Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Captain's Library & Theatre: HERCULES Conclusion

Well, that covers most of it.
And, luckily, the comics' own expositional dialogue will explain the rest...
Be here tomorrow as the saga of Hercules continues with
Hercules Unchained!
This adaptation was published as Dell's Four Color Comics #1006 with script by Paul S Newman and art by John Buscema.
Here's a kool bonus from the same issue...a one-page feature by Newman and Buscema about the mythological Hercules' "Twelve Labors" (though it only shows five)...
Note: Pelias' daughter is named "Iole" in the movie, but is called "Jole" in the comic, and the city-state Pelias rules is named "Iolcos" in the film, but called "Jolco" in the adaptation.
Whether these were the names from an earlier draft of the script or changed for the comic because they would be too hard for a casual reader to pronounce is unknown.

Since Hercules was both a well-known myth and a public domain character, anybody could use him in movies, tv, and comics, as long as their version didn't look like a previous version or use story elements created specifically for any of the earlier renditions.
Due to the popularity of Mighty Thor and the other Norse gods, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby decided to incorporate the Greek pantheon into the Marvel universe, introducing them in (where else) Thor's series in Journey into Mystery Annual #1 (1965)...
...but the response, while good, was not at the popularity level of Thor, so Hercules became a wandering guest-star, appearing in other characters' strips before finally settling down for a year in The Avengers as of issue #38 (1966), where he served as Thor's replacement.
A new penciler took over The Avengers as of #41; John Buscema...
Model sheet by John Buscema
...and suddenly, the relatively-minimal likeness of the Marvel version to Steve Reeves suddenly became a helluva lot more obvious!
So obvious, that the Steve Reeves movies' producers objected!
(Both Hercules movies were still being re-released to theaters in kiddie matinees as well as playing on tv)
So, in Avengers #46 (1967) Marvel's Hercules got a razor and...
Art by John Buscema and Vince Colletta
...and clean-shaven Herc became the Marvel version for a couple of years!
By 1970, Herc's beard grew back, and has remained ever since.
And now, a special treat...the complete movie!

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