Monday, September 13, 2010

The Hasty Return of Hercules

Editors Note: This article has Siege Spoilers, so if you haven’t read that mini-series, you may want to skip today’s article.

Looking at the upcoming comics over at Comics Alliance revealed that Marvel has a big event coming up with Hercules called The Chaos War.

Here’s the preview text:

Bigger than THE INFINITY GAUNTLET! More cosmic than ANNIHILATION! Since the end of SECRET INVASION, the CHAOS KING has amassed his army of alien slave gods -- and the time to strike Earth is NOW! Only the greatest Marvel heroes can oppose him -- all led by the newly-returned god of heroes ... HERCULES! But are even his incredible new powers enough to stand against the greatest threat the Marvel Universe has ever seen: A mad god who seeks to destroy Reality itself? PLUS: While thought dead, Hercules was trapped in a dangerous world that threatened his very sanity. Find out the secret of his exile in a special extra story penciled by "Prince of Power" artist Reilly Brown!

But didn't Hercules just die five months ago? Yep. Because they published a comic specifically devoted to his funeral - Hercules: Fall of an Avenger.

I understand, superhero deaths and resurrections are standard elements in comic books, so it might seem ridiculous to call foul on this but I gotta say, this sudden return from death strikes me as rather hasty.

It makes me wonder if Hercules death wasn’t supposed to last a bit longer, but perhaps the Chaos War got moved up the schedule for some reason. This sounds likely to me, as going into the Fall, I don’t see a lot of big books on the schedule for Marvel. If I’m correct, I'm curious what was scheduled to come out then and why did it get postpone? Or was this just a case of Marvel realizing they don't normally have much of anything big scheduled for that time, but a new emphasis from Disney is causing them to reevaluate the normal publishing numbers for this time period?

Anyway, Hercules is alive and well in the world of Public Domain Comics and today I present two issues from two different publishers featuring the Demi-god.

The first is from Quality’s Hit Comics featuring a Hercules who isn’t actually descended from the Gods.

[ Hit Comics 12 ]

The other is the MLJ’s Blue Ribbon Comics and features a Hercules who fits in rather nicely with the rest of that line’s light hearted characters.

[ Blue Ribbon 4 ]

- Enjoy!


MattComix said...

At this point death in comics is a bloodsoaked joke and nonsense resurrections are the punchline.

That's the problem with the "THIS ISSUE SOMEONE DIES!" publishing mentality. Usually the only thing more idiotic than using death as a cheap sales boost is whatever they do to try and correct course afterwards once the smoke clears and they're left with a gaping hole where a character used to be.

With just a bit more creativity they could have simply put Herc on a bus for awhile until it someone had a good idea for him.

bchat said...

There's a reason I liked the old "What If?" series: I knew that, in almost every issue, someone was going to die & that it wasn't going to last forever, and I'ld probalby see them again within a few issues ... ready to die again (like Kenny in South Park).

It's a shame, though, that in the core universes of Marvel & DC, that death isn't treated with a bit more respect. On the other hand, Hercules is a diety, so his death & return shouldn't be much of a surprise, since places like Hades are about as easy to get out of as a child's car seat.

Reno said...

Is that Lou Fine doing art chores on that Hit Hercules comic?

Anyway, the three sacred death cows used to be Barry Allen, Bucky and Uncle Ben. Now that Barry and Bucky's back, I'm wondering how long will it take for Uncle Ben to return.

I'm still waiting for Aunt May to croak for real.

Jim Shelley said...

@MattComix - yeah, Chris Sims has mentioned that it seems like the industry to just put characters on the shelf now days. Can't find a place for the new Atom? No problem. We'll just kill him horribly.

Jim Shelley said...

@bchat - You know, I thought of the old What Ifs too while writing this article. I think it was the sort of empty threat of this Chaos War that made me think of that. That and how the death of Hercules was just sort of magicked away or whatever.

Jim Shelley said...

@Reno - Man, I wish you hadn't mentioned Uncle Ben! I can see Marvel gearing up for that now. :D

Let's put Bruce Wayne's parents on that list of people who shouldn't come back as well!

Seems to me, there was a storyline in the 90's where Spider-man's parents actually came back for a bit, though I don't think they were actually his parents.

MattComix said...

@Reno. Oh god, I can see it now. Uncle Ben returns in a 23 part saga called New One More Reign: The Dark Clone Saga of Sins Past. In it we find out Uncle Ben slept with Norman Osborn's Mom. Brought to you by the House of Q!

I honestly wouldn't want to see May die if only because I have zero faith in the current Marvel regime to handle that with any respect and dignity at all. In retrospect, maybe that is death that should have happened instead of Gwen. Even though it would have nixed ASM no. 200 which is one of my favorites.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Didn't Thomas Wayne come back in Morrison's Batman??

bchat said...

Spidey's "parents" came back during The Clone Saga.


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