We all know that the most traumatic event in the entire history of western civilisation was that moment in Jason and the Argonauts when Hercules just decided to go wandering off and depart the movie, never to be seen again.
What on Earth were they thinking of?
You can't introduce him into your movie and then have him disappear halfway through it! He's the star of the show, for Pluto's sake!
Admittedly, the film's called Jason and the Argonauts, not Hercules and the Argonauts but that doesn't matter. Even when he's being the least physically impressive Hercules you've ever seen, he's still the star of the show and, quite frankly, of anything else he ever appears in.
Admittedly, that may not be true of comics.
In all honesty, I was never much into Marvel Comics' version of Herc. He just seemed like a less interesting version of Thor, with less powers, less brain cells and a mace that was a pale imitation of the thunder god's invincible weapon.
Still, despite his limitations, he did at least manage to get around a bit. As well as showing up in Thor's comic, he managed to become a member of both the Avengers and the Champions, as well as having a fight with the Hulk in one of his earliest appearances.
Not only that but it seems he also managed to get his own solo adventure in Marvel Premiere.
Not only that but I actually had a copy of that self-same adventure. I think I may have got it in one of those polythene bagged triple packs that Marvel seemed keen on at one point.
Not that it made any huge impact on me. I must confess that, until I stumbled across the cover online, I'd totally forgotten I'd ever had it.
Now reminded of its existence, all I can recall of it is that Typhon was in it and that, for some reason, his axe was stuck to his hand. By the end of the tale, he'd somehow got his hand free of his axe. Whether that put him in a better mood and led to him renouncing evil, I don't know.
Sadly, by the next issue, Hercules was gone from the mag, replaced by Satana, suggesting that perhaps the Marvel big-wigs didn't have a huge amount of faith in his ability to sell a comic.
Still, if the comic failed to stick in my head, it did at least give us a Jack Kirby cover that helped remind us of his days on Thor and I suppose we can at least appreciate that much.
In the meantime, just what did happen to Hercules after he parted company with Jason and the Argonauts? Is he still on that island, still searching for his missing friend who was blatantly crushed under that big statue? Someone should have said to him, "Look. He's dead. He's been crushed by that big statue. He's gone splat. Now forget about him and help us in the far more important matter of stealing a dead sheep."
For that matter, what happened to Jason and the Argonauts? At the end of the film, they just fell into the sea and the final credits rolled. We never got to find out if they got home or if they drowned or if they were just picked up by the harbour police and charged with stealing someone else's rightful property.
Epic quests, they can be a frustrating thing for the casual observer.
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