Hercules vs. The Island

Posted by RazzaTazz (11941 posts) - - Show Bio
Hercules pulling ManhattanA bit of debate has crept up recently about an incident involving Hercules feat of pulling the island of Manhattan in a single issue.  I have resolved to fix the wiki to an acceptable standard for those involved, but first I thought I would introduce my own thoughts on the debate.  What is contested is the fact that Hercules pulled the island of Manhattan back into place after it had been offset by some distance.  This was later contested by Marvel editors and essentially retconned out of existence, reduced to the claim of a boast by Hercules.  While the editors of the comics control the majority of the decisions involving their characters, there are still a few matters which I would like to nitpick.  First of all this is a perfect example of why I like myths to stay in myth stories and science to stay in science stories, because when the divine powers of Hercules are mixed with the scientific explanations of what was wrong with the feat, both sides lose some of their fantasy.  Equally the pegasus from ancient myth is a completely non-airworthy animal but to challenge its ability to fly is missing part of the fun.  This is only part of it though.  I quite often write science based blogs, examining the science of a particular issue, and invariably although I give a disclaimer there is almost always someone that loves the fact that I have broken down science, and another person that criticizes me for taking the fun out of the fantasy.  Part of the appeal of Marvel in the 1960s (albeit not their biggest appeal) was that they were a New York City based company with most of its characters based in New York City.  So although there would be Marvel fans from across the country, Marvel fans from New York City could be more discerning when it came to matters involving their city.  Also there would most likely (based on demographics) be more fans in New York City than in any other city in the USA because it has been the largest city in terms of population in the USA for quite some time now.  Equally with its dominant role in  the entertainment industry, it is a very familiar place to most people that observe North American culture.  The entire composite of this is going to be that anything to do with the city is going to be under greater scrutiny than elsewhere.  If some writer got the name of a subway station it is reasonable to think that more people would write in to complain than if the same writer had said that Bismarck is in South Dakota.  Thus there would invariably be a lot of fans to write in to complain that pulling an island would likely destroy its power lines, subways tunnels, sewage system and numerous other parts of infrastructure.  This ties back in to the fact that they are essentially complaining about the wrong thing.  If a science based character like Reed Richards had done this and not Hercules then they might have more of a case, but I think in this case that they are missing a lot of the fun of the fantasy.   Marketing being what it is, it does not generally appeal to the most informed and logical part of the population rather just the largest part of the population.  In this case they saw fit to give some lip service to comic fans that saw fit to complain about this, at the same time most likely ignoring the comic fans that kept their mouths closed because they thought it was an interesting accomplishment.  I guess after that long write up my main conclusion is that "no, it didn't happen" but that there should never have been such a big deal made about it in the first place.  
#1 Posted by evilvegeta74 (4672 posts) - - Show Bio

This is still going?

#2 Posted by RazzaTazz (11941 posts) - - Show Bio
@evilvegeta74: Well I said at the top of the blog that I am going to resolve it soon, I just wanted to share my own opinion first which will likely not be exactly what goes into the wiki.  
#3 Posted by Rumble Man (11198 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz: tbh I don't see how this is that big of an issue, since in marvel there are plenty of odd things going on left and right. plus in myth he did lift the heavens (sky) so it would not be too far fetched.

#4 Posted by evilvegeta74 (4672 posts) - - Show Bio


#5 Posted by LeeSensei (427 posts) - - Show Bio

That's Classic Herc isn't it? Since then he's been depowered and repowered more than once, but in a silver or bronze age comic he was described as having the strength to demolish worlds so moving Manhattan shouldn't be beyond his power imo.

#6 Posted by Grey56 (801 posts) - - Show Bio

Getting ticky tacky does take away from some of the fun in fantasy true - but it does inspire some interest via debate if nothing else.

#7 Posted by PowerHerc (86130 posts) - - Show Bio

RazzaTazz took this issue on to resolve a dispute between myself and another Viner. I find her description of this event to be well written and fair and I thank her for both writing it and for resolving the aforementioned dispute.

In the interest of preserving/documenting what she wrote up against possible future biased editing, here is how RazzaTazz wrote up this event on the Hercules overview page and how it currently reads:

Controversy over Pulling Manhattan Island

Hercules - Towing Manhattan Island.

An incident during the 1970s, in the series Marvel Team-Up, created some controversy among fans of the character. In issue #28 Hercules is shown pulling the entire island of Manhattan back into place after it has been offset. Due to complaints both from fans and staff, the feat was later retconned out of existence. Although this feat is not inconsistent with Hercules' strength based feats, it was nonetheless argued to be logically impossible as such a feat would rupture and destroy city infrastructure among other reasons. To some degree the debate over this remains to this day but, as the company itself retconned the depiction to have not existed, this is the official standpoint. Equally, Hercules is shown in myth and elsewhere as having lifted more than this weight (even bearing the entire weight of the Earth in ancient myth).

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