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Bob Layton

Hercules (Series, Book 1): Prince of Power

YEAR: 1982

COUNTRY: United States of America

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Title of the work

Hercules (Series, Book 1): Prince of Power

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

United States

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

1982

First Edition Details

Bob Layton, Hercules: Prince of Power. New York: Marvel. 1982, 200 pp.

ISBN

9780785139553

Genre

Action and adventure comics
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Comics (Graphic works)
Mythological comics
Mythological fiction

Target Audience

Crossover (Young adults and older children)

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, lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il

Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Courtesy of the Author.

Bob Layton , b. 1970
(Author)

Bob is a highly prolific and imaginative American comic artist with over 5000 comic book credits. Bob works on comics as well as television and films. He worked for many companies, including Marvel and DC Comics. He reinvented the Iron man series in the 70s. He also launched one of the first mini-series in comic history, Hercules: the Prince of Power

Layton said in an interview that “it took a bit of pushing to have a finite series about a drunken super-hero published at Marvel… I loved the big dumb lug and I've always had a soft spot for forgotten secondary characters. Plus, I felt that Hercules hadn't found his niche' in the Marvel Universe, being relegated to supporting roles and such. Also...I felt that the Marvel books took themselves WAY too serious in those days. I wanted to lighten things up a bit. I've always enjoyed writing comedy and Herc was a perfect foil for my brand of humor” (Cited from online interview, accessed: June 27, 2018). 


Sources:

Official website (accessed: June 27, 2018).

Profile on Comic Vine (accessed: June 27, 2018).

Online interview (accessed: June 27, 2018). 


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

Questionnaire

1. What drew you to writing/working with Classical Antiquity and what challenges did you face in selecting, representing, or adapting particular myths or stories?

Character…character… and character!  The elements that make a good story are the conflicts that create change in the characters.  A good character is always a work in progress, constantly adapting to challenges that life throws at him while trying to control the inner demons that sometimes push him down unexpected roads.  


2. Why do you think classical / ancient myths, history, and literature continue to resonate with young audiences?

The positive aspect is that the film industry is keeping the super-hero genre alive and demonstrating that there is definitely an audience for this particular form of entertainment. I believe that these Hollywood producers, seeking to recapture the “sense of wonder” they experienced as youngsters, have now become a new creative extension for the medium of comics- taking their favorite icons back to their more accessible roots.
The truth is that many of the comic-based movies are what the comics themselves used to be, back when they were accessible on newsstands to a mass market. 

And in a time where our belief in our time-honored institutions and public figures are being challenged, the genre offers hope that some of our ideals are being kept alive through these fictional heroes.


3. Do you have a background in classical education (Latin or Greek at school or classes at the University?) What sources are you using? Scholarly work? Wikipedia? Are there any books that made an impact on you in this respect?  

I learned to read from comics when I was only four years old, after my older sister Sue became bored with reading the same comic to me about fifty times. As I matured, I began to comprehend the true potential that the medium had and became obsessed with becoming part of it. My early days were filled with the literary tales from Edgar Rice Burroughs and Arthur C. Clarke. Having grown up dirt poor, college wasn’t in my future.  Fortunately, I was able to educate myself through the local public library and eventually was awarded an apprenticeship with a famous DC Comics artist.  I worked for him until I was competent to get work on my own merit. 


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


Summary

Hercules is the hero in a galactic setting; he has a family now which he needs to protect against all kinds of evils. Regarding the backstory, Hercules returns to Olympus and starts acting rowdily, as a result of which Zeus exiles him to the vast universe to learn some humility. He knew that he would be considered a god on earth and therefore sent him to roam the vast outer space. Hercules then begins his galactic adventures, even racing against a spaceship with his chariot. He changes his attire to a more super-heroic style (black and red tights and vest). Hercules confesses to his girlfriend, Lyana, that he promised himself not to fall in love with a mortal ever again, after she ages and died while he remained immortal.

Analysis

Even in space, 300 years into the future, Hercules’ attire resembles the ancient Greek style, with a one shouldered chiton and high strapped sandals. He also wears a kind of helmet. At the beginning he is described as follows (5): he is the son of Zeus, High father of the gods, He is a rogue, A hero, An avenger! Throughout the ages he has been known as Hercules, Prince of Power! Olympus is described as a high mountain no mortal can climb. Hercules refers to himself as the lion of Olympus. Therefore we see how the mythological elements of the character are maintained even in this fantasy- sci-fi setting. 

An addition of sensitivity to the otherwise buff character is presented via Hercules’ relations with his family. In the original myth Hercules’ family is mentioned in the terrible circumstances of their murder. In this universe, Hercules is aided by a loving family who supports him and fights besides him. He is part of a group and not a lonely hero anymore. He is even willing to sacrifice himself for his family, in contrast to the original myth in which he laboured to purge himself of their murders. Although he is loud and reckless, when it comes to his family Hercules is a mature and loving father figure, a role he could not play in the original myth. This could be seen as a kind of “what if” scenario; what if Hercules’ family loved and prospered and his offspring were as tough as he was. This graphic-novel character is being given the family life Hercules did not enjoy on earth.


Further Reading

Kovacs, George and Marshall, C.W. 2011. Classics and Comics. Oxford.

Kovacs, George and Marshall, C.W. 2016. Son of Classics and Comics. Oxford

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Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Hercules (Series, Book 1): Prince of Power

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

United States

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

1982

First Edition Details

Bob Layton, Hercules: Prince of Power. New York: Marvel. 1982, 200 pp.

ISBN

9780785139553

Genre

Action and adventure comics
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Comics (Graphic works)
Mythological comics
Mythological fiction

Target Audience

Crossover (Young adults and older children)

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, lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il

Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Courtesy of the Author.

Bob Layton (Author)

Bob is a highly prolific and imaginative American comic artist with over 5000 comic book credits. Bob works on comics as well as television and films. He worked for many companies, including Marvel and DC Comics. He reinvented the Iron man series in the 70s. He also launched one of the first mini-series in comic history, Hercules: the Prince of Power

Layton said in an interview that “it took a bit of pushing to have a finite series about a drunken super-hero published at Marvel… I loved the big dumb lug and I've always had a soft spot for forgotten secondary characters. Plus, I felt that Hercules hadn't found his niche' in the Marvel Universe, being relegated to supporting roles and such. Also...I felt that the Marvel books took themselves WAY too serious in those days. I wanted to lighten things up a bit. I've always enjoyed writing comedy and Herc was a perfect foil for my brand of humor” (Cited from online interview, accessed: June 27, 2018). 


Sources:

Official website (accessed: June 27, 2018).

Profile on Comic Vine (accessed: June 27, 2018).

Online interview (accessed: June 27, 2018). 


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


Summary

Hercules is the hero in a galactic setting; he has a family now which he needs to protect against all kinds of evils. Regarding the backstory, Hercules returns to Olympus and starts acting rowdily, as a result of which Zeus exiles him to the vast universe to learn some humility. He knew that he would be considered a god on earth and therefore sent him to roam the vast outer space. Hercules then begins his galactic adventures, even racing against a spaceship with his chariot. He changes his attire to a more super-heroic style (black and red tights and vest). Hercules confesses to his girlfriend, Lyana, that he promised himself not to fall in love with a mortal ever again, after she ages and died while he remained immortal.

Analysis

Even in space, 300 years into the future, Hercules’ attire resembles the ancient Greek style, with a one shouldered chiton and high strapped sandals. He also wears a kind of helmet. At the beginning he is described as follows (5): he is the son of Zeus, High father of the gods, He is a rogue, A hero, An avenger! Throughout the ages he has been known as Hercules, Prince of Power! Olympus is described as a high mountain no mortal can climb. Hercules refers to himself as the lion of Olympus. Therefore we see how the mythological elements of the character are maintained even in this fantasy- sci-fi setting. 

An addition of sensitivity to the otherwise buff character is presented via Hercules’ relations with his family. In the original myth Hercules’ family is mentioned in the terrible circumstances of their murder. In this universe, Hercules is aided by a loving family who supports him and fights besides him. He is part of a group and not a lonely hero anymore. He is even willing to sacrifice himself for his family, in contrast to the original myth in which he laboured to purge himself of their murders. Although he is loud and reckless, when it comes to his family Hercules is a mature and loving father figure, a role he could not play in the original myth. This could be seen as a kind of “what if” scenario; what if Hercules’ family loved and prospered and his offspring were as tough as he was. This graphic-novel character is being given the family life Hercules did not enjoy on earth.


Further Reading

Kovacs, George and Marshall, C.W. 2011. Classics and Comics. Oxford.

Kovacs, George and Marshall, C.W. 2016. Son of Classics and Comics. Oxford

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