Sunday, 21 August 2016

Hercules #1 (Charlton/1967)

Hercules #1 (Charlton Comics)

Joe Gill (w) Sam Glazman (a)

One of the greatest legendary figures of all time was Hercules, son of Zeus, King of the Gods and a mortal woman his stories have been told for generations including in the comics medium. Most comic readers will be more familiar with the Marvel incarnation of Hercules. Friend of Thor and Avenger. Firmly set in the world of super-heroes.

Charlton comics however provided the reader with a version of the legend set in ancient times and in a more traditional "sword & sorcery" direction. Now Charlton were not exactly renowned for their high production standards so a lot of their output has production flaws, but there was some effort put into the creative side of this title which lasted 13 bimonthly issues plus one black and white magazine edition of #8 in addition to the normal four-colour comic.

The first story line sees Hercules set out to complete twelve tasks (wrongly referred to in the text as nine) and stopping to save and then fall in love with Princess Helen who is already betrothed to a certain Alexander. Helen reciprocates his affections (and note she has a suspiciously 1960's haircut), but alas Hercules has to choose between her and joining the Gods in (or on) Olympus so engages in a fight with the Lion of Nemea and on his way he goes.

The back-up feature is Thane of Bagarth set in the world of Beowulf with all the usual intrigue. Written by Steve Skeates with art from Jim (Batman) Aparo this strip does have it's fans. Maybe it'll grow on me as I collect the set.


In the second issue which I picked up at the same time Hercules engages in the second of his tasks which is to defeat and kill the three-bodied giant Gerion.

The art & script in this title makes it a solid read, especially given the period it was produced in and makes a change from the normal super-hero fare produced by the "big two" Marvel and National (DC) in the late sixties.

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