Is Hercules the original Superhero?

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#1 Edited by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio

It's been said that superheroes and their exploits are modern mythology.  It also seems obvious that our superheroes have been influenced by classic myth, legend, religion and literature.  With that in mind it's possible that Hercules may be the original superhero considering his strength, courage, skills and exploits described and depicted in ancient myth. 
 
He completed 12 impossible labors, sailed with the argonauts, he fought and slayed untold monsters and the Giant Antaeus, he supported the weight of the heavans, he founded the Olympics in Zeus' honor (and won every event), he single-handedly sacked Troy, he impregnated 49 of 50 women in one night (producing 51 sons), he defeated death itself in a wrestling match, he defended and saved the Olympian Gods from Gaea's Giants and was brought to Olympus and raised to full godhood upon his death. 
 
Many heroes and icons have been conceived and popularized in over the ensuing millenia (especially in the 20th and 21st centuries).  Many are similar to Hercules borrowing elements from his legend.  Hercules pre-dates Samson, Thor, Cuchulainn, Paul Bunyan, Superman, etc.  It's been reported that Superman was partially inspired by Hercules, and it's well known that Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman have significant ties to him as well. 
 
So what do you think; Is Hercules the first superhero? 

#2 Posted by Jean_Luc_LeBeau (84704 posts) - - Show Bio

Didnt he murder his wife and kids?

#3 Posted by VanTesla (511 posts) - - Show Bio

What about Gilgamesh ?
#4 Posted by Hamz (340 posts) - - Show Bio
@Gambler said:
" Didnt he murder his wife and kids? "
Yes he did but that was due to Hera's involvement. She made him go mad for a brief period during which he killed his family.
#5 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@Gambler said:
"Didnt he murder his wife and kids? "

Yes he did.  Though, in mythology, it was explained that Hera had temporarily made him insane, thus leading to the twelve labors and redemption (which is a very heroic concept).
#6 Posted by ~The Wanderer~ (34406 posts) - - Show Bio

Wasn't Perseus before him?

#7 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@VanTesla said:
"What about Gilgamesh ? "

Yes, I believe Gilgamesh did predate Hercules, but his exploits don't really stack up as befitting a superhero's IMO.  Hercules' do.
#8 Posted by Jean_Luc_LeBeau (84704 posts) - - Show Bio
@Hamz said:
" @Gambler said:
" Didnt he murder his wife and kids? "
Yes he did but that was due to Hera's involvement. She made him go mad for a brief period during which he killed his family. "
He also killed his music teacher lol no excuse for that ;P
 
@PowerHerc said:
" @Gambler said:
"Didnt he murder his wife and kids? "
Yes he did.  Though, in mythology, it was explained that Hera had temporarily made him insane, thus leading to the twelve labors and redemption (which is a very heroic concept). "
Heroic indeed. But it doesn't make him the "Original Superhero."
#9 Posted by Primmaster64 (21073 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: Hey dude, has Hercules ever met the Living Tribunal,Eternaty,Galactus, ect?
#10 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@Gambler said:
" @Hamz said:
" @Gambler said:
" Didnt he murder his wife and kids? "
Yes he did but that was due to Hera's involvement. She made him go mad for a brief period during which he killed his family. "
He also killed his music teacher lol no excuse for that ;P
 
@PowerHerc said:
" @Gambler said:
"Didnt he murder his wife and kids? "
Yes he did.  Though, in mythology, it was explained that Hera had temporarily made him insane, thus leading to the twelve labors and redemption (which is a very heroic concept). "
Heroic indeed. But it doesn't make him the "Original Superhero." "

That's your opinion and it's okay.  Herc being the original superhero is just a thought.  What is your thouhgt on who is the first superhero?
#11 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@Primmaster64 said:
" @PowerHerc: Hey dude, has Hercules ever met the Living Tribunal,Eternaty,Galactus, ect?"

Yes, he's met Galactus several times and I believe he has or is going to meet Eternity in the current  Chaos War storyline.
#12 Posted by Jean_Luc_LeBeau (84704 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc said:
"  What is your thouhgt on who is the first superhero? "
Possibly Cronus
#13 Edited by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@Gambler:

Why would Cronus be a hero at all?  Is there a heroic version of him?
#14 Posted by VanTesla (511 posts) - - Show Bio

lets think here. What people thought a hero was in the ages ago is likely way different than what we think one is or should be. 
 
Murder was always bad bud killing was ok and easy to forgive if it was accidental like Herc did not mean to kill his music teacher... That would not pass with us and it did not then for he ran.(if  memory serves me right)
#15 Posted by Primmaster64 (21073 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc said:
" @Primmaster64 said:
" @PowerHerc: Hey dude, has Hercules ever met the Living Tribunal,Eternaty,Galactus, ect?"
Yes, he's met Galactus several times and I believe he has or is going to meet Eternity in the current  Chaos War storyline. "
that's pretty cool, What did Herc said to galactus?
#16 Posted by Jean_Luc_LeBeau (84704 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc said:
" @Gambler: Why would Cronus be a hero at all?  Is there a heroic version of him? "
One version depicts Cronus as having overthrown the Ophion which in turn freed the World from bondage. Even in the common interpretation the age in which Cronus ruled was called the Golden Age. There was no need for law because people automatically did the right thing.
#17 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@VanTesla said:
"lets think here. What people thought a hero was in the ages ago is likely way different than what we think one is or should be.  Murder was always bad bud killing was ok and easy to forgive if it was accidental like Herc did not mean to kill his music teacher... That would not pass with us and it did not then for he ran.(if  memory serves me right) "

He did indeed accidently kill his music teacher, but he paid his debt by being sent away for one year of hard labor tending cattle.  I know the sentence seems light, but as you said, people's thoughts and beliefs about most matters were most probably different over 3,000 years ago than they are today.  Cultures change. 
 
I think it's important to remember that the ancient Greeks whom created Hercules, and gave him all of his legends and attributes - good and bad, considered him a hero.
#18 Posted by VanTesla (511 posts) - - Show Bio

If we go by greek and count titans and gods I would say with out a doubt Prometheus!  
 
he did more for us than any other and sacrficed himself to endless suffering for his love of humanity. 
 
He helped create us, gave us fire and more free will from the strong grip of the gods, with his brother they made the best of us and all life. Then Zues came and F everthing up.
#19 Posted by Primmaster64 (21073 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc:
Who dares, indeed?

#20 Posted by Jean_Luc_LeBeau (84704 posts) - - Show Bio

Side note: Just playing devils advocate here. I have no strong feelings either way.

#21 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@Primmaster64 said:
" @PowerHerc said:
" @Primmaster64 said:
" @PowerHerc: Hey dude, has Hercules ever met the Living Tribunal,Eternaty,Galactus, ect?"
Yes, he's met Galactus several times and I believe he has or is going to meet Eternity in the current  Chaos War storyline. "
that's pretty cool, What did Herc said to galactus?"

 Hercules first met Galactus when Galactus sought help against Ego, the living planet.  Galactus sent Firelord to get Thor, and Herc came too.  Another notable time Hercules and Galactus met was in the first "Hercules, Prince of Power" mini-series (1982), issue #4.  In this comic Herc ends up trying to make Galactus so drunk he'll pass out and thus will be unable to consume a planet under Herc's protection.  Leading up to Herc slipping Galactus a mickey, Herc tries to fight Galactus on a physical level but is quickly and thoroughly humbled. 
@Gambler said:
" @PowerHerc said:
" @Gambler: Why would Cronus be a hero at all?  Is there a heroic version of him? "
One version depicts Cronus as having overthrown the Ophion which in turn freed the World from bondage. Even in the common interpretation the age in which Cronus ruled was called the Golden Age. There was no need for law because people automatically did the right thing. "

Okay.
#22 Posted by Sexy Merc (41971 posts) - - Show Bio

There are threads already discussing the first superhero..

#23 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@VanTesla said:
"
If we go by greek and count titans and gods I would say with out a doubt Prometheus!  
 
he did more for us than any other and sacrficed himself to endless suffering for his love of humanity. 
 
He helped create us, gave us fire and more free will from the strong grip of the gods, with his brother they made the best of us and all life. Then Zues came and F everthing up.
"
Prometheus, huh?  An interesting stance.   
Hercules was the one whom freed Prometheus from his sentence of being bound and having his liver eaten alive by an eagle every single day, btw.    
 
@Gambler said:
"Side note: Just playing devils advocate here. I have no strong feelings either way. "

That's cool, I appreciate the interaction.
#24 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@Sexy Merc said:
"There are threads already discussing the first superhero.. "

Yes, I know.  This thread was specifically for discussing the idea of Hercules being the first superhero.   
It's not supposed to be a general  'who was the first superhero' thread.
#25 Posted by Primmaster64 (21073 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: That's pretty interesting.
#26 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@Primmaster64:
Thanks man, I truly appreciate it.
#27 Posted by VanTesla (511 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc:
Oh I knew Herc freed him and so Herc is straight in my books but we are going by first not who saved who. :) 
 
Fun how the son of Zues is the one to free Prometheus because Herc understood what his father did was wrong. If I recall Zeus was a bit pissed but let it pass... 
 
Zues was a terrible god that made humanity suffer because he wanted attention...
#28 Posted by Primmaster64 (21073 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: :D No probl dude...I was wondering...does anyone have any scans about it?
#29 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@VanTesla said:
"@PowerHerc: Oh I knew Herc freed him and so Herc is straight in my books but we are going by first not who saved who. :)  Fun how the son of Zues is the one to free Prometheus because Herc understood what his father did was wrong. If I recall Zeus was a bit pissed but let it pass...  Zues was a terrible god that made humanity suffer because he wanted attention... "

I figured you knew, but I wanted to state it for anyone who might read the posts on this thread.  
I see you don't like Zeus much.  Have you read the Dark Reign story-arc in "Incredible Hercules?"  Issues 130 and 131 put Zeus on trial in Hades.  If you haven't read them, you should.  You might find them interesting.  Zeus isn't depicted as a sympathetic figure there.
#30 Posted by VanTesla (511 posts) - - Show Bio

when was the last time Thor and Herc party... It feels like ages but Thor has some much serious crap on the table that he has no fun time....
#31 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio

They're teaming up right now in th Chaos War as members of the God Squad.  
 
As for partying, they were shown in a memory sequence of Thor's in "Hercules, Fall of an Avenger" #1 having a drinking contest against a tavern full of giant and then being carried away to bed by some giantesses. 
  
Also, at the end of the Mighty Thorcules story-arc in "Incredible Hercules" #137 Herc and Thor party after their.  Hercules takes the beautiful Queen Alflyse back to her castle for some one-on-one partying while Thor and the Warriors Three drink and look after Zeus (now a pre-adolescent boy).
#32 Posted by PrinceIMC (5422 posts) - - Show Bio

Hercules is the classic hero. I don't know where we differentiate hero from superhero so its kinda hard to say. He was famous, wore distinctive clothing and saved people....but he might have been a bit selfish to be considered a superhero.
#33 Posted by Joeybagad0nutz (1378 posts) - - Show Bio

No. On a written account? Possibly. But, I don't know much about all the different Pagan religions.
#34 Edited by seekquaze (617 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Hercules could be considered a superhero in many ways.  He possessed powers and did things beyond even other demi-gods.  He had his own costume and distinctive look.  He was famous for his heroic deeds.   He is flawed enough that people can relate to him, but sometimes a bit too flawed that people thing he is not admirable.  But I have always found three things about him admirable.  One, no matter how miserable his life gets he only goes on.  Two, he doesn't ever truly abuse his strength or powers like other Greek heroes.  A lot of his actions are questionable because of different times, but most of the beings he kills deserved it.  Three, when he does commit an actual wrong he submits to punishment even when he does not have too.  The banishment to tend cows, the twelve labors, being sold into slavery and force to dress like a woman, and willingly entering into exile for killing a servant even when the king forgave him all show signs of maturity and heroism above even the Olympian gods.
 
 
@PowerHerc said:

I figured you knew, but I wanted to state it for anyone who might read the posts on this thread.  I see you don't like Zeus much.  Have you read the Dark Reign story-arc in "Incredible Hercules?"  Issues 130 and 131 put Zeus on trial in Hades.  If you haven't read them, you should.  You might find them interesting.  Zeus isn't depicted as a sympathetic figure there. "

Ironically, that trial could easily have painted things like far worse.  Zeus had his good points like enforcing order and justice and that is what he was often thought of first in ancient times.  But even back then many questioned him and in modern times its hard to overlook his numerous affairs and being just a general jerk.  Some of the biggest blows against him are his failings to protect his mistresses from Hera, the few attempts he make come across as half-hearted or after the damage has been done, the Pandora's Box incident punishing all of humanity for the crimes of Prometheus when humanity had no clue as to what was going on, only intervening during the Hades/Demeter crisis when the dying off of humanity would deprive him of worship after he caused the mess in the first place, and worst the devouring of the Titaness Metis.  If Cronos was evil for devouring his kids to protect his reign what about Zeus for doing something similar to her.  I think all in all there are plenty of reasons to not like Zeus.  At least when the Norse gods were being jerks it was usually to each other.  Odin at least had the excuse of Ragnarok, was not seen as the enforcer of justice, and  could be matched by other gods.  Compare that to Zeus where he was pretty much all-powerful, the enforcer of justice, and has no good excuse other than he makes the rules.
#35 Posted by turoksonofstone (12901 posts) - - Show Bio
 @Liberty has an awesome list of Heroes tracing their origins WAY BACK...
#36 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@seekquaze:
Yeah, Zeus could've and should've done a lot more to look out for them. 
#37 Posted by Valtot (4486 posts) - - Show Bio

if were talking in comic contiunity no way theres been heroes on other planets from way before, but on earth there was a caveman hero-, if mytholigy im sure you could find a hero before hercules rather easily
#38 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@Valtot said:
"if were talking in comic contiunity no way theres been heroes on other planets from way before, but on earth there was a caveman hero-, if mytholigy im sure you could find a hero before hercules rather easily "

I'm sure a hero predating Hercules could be found as well.   
 
I just don't think any hero previous to Hercules had the level or volume of accomplishments that would be comparable to modern superheroes and arguably make them the first superhero.  I think the based on his powers, abilities, accompishments and battles - Hercules could be considered the first superhero.
#39 Posted by ~The Wanderer~ (34406 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc: What are your thoughts on Perseus?
#40 Edited by blur99 (374 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc said:

" @Valtot said:

"if were talking in comic contiunity no way theres been heroes on other planets from way before, but on earth there was a caveman hero-, if mytholigy im sure you could find a hero before hercules rather easily "
I'm sure a hero predating Hercules could be found as well.    I just don't think any hero previous to Hercules had the level or volume of accomplishments that would be comparable to modern superheroes and arguably make them the first superhero.  I think the based on his powers, abilities, accompishments and battles - Hercules could be considered the first superhero. "
Greek heroes are the best known but there are older cultures that have heroes that have likely done a great and plenty deeds to match the demigod Herc.   These are less well known than Greek.
Oh and Herc needs a costume upgrade.    
#41 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@~The Wanderer~ said:
" @PowerHerc: What are your thoughts on Perseus? "

It's possible that Perseus could be considered the first.  An argument can be made for him.  B 
But his accomplishments after slaying Medusa and rescuing the damsel in distress his exploits seem to drop off to nothing and don't keep pace with Herc's. 
@blur99 said:
"@PowerHerc said:

" @Valtot said:

"if were talking in comic contiunity no way theres been heroes on other planets from way before, but on earth there was a caveman hero-, if mytholigy im sure you could find a hero before hercules rather easily "
I'm sure a hero predating Hercules could be found as well.    I just don't think any hero previous to Hercules had the level or volume of accomplishments that would be comparable to modern superheroes and arguably make them the first superhero.  I think the based on his powers, abilities, accompishments and battles - Hercules could be considered the first superhero. "
Greek heroes are the best known but there are older cultures that have heroes that have likely done a great and plenty deeds to match the demigod Herc.   These are less well known than Greek.Oh and Herc needs a costume upgrade.     "

Who are the heroes pre-dating Herc and what were there deeds/exploits?
#42 Edited by blur99 (374 posts) - - Show Bio

 Mesopotamia (hope I spelled it right) has that legends predate Hellenes (that means "Greece" ). 
Someone already mentioned Gilgamesh.  A whole book called the "Epic of Gilgamesh" exists.  Its brimming with heroic deeds.   
The name "epic" pretty much sums that up.   
There are obviously more.  I'm pretty sure other cultures have stories of great heroes too.  Greece or Babylon weren't the only people with these ideas. 
  And Perseus is a hero and not a superhero.    

#43 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@blur99 said:
"
 
 Mesopotamia (hope I spelled it right) has that legends predate Hellenes (that means "Greece" ). Someone already mentioned Gilgamesh.  A whole book called the "Epic of Gilgamesh" exists.  Its brimming with heroic deeds.   The name "epic" pretty much sums that up.   There are obviously more.  I'm pretty sure other cultures have stories of great heroes too.  Greece or Babylon weren't the only people with these ideas.  And Perseus is a hero and not a superhero.     "

Maybe it's Gilgamesh then. 
 
I know Perseus is/was a hero.  The question is; based on his deeds and accomplishments, could he be considered the first superhero?
#44 Edited by blur99 (374 posts) - - Show Bio
@PowerHerc said:

" @blur99 said:

"

 Mesopotamia (hope I spelled it right) has that legends predate Hellenes (that means "Greece" ). Someone already mentioned Gilgamesh.  A whole book called the "Epic of Gilgamesh" exists.  Its brimming with heroic deeds.   The name "epic" pretty much sums that up.   There are obviously more.  I'm pretty sure other cultures have stories of great heroes too.  Greece or Babylon weren't the only people with these ideas.  And Perseus is a hero and not a superhero.     "
Maybe it's Gilgamesh then.  I know Perseus is/was a hero.  The question is; based on his deeds and accomplishments, could he be considered the first superhero? "
Well do you mean Gilgamesh? 
Mesopotamia is old but Egypt and other cultures might rival it for age.
 
Hope you like Herc's seal of approval.   
I gotta trademark that  :)
#45 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@blur99 said:
"@PowerHerc said:

" @blur99 said:

"

 
 Mesopotamia (hope I spelled it right) has that legends predate Hellenes (that means "Greece" ). Someone already mentioned Gilgamesh.  A whole book called the "Epic of Gilgamesh" exists.  Its brimming with heroic deeds.   The name "epic" pretty much sums that up.   There are obviously more.  I'm pretty sure other cultures have stories of great heroes too.  Greece or Babylon weren't the only people with these ideas.  And Perseus is a hero and not a superhero.     "
Maybe it's Gilgamesh then.  I know Perseus is/was a hero.  The question is; based on his deeds and accomplishments, could he be considered the first superhero? "
That's what I mean.   Perseus and the Greek legends are all younger than some other cultures so he can't be first.   Hope you like Herc's seal of approval.   I gotta trademark that  :) "

Yeah, the seal of approval is cool.   
Herc's 'thumbs up' image has become an instant classic.
#46 Posted by Theworldbreaker (1622 posts) - - Show Bio
@VanTesla:
one of the reasons why i like Odin more :D.
#47 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@Theworldbreaker said:
"@VanTesla: one of the reasons why i like Odin more :D. "

Y'know, ironically, I prefer Marvel's Odin to Marvel's Zeus as well.
#48 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio
@VanTesla said:
"when was the last time Thor and Herc party... It feels like ages but Thor has some much serious crap on the table that he has no fun time.... "

I couldn't tell you for sure when the most recent time they partied in continuity, but I can tell you the most recent time they were shown partying together. 
 
In the recent "Hercules: Fall of an Avenger"  2-issue story Thor tells a tale of Herc and him having (and winning) a drinking contest against a tavern full of frost giants.  Herc and Thor win bu, by the time they've drank all the frost giants under the table, they're quite drunk as well.  The female frost giants then physically pick the two drunk gods up and carry them off to bed for activities that Thor declined to comment on at Herc's funeral.   
 
Thor's recollection of this long-ago meeting between he and Hercules was pretty cool. 
#49 Posted by SC (13403 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes, in the fun sense that is also overlaid with some reasonable historic truth. There may have been earlier heroes, but not of them were super like Hercules, and when I say super like Hercules, he gets that added quality, because I am half sure Herc had the first "Respect thread" carved on some stone wall out there reflecting on his many various awesome feats. Gilgamesh Pfft, one or two one shots, but no ongoing. Disqualified. ^_^

Moderator
#50 Posted by BiteMe-Fanboy (8092 posts) - - Show Bio

No, Dinosaur riding Jesus is the original super hero.
 





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