On Strips: Hercules

By | Friday, February 20, 2015 Leave a Comment
Did you know there used to be a Hercules comic strip? No? Well, that's hardly surprising because there wasn't one. Maybe.

I recently came across this auction for a piece of original comic strip art featuring the Greek legend. Now, I'm not a huge expert on comic strips but I had certainly never heard of this one before.
The seller knows little about it. There's no date on it, and the signature is simply the initials "B.S." The illustration style would suggest an older work; my guess would be the 1940s, but that's just a rough guess. The illustration board is in excellent condition; a little yellowed, but that's about it. It also appears to be the very first installment of the strip, given the fairly straight-forward and obvious introduction.

I ran it past some comics historians, and they couldn't recollect hearing about it either. The suggestion was that it was done as a test or a proposal that was never ultimately picked up. They pointed out that there's no syndicate or copyright notification. And as I looked at it, too, the condition of the board itself is almost too pristine to have actually been used in the purposes of production. The corners and edges should be a lot more dinged up if it had gone past even just a photostat machine.

I'm sure it would be almost impossible to ascertain this art's origin at this point, and probably not nearly worth the effort for what I'm sure is a simple and humble story that doesn't go very far. But I kind of like the idea that we've got evidence of someone from about a half century ago thought they could make a go at drawing an adventure comic strip. For as many people who try their hand at webcomics today, thinking they could be the next Scott Kurtz, there was someone decades ago who thought he could be the next Hal Foster.
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