Sunday, July 3, 2022

Brendan McGinley:


Marvel revisits the debut of Venom and Hercules in a Marvel Milestone that isn’t quite what it appears to be, but is golden nonetheless.



Marvel Milestones: Venom & Hercules

Not even Stan Lee could reasonably label the first appearance of Hercules a milestone, but his imitators at Marvel try anyway. Since the mythical mighty-man just got a limited series, his first appearance gets lumped into a reprint with the much-more popular Venom’s debut — or at least the Venom suit’s debut on the last page of an issue that’s mostly about Marvel’s elite heroes kicking the snot out of some C-list villains in Secret Wars.

Despite the cynicism of the reprint, these prove to be highly readable stories, with Jim Shooter’s human characters showing themselves outstanding against much of the cheesier writing of the time, and some great Mike Zeck art.

The Thor issue Hercules first appears in catches Jack Kirby on a day when he didn’t have five other comics to draw, and Stan Lee’s writing has a low cheese-quotient in this story with dialogue that tucks trimly into the story, rather than gravy ladled on a tale told entirely by Kirby.

You can see why Thor hung in long enough to coast as Marvel property today. It’s a study in how two immensely strong gods creatively beat the marbles out of each other, and there’s no faulting that kind of success.




Brendan McGinley is a long-time writer for ComicBase. His comic favorites include anything featuring Grim Jack, Punisher, Guy Gardner, Green Lantern, or written buy Evan Dorkin, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Deadpool… and the list goes on. But he insists he is of discriminating tastes.

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