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Laura Geringer Bass , Peter Bollinger

Hercules the Strong Man

YEAR: 1996

COUNTRY: United States of America

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Title of the work

Hercules the Strong Man

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

United States

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

1996

First Edition Details

Laura Geringer and Peter Bollinger. Hercules the Strong Man. Series: Myth Men: Guardians of the Legend (Book 1). Scholastic INC. New York, 1996, 32 pp.

ISBN

0590845004

Genre

Comics (Graphic works)
Didactic fiction
Instructional and educational work
Mythological fiction
Myths
Picture books

Target Audience

Children (Children grades 2-3)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Lisa Maurice, Bar Ilan University mautil68@gmail.com

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk

Female portrait

Laura Geringer Bass (Author)

Laura Geringer Bass is a writer, editor, teacher and publisher for children’s books. She graduated from Barnard College and Yale University. She is a faculty member of New York Writer’s Workshop as well as working in other institutions. She also received awards for her works. Since 1996 she has been the head of Laura Geringer Books imprint.


Sources: 

Official website (accessed: July 4, 2018).

Profile at the www.biography.jrank.org (accessed: July 4, 2018).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Male portrait

Peter Bollinger (Illustrator)

Bollinger is an award wining illustrator and digital artist. He is renowned in the field of commercial art. He works traditionally as well as digitally.


Source:

Profile at the shannonassociates.com (accessed: July 4, 2018).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Summary

This is a picture book (mostly one big picture per page) with selected episodes from Hercules’ labours. There is no background for Hercules’ life; the story starts with the labours.

The pictures are very colorful and there are also a few black and white illustrations. The main labour told is the search for the golden apples. Hercules needs to capture a strange entity first, referred to as “the Old One”. Then Hercules encounters Atlas. Atlas is drawn as a green, jeweled, giant who resembles a jinni.

Analysis

This is an educational picture book. It gives limited information regarding Hercules and his origin, but starts by narrating that Hercules’ (3) had big muscles- the biggest in the world. This makes it clear that the presentation, as indicated by the title, is centred on Hercules’ physical strength. From the introduction we understand that the book is aimed at a young audience. With the younger audience in mind, unsurprisingly, there is no mention of the murders committed by the hero. It continues by stating that (4) Hercules went to work for a bad king. This is how the author avoids introducing the labors as Hercules’ punishment for a crime and they are therefore introduced as a kind of “job” Hercules had to do for his boss. Furthermore, this presentation makes Hercules a hero who simply fights monsters for no apparent reason other than the whim of his boss. There is no heroic journey here.

In the illustrations, Hercules is a very muscular blond man with a long hair. This of course follows a long tradition of depicting Hercules as a hulk, although not all works portray him as blond. There is no specific reason to describe Atlas as a Jinni except maybe artistic decision. It certainly does not really relate to Atlas’ role as the holder of heaven. Perhaps the illustration was meant to create an exotic and otherworldly experience and atmosphere for the book. Hercules is not fighting in a real world or time, but in a mythic and mystic universe.

The moral at the end of the book, after Hercules tricked Atlas, is that it is not that Hercules was strong enough to lift the sky, but that Hercules had brains “Oh no. Instead they said, ‘And that, my children, is how Hercules proved he was smart.’. (32): the emphasis is that Hercules had brains rather than brawn. The booklet gives a brief taste of Hercules, and is perhaps meant to make the children curious to read more about his adventures, as well, probably as purchase more books form the series.


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Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Hercules the Strong Man

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

United States

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

1996

First Edition Details

Laura Geringer and Peter Bollinger. Hercules the Strong Man. Series: Myth Men: Guardians of the Legend (Book 1). Scholastic INC. New York, 1996, 32 pp.

ISBN

0590845004

Genre

Comics (Graphic works)
Didactic fiction
Instructional and educational work
Mythological fiction
Myths
Picture books

Target Audience

Children (Children grades 2-3)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Lisa Maurice, Bar Ilan University mautil68@gmail.com

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk

Female portrait

Laura Geringer Bass (Author)

Laura Geringer Bass is a writer, editor, teacher and publisher for children’s books. She graduated from Barnard College and Yale University. She is a faculty member of New York Writer’s Workshop as well as working in other institutions. She also received awards for her works. Since 1996 she has been the head of Laura Geringer Books imprint.


Sources: 

Official website (accessed: July 4, 2018).

Profile at the www.biography.jrank.org (accessed: July 4, 2018).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Male portrait

Peter Bollinger (Illustrator)

Bollinger is an award wining illustrator and digital artist. He is renowned in the field of commercial art. He works traditionally as well as digitally.


Source:

Profile at the shannonassociates.com (accessed: July 4, 2018).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, ayelet.peer@gmail.com


Summary

This is a picture book (mostly one big picture per page) with selected episodes from Hercules’ labours. There is no background for Hercules’ life; the story starts with the labours.

The pictures are very colorful and there are also a few black and white illustrations. The main labour told is the search for the golden apples. Hercules needs to capture a strange entity first, referred to as “the Old One”. Then Hercules encounters Atlas. Atlas is drawn as a green, jeweled, giant who resembles a jinni.

Analysis

This is an educational picture book. It gives limited information regarding Hercules and his origin, but starts by narrating that Hercules’ (3) had big muscles- the biggest in the world. This makes it clear that the presentation, as indicated by the title, is centred on Hercules’ physical strength. From the introduction we understand that the book is aimed at a young audience. With the younger audience in mind, unsurprisingly, there is no mention of the murders committed by the hero. It continues by stating that (4) Hercules went to work for a bad king. This is how the author avoids introducing the labors as Hercules’ punishment for a crime and they are therefore introduced as a kind of “job” Hercules had to do for his boss. Furthermore, this presentation makes Hercules a hero who simply fights monsters for no apparent reason other than the whim of his boss. There is no heroic journey here.

In the illustrations, Hercules is a very muscular blond man with a long hair. This of course follows a long tradition of depicting Hercules as a hulk, although not all works portray him as blond. There is no specific reason to describe Atlas as a Jinni except maybe artistic decision. It certainly does not really relate to Atlas’ role as the holder of heaven. Perhaps the illustration was meant to create an exotic and otherworldly experience and atmosphere for the book. Hercules is not fighting in a real world or time, but in a mythic and mystic universe.

The moral at the end of the book, after Hercules tricked Atlas, is that it is not that Hercules was strong enough to lift the sky, but that Hercules had brains “Oh no. Instead they said, ‘And that, my children, is how Hercules proved he was smart.’. (32): the emphasis is that Hercules had brains rather than brawn. The booklet gives a brief taste of Hercules, and is perhaps meant to make the children curious to read more about his adventures, as well, probably as purchase more books form the series.


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