Friday, September 18, 2015

Hercules Meets The Hulk!

There was no stopping Hercules, once he laid out the mighty Thor for the count in full view of not only astonished New Yorkers but members of the news media. Witnesses to the fight went wild, and it goes without saying that Hercules drank in the adulation--because if the "Prince of Power" has a vulnerability, it's his ego. And naturally, it didn't take long before Hollywood came calling to take advantage of it.

Before you know it, Hercules and his new agent were making tracks for the west coast--specifically, train tracks. The same tracks that the incredible Hulk is about to make use of to take care of the military that's been doggedly pursuing him.

Hercules would go on to have grave problems on arrival at his movie set, at the hands of no less than Pluto, Lord of the Netherworld.  But for now, his journey has been unforgivably interrupted by our raging green behemoth--and suddenly, we have a ringside seat at the first meeting of two of the most powerful characters in the Marvel stable.

Even with Hercules riding high after the New York battle, imagine the deafening cheers that will come his way if he should take the Hulk down so soon after his victory over Thor. But circumstances are different on this field of battle where there is no hand from heaven to deprive the Hulk of a portion of his might--nor would the Hulk care if there was. Suffice to say that Hercules should expect this fight to go the distance.

Artist Jack Kirby is credited with layouts on this story, with Bill Everett finishing; yet as strong as Everett's work is on pencils as well as inks, it's difficult to see any of Kirby's style emerge in these panels.  Regardless, Everett seems to have the situation well in hand. Though both the Hulk and Hercules would be hard-pressed to say the same for themselves:

It's regrettable that this Tales To Astonish half-issue feature has only about eleven or so pages to play out--as a fight on the scale of the Hercules/Thor bout, with neither Hercules nor the Hulk about to give an inch of ground, would be well worth the 12¢ cost of this issue.

Eventually, however, the military catches up with the Hulk again, and a rain of artillery ends this fight and sends the Hulk leaping off. As for Hercules, he gives his opponent grudging praise before seeing to the more important matter at hand--his appointment with fame, which will enhance his legend even more amongst these mortals.


Anonymous said...

It had to happen!! These two titans had to clash!
I have this reprint, but I haven't read it in years.
Reading it again, I think I got hurt, whiplash possibly, like somebody threw me into the side of a mountain or dropped a boulder on my head.
All I know is I ache all over after seeing this again. I think my back went out again, and my trick knee went out, my face looks like a frying pan and my ears are ringing.
Expect a letter from my lawyer, C.F.
It's irresponsible for you to post this kind of violent mayhem without some kind of warning in advance.

Comicsfan said...

In my own defense, m.p., a title like "Hercules Meets the Hulk" should have given you plenty of warning! ;)

david_b said...

GAAAWD, I love that cover.., HOW did that slip past me in my collecting of great TOA covers?

Great story, it's the first I've seen this. Outstanding cover.

Thanks for the posting.

B Smith said...

The zesty zither of Zeus, eh?

Wonder if he knows the theme from The Third Man...?

Kid said...

I can see Kirby's influence in a few panels, but Everett's inking style dilutes it to an extent. It's a shame Jack didn't do full pencils on the story, with Vince Colletta inks - I'd love to have seen that. Bill's inks on Kirby often looked a bit too 'cartoony' to me.

Comicsfan said...

Actually, B, I was taken aback at the thought of Zeus letting his hair down and rockin' the joint with a zither!

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