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Bob Layton , Ronald Ron Lim

Hercules: Twilight of a God (Series, Books 1-4)

YEAR: 2010

COUNTRY: United States of America

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Title of the work

Hercules: Twilight of a God (Series, Books 1-4)

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

United States

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2010

First Edition Details

Bob Layton and Ron Lim, Hercules: Twilight of a God vol. 1-4. New York: Marvel, 2010, 112 pp.

ISBN

9780785135463

Genre

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

Target Audience

Young adults (13 years and up)

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


Male portrait

Ronald Ron Lim , b. 1965
(Illustrator)

Ron is an American comic book artist from California. He mainly works on Marvel titles. Ron graduated with a BA in Graphic Arts at California State University, Sacramento.


Sources:

Official website (accessed: June 27, 2018). 

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

Online interview (accessed: January 15, 2018). 


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


Summary

In these 4 volumes of the comic book series, Hercules has been the champion of the Andromeda galaxy for over 75 years, together with his son and grandchildren. It is a part of the larger Marvel universe. The mythical hero is again placed in a sci-fi environment. It continues his adventures from the Prince of Power series and there are recurring characters. It seems that his comic book version is a kind of stereotypical cliché of the strong man without too many brains. In this retelling he is also forbidden to drink because of his medical conditions. Yet here he gets the love and support of a close family, especially his granddaughter. Hercules might be a grandfather now, seemingly passed his prime, yet his potency is still as strong as ever, as his dedication to his family. In a fitting end Hercules disappears in space, as if becoming a constellation again. The fourth volume ends with his son looking at a statue of his father, wearing a short skirt, like a Greek hero. So the past is commemorated in stone even in a faraway galaxy.

Analysis

From a stylistic point of view, it is interesting that even in the celestial-space setting, Hercules has a resemblance to ancient Greece. Although he does not wear a chiton but tights and a vest, his appearance resembles the ancient Greek character. In a retrospective before his death, Hercules remembers his previous adventures, where we see him wearing the one-shouldered chiton and fighting the hydra, yet at the same time joining a group of other super heroes like Captain America. In the marvel universe the super heroes’ culture is just as mythological as the ancient Greek mythology. Thus we have a nice reception of the mythological tale into a very different setting yet with the same hero. 

The author intended to make his hero goofy and a little slow-witted, yet Hercules does use his wits to defend his family and his home. It is a nice touch that by the end of the volume, after his heroic self-sacrifice, he is honored by a Greek-style statue which celebrates the mythological as well as the super-hero character. Hercules is given a warm family here and a long life, of which he was deprived in the original myth. His true accomplishments are not the 12 labours, but his family and the city he helped established and protect against many threats. He is a hero because he defended his loved ones (in a true super-hero fashion) and not just because he defeated all kinds of monsters. The only connection with the mythological tale is in Hercules’ muscle man appearance, his name, and a few glimpses to his past adventures. Other than that this graphic novels give Hercules new adventures in another dimension.


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: Twilight of a God (Series, Books 1-4)

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

United States

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2010

First Edition Details

Bob Layton and Ron Lim, Hercules: Twilight of a God vol. 1-4. New York: Marvel, 2010, 112 pp.

ISBN

9780785135463

Genre

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

Target Audience

Young adults (13 years and up)

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


Male portrait

Ronald Ron Lim (Illustrator)

Ron is an American comic book artist from California. He mainly works on Marvel titles. Ron graduated with a BA in Graphic Arts at California State University, Sacramento.


Sources:

Official website (accessed: June 27, 2018). 

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

Online interview (accessed: January 15, 2018). 


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


Summary

In these 4 volumes of the comic book series, Hercules has been the champion of the Andromeda galaxy for over 75 years, together with his son and grandchildren. It is a part of the larger Marvel universe. The mythical hero is again placed in a sci-fi environment. It continues his adventures from the Prince of Power series and there are recurring characters. It seems that his comic book version is a kind of stereotypical cliché of the strong man without too many brains. In this retelling he is also forbidden to drink because of his medical conditions. Yet here he gets the love and support of a close family, especially his granddaughter. Hercules might be a grandfather now, seemingly passed his prime, yet his potency is still as strong as ever, as his dedication to his family. In a fitting end Hercules disappears in space, as if becoming a constellation again. The fourth volume ends with his son looking at a statue of his father, wearing a short skirt, like a Greek hero. So the past is commemorated in stone even in a faraway galaxy.

Analysis

From a stylistic point of view, it is interesting that even in the celestial-space setting, Hercules has a resemblance to ancient Greece. Although he does not wear a chiton but tights and a vest, his appearance resembles the ancient Greek character. In a retrospective before his death, Hercules remembers his previous adventures, where we see him wearing the one-shouldered chiton and fighting the hydra, yet at the same time joining a group of other super heroes like Captain America. In the marvel universe the super heroes’ culture is just as mythological as the ancient Greek mythology. Thus we have a nice reception of the mythological tale into a very different setting yet with the same hero. 

The author intended to make his hero goofy and a little slow-witted, yet Hercules does use his wits to defend his family and his home. It is a nice touch that by the end of the volume, after his heroic self-sacrifice, he is honored by a Greek-style statue which celebrates the mythological as well as the super-hero character. Hercules is given a warm family here and a long life, of which he was deprived in the original myth. His true accomplishments are not the 12 labours, but his family and the city he helped established and protect against many threats. He is a hero because he defended his loved ones (in a true super-hero fashion) and not just because he defeated all kinds of monsters. The only connection with the mythological tale is in Hercules’ muscle man appearance, his name, and a few glimpses to his past adventures. Other than that this graphic novels give Hercules new adventures in another dimension.


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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