Human
Preceded by
Being Human
The Ectoplasmic Man
Followed by