“The ancient gods were petty and cruel, and they plagued mankind with suffering. Only one man dared to challenge their power: Hercules! Hercules possessed a strength the world had never seen, a strength surpassed only by the power of his heart. He journeyed the Earth, battling the minions of his wicked stepmother Hera, the all-powerful queen of the gods. But wherever there was evil, whenever an innocent would suffer, there would be Hercules!”
Hercules is the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and said to be the strongest half-god in all the world. He was the hero of the times, and he loved the simple people more than the fame and glory of the Olympian deities who always seemed to meddle in the affairs of humans. And some animals. Hercules found that most of the time when trouble ensued, and there was a plaguing and suffering, the gods were involved. He became disillusioned by this fact. He could never understand that with such power and knowledge, why the gods were so petty and cruel. Hercules possessed street smarts. A scholar of the streetwise and fighting the rising odds.
Hercules suffered a great deal of torment, pain, loss, and Paparazzi. He was subjected to abuse by those who did evil. He was also much admired and loved by the normal people who weren't trying to rule the world or sacrifice things in order to appease the gods. Normal people as opposed to sheeple, that is. Hercules didn't confront sheeple, but they were always trying to present their pet wolf in sheep's clothing as a friend. The knowledge and patience of Hercules was so sharp that he would ignore the wayward barnyard humans and allow the wolf to eventually get them into a position where they had no other choice but to offer up one of their own to feed their pet sheep that wasn't like the others. When normal people talked with Hercules, it was always pleasant and friendly. Whenever Hercules tried to talk to sheeple, however, they would bleat and claim that they were unicorns. Hercules stopped having any association with them for his own peace of mind. He could not imagine a sheep of any size with a horn on its head. When he tried, he kept picturing a cloud with a giant toothpick on the side.
So was the legacy of Hercules, the hero of the average man and woman, the normal animals, and a scholar of all things that should be. Never allowing sheep-wolf-cloud-unicorn-toothpicks to alter the state of the world at large, and to keep the classical era of Greek mythology as canon as possible. While kicking the asses of all those who would do such nasty things to people. And animals.
Early Life, Friends, Family
The early life of Hercules is somewhat of a mystery. There were reports that he had been hanging around Jesus and healing the blind and sick. The rumors were compounded with eye witnesses who claimed he was not only in defiance of the Roman Empire, he was plotting the demise of the Roman emperor himself. Of course, Roman emperors came and went and Hercules was always quicker than some people gave him credit for. Even for a kid. After a while the fuss died down when neither he or Jesus killed any emperors. There was that one time when they took down a Roman legion of badgers and squirrels but the Romans allowed it since they didn't know how that situation got out of hand. Hercules laughed and mocked them like any normal boy would. But his strength even at that time, was beginning to show its true nature and power. Hercules pointed and laughed at the Romans, but he knocked over a tree they were hiding in, just to laugh even harder at them. Hercules really didn't like the Romans.
Zeus came down in a cloud, stepped off of it like it was an escalator and asked Hercules to begin his training to be the strongest man in the world. Hercules liked the sound of that, but pictured himself being pumped out, and feared that may hurt his ballet lessons. He wanted to be a dancer when he grew up. But Zeus was concerned about his son and told him to meet some girls. Start dating. Look to having his own family and in that regard, he would blend in with other mortals and Hera would stop bitching at him about grandchildren.
Hercules had no problems finding women, and soon enough he did settle down with someone who took delight in offering Aphrodite the best gifts ever for blessing her with a hunk like Hercules. However fate was cruel and was acting a bitch so Hera had to cause some problems in Hercules's life. Herc's wife caught wind of the plans of the jealous goddess and moved quickly to avoid any nastiness. Consulting Apollo, she began to gather an army of ninjas and had the local smithy forge swords and other weapons to take down Hera's army. Which consisted mainly of banana peels.
What happened next was a rare instance in which Hera drove Hercules mad. Hercules became so paranoid that he felt he had nowhere to turn, so he sought out his friend Jesus Christ. He looked everywhere for him. In Rome. In Britannia. In the Ocean. But to no avail. He threatened the heavens to either cough up Jesus, tell him where to find him, or face the ultimate practical joke of which would go down in history making the gods a complete laughing stock. So Zeus caved in and told Hercules that Jesus was busy in a Middle Eastern desert doing a 40 Day and Night tour. Hercules was very disappointed.
With no way to contact Jesus, who was apparently also dealing with Hera's wrath, walking all by himself, not even stopping for lunch, and probably dying of exposure, Hercules went home and told his wife he had to take care of some business. He planned to kill the Roman soldiers in his ongoing paranoia, and he was utterly convinced they were going to kill Jesus. So he wanted to get them before they could get his friend. When Hercules took down most of the Roman rookies, he ran off into the desert. After three or four days, he fell over exhausted. To his surprise, Jesus walked up to him, and helped him up. When Hercules asked him what the hell he was doing in the desert, Jesus told him that Satan was trying to sell him real estate. Then they laughed because obviously Satan was so stupid. Jesus then instructed his friend to return to his homeland and go on with his training. Jesus could not allow his friend to wander around for over a month in the desert with a rotten real estate agent. Hercules agreed and had to be dragged out of the desert by Jesus.
While Hercules was trying to recuperate from almost dying in the desert, Hera was determined to kill everything Hercules loved. Hera tried to kill his entire family for unleashing a horde of ninjas on her. Hercules tried to stop Hera from turning his wife into a lamb but he wasn't fast enough. Then Hera turned his kids into cabbages. It wasn't a pretty sight. Hercules vowed to have his revenge. He consulted with Apollo, who echoed Zeus and Jesus about training and getting into shape. Then after he met the criteria for world's strongest hero, he would resurrect his family. And gather more ninja forces to take Hera down once and for all.
Training and Bodybuilding
After Hercules sailed to through the Bermuda Triangle to find a coach, Apollo came to him and told him he must serve Eurystheus, king of Tiryns and to stop trying to stir up Poseidon. Hercules once mentioned in an interview that he didn't want to subject himself to the rigorous training of bodybuilding as given by Zeus or any god, because they were well known for playing tricks, that there was always a catch. But he obliged his father and went ahead with Apollo's advice. Of course the whole training program was a set up. Hercules was already quite the hunk, but the gods wanted something and so a list of his tasks to complete was delivered to him via Hermes with a complete set of exercise equipment. These were the labors Hercules had to complete, and all the regimens to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Task One: Slay the Nemean Liar
Hercules didn't know much about the guy, so he started asking questions to everyone in Nemea to narrow down who the liar was. The questions he would ask were simple and easy to understand. If anyone answered incorrectly, he would know who the liar was and then choke him to death on the spot. But what Hercules didn't know was that everyone in Nemea was retarded and school educated in the public schools and colleges of North America. So after ten people couldn't answer simple questions, Hercules rounded them up, threw them in a paddy wagon and delivered the population of Nemea to Canada.
Task Two: Slay the Lernean Hydra
The hydra species was well known to Hercules as well as everyone else in the world at that time. Hercules didn't mind killing another hydra, but it was redundant since Hercules was usually doing this sort of thing before the infamous invention of the whack-a-mole monster that came out of the ground and ate people. He brought the slain hydra to Apollo and told him to barbecue it however he liked, he wasn't hungry and wasn't staying for a cookout.
Task Three: Capture the Golden Humpback Whale
At first Hercules thought it would just take a really big net. After trying to drag the net back aboard the Ocean Cruise Liner, he realized he would actually need a bigger boat. Twenty attempts and failures later, it dawned on him to keep the whale in the ocean and simply turn it into a gigantic aquarium. Hercules lured the whale into the massive glass wall enclosure where it would spend the rest of its life. Hercules asked the gods why they wanted a life-sized whale habitat, and are they trying to compete with Sea World. He didn't get a satisfactory answer so he let the whale loose, only to discover that it was willing to do stupid tricks for food.
Task Four: Silence the Egregious Bore
The Egregious Bore was one of the main reasons the gods had stopped hosting parties and galas at their palaces throughout the Greek Empire. Boredom was the one being, entity, thing, that the gods fought against but could never defeat. But Hercules was asked to silence this thing. Hercules didn't know how to do it, why would he? This was a stupid task. Hercules fell asleep so many times he ended up putting earphones on, so he wouldn't hear any of it. It worked. The gods were still pissed but Hercules did silence the Bore. It still counted, even if he was the only one who couldn't hear it anymore.
Task Five: Clean the Stables of Jurassic Park
The god of polyester, Rayonus Leisuresuiteus, had never expected to end up at a theme park where the attractions actually ate the guests but there he was, in Jurassic Park. Also known as This Place Sucks. How Hercules ended up with the task at hand, was simply because Zeus, and all the rest had refused to venture into another infernal place and ignored the cries, pleading, and screams of their dancing maniac cousin. Rayonus had already broke them when he talked them into visiting another infernal situation that came to be known as the Disco Inferno. But this task required only that Hercules clean the stables. In this case, stables that were the size of airplane hangars. This was no problem for Hercules considering that the park had numerous waterfalls that he made use of. By building a makeshift aqueduct, he re-routed the water to flood through the stables and clear them out. Unfortunately it also caused the evolving dinosaurs of the Jurassic and Triassic periods to adapt back into what they were during the Paleozoic era. Hercules didn't remember to take the park's attractions out of the stable before blasting them clean, but Rayonus never complained since he was free to boogie on out of sight. Hercules thought it was bizarre, but cool. Literally. Then he split.
Task six: Feed the Pigeons
This was easy, Hercules thought, but the particular pigeons he had to feed were titans. The pigeons themselves all had their own tastes and some had food allergies and some were vegan. Some could only eat what their dietician recommended and some were just downright gluttonous. Or gluten-free. Whatever. Hercules had to cook individual meals for a bunch of pigeons that were more like giant winged dolphins. They also sounded like dolphins. Putting on chef's hat and apron, Hercules served up gourmet food and fine wine until the pigeons all had their fill. When he went back over the menu, he was shocked that some of the dishes were quail and duck. Hercules shook his head and told the gods their pigeons were cannibalistic racists. The gods agreed, but nothing could be done against the Democrat Party at that time.
Task Seven: Feed the Goldfish and Kill Their Tormentor the Cretan Bull
All he had to do was feed the goldfish, but they turned their nose up at anything Hercules brought them. Moreover, he was confused by the part about killing the Cretan Bull. What is this? He thought. But when the fish started popping out of their ponds and fishbowls to talk about the beast that ran through their little house and garden, causing the ground to rumble and the china and other items to fall off the shelves, Hercules realized it was a living hell for the fish. They needed peace and quiet. Hercules was already given the order so if he backed down, this would count as a task that was not completed. How bad could it be? He wondered. Just kill a cow and be done with it. But Hercules came up with another plan. Smuggling some ambrosia into their water, the fish ate the super food and became mutant, beast-hunting fish. In fact it was as if Hercules had turned them into sharks. Except they were golden, with mermaid-like scales and no big scary teeth. When the Cretan Bull came galloping along, stampeding through where the fish lived, the fish caught and ate the beast. Little bites at a time. Hercules checked off another task completed.
Task Eight: Bring Back The Diamonds That Horses Have Stolen
One of the weirdest tasks set to Hercules involved a gang of horses who had stolen the diamonds. When Hercules asked who the diamonds belonged to, the gods told him they owned the diamonds. The hero was approached by Cartier, Tiffany, and Dollar General who told him the diamonds were stolen from them first. Hercules began to suspect that the gods were once again lying to him. Hiding details from him. Details that could possibly expose the criminal activity of the gods. Naturally, Hercules could just make diamonds from ordinary coal due to his strength and hotness, but he did have this sneaky personality to do things just because he could. Speaking with the horses that had stolen the diamonds, they let Hercules know that the gods, Cartier, and the rest were trying to use them in races to pay off gambling debts. Herc came up with an idea. Allowing the horses to keep the diamonds, and to appease the gods by completing the task, Hercules built a race track for the gods but they had to give the horses anything they wanted in return for owning the horses, and the races. The gods would call it the Lucky Derby. But the joke was still on the gods as the horses wanted to wear the bling and that did involve all the diamonds they stole. The horses also wanted their own stables with room service, spa treatments, and wine. So while the gods did get the diamonds back, they came with the horses as accessories. Cartier, Tiffany, and Dollar General just had to deal with it. Later it would prove that Dollar General was more business savvy and could gamble without losing their horses.
Task Nine: Stir Up Trouble With the Amazons
The Amazons were hunting centaurs in the longest valley of the shortest mountain range, located in southern Macedonia which was still north of anything else. Hercules was told to start a war with them to go against a certain Cyclops, and in order to do that, he had to ask to be part of their tribe. Hercules knew this wouldn't go over well as he had already dated half the women and was close to Xena: Warrior Princess on top of that. He would have to explain why he didn't call back, and why Xena had started hanging out with Pamela Anderson all of a sudden. This was a situation he really wanted to avoid. The first order of business was to find out why the Centaurs were guarding a creature like a Cyclops to begin with. Before he could get anything from the Amazons, he had to do a tribal dance in a grass skirt and coconut shells. You know that Ares was watching all this unfold and laughing so loud that it echoed through the mountains. But as Hercules was about to get out of there and call it quits, Xena came to his rescue. After he was properly taken care of by Xena and Pamela Anderson, he could hear Ares crying softly in the distance. It was discovered that the gods wanted the Cyclops dead but they couldn't do it themselves because of the curse on the Centaurs and only the Amazons could get close enough to any of those freaks. Hercules asked Zeus if all he wanted was to kill the Cyclops why get all the Amazons up in arms? This was never explained but Hercules could guess. It was so the gods could watch half-naked women taking down a beast like that. So he stirred up trouble with the Amazons by telling them the gods were trying to get the Cyclops to be their leader. They naturally went after the one-eyed giant and threw it into the sea. Then Hercules told them the gods were throwing a costume party for them. When they showed up all decked out in feathers and grass skirts and noticed the hosts were all in togas, they got drunk and so loud the police were called. The Centaurs were still wondering what kind of costume to wear.
Task Ten: Milk the Cows
Hercules milked some cows. He started by interrogating them. He milked them for every piece of information they had. There was a point when Hercules had to play Good Cop, Bad Cop. The cows divulged all they knew. He milked many scenes where the cows came home to roost. By the end of the day, Hercules felt he had enough in his report to deliver to the gods. As records show, some cows were obviously lying. Evidence and witness testimony exposed the false bovines. Hercules fulfilled his duty. The gods told him they would find something to do with the info that Hercules wrote in his report about eating hay all day, sleeping all night, standing in a field, mooing, and making cow patties from their butts.
Task Eleven: Steal Some Golden Apples
When Eurystheus saw that Hercules was completing his extreme training and body building, he figured he'd step in and demand two more labors from the bronze half-god drop-dead gorgeous hunk of a man. So he went up to Hercules and asked him where his friend the Prince of Thieves may be hiding. Hercules scoffed and slapped Eurystheus upside the head and told him he was confused and that his friend was indeed the King of Thieves. At that point Eurystheus cut to the chase and made his demand of Hercules, that he shall steal the golden apples from an island beyond the edge of the world.
Because this was just shrinelifting, Hercules agreed. He knew his friend would also love to come along. So Hercules and Bruce headed out to the far off island. After almost a year, they finally asked for directions. Three women told them to go to the beach and find the weird guy in a tuxedo and he would tell them. But that's not what happened. The weird guy started to chase them all over the beach with a cane. Then finally collapsed and gave them the location of a giant Ogre who would tell them where the golden apples were.
But this didn't go well. The giant picked up both Hercules and his friend and tossed them into Atlas's face. It angered Atlas causing him to throw the large world trophy thing that he was holding at the giant. This killed the giant and Hercules went over and picked up the world trophy object. Atlas was shocked and told Hercules he would do whatever he wanted if he would keep the trophy for a spell. Hercules mentioned that he needed to steal some golden apples but would appreciate it if Atlas would do that for him. Atlas agreed to those terms and started off. But Bruce said "Hold on a moment!" and there was no way he wasn't going to let Atlas take off with all the glory and the apples too! Atlas shrugged and agreed to take Bruce with him. When they obtained the apples, they couldn't believe how easy it was. Coming back to where Hercules was waiting, Atlas noticed that Hercules wasn't holding the world trophy. Hercules told him to relax, that it was tied up at the dock. When Atlas rushed to the dock, it wasn't there.
It was embarrassing for Hercules to see the thing had been stolen. He said he would get it back for Atlas if it meant the world to him. So off the three of them went and looked for Robin Hood, who apparently hijacked the trophy world. After trading the golden apples for the trophy, Atlas ordered Hercules and Bruce to scram, they were too much trouble for him. They were like a certain pair of magicians and they annoyed him. But Bruce was clever, and Hercules knew he was. Returning to Eurystheus, they weren't empty-handed. Bruce and Hercules produced a golden banana and a shiny orange for the king completing the task. It was blingy fruit and thus counted.
Task Twelve: Stop the Three-headed Dog Who Barked All Night
Eurystheus had one final mission for Hercules and that involved going to Hades and getting the three-headed canine to stop barking all the time. When Hercules arrived, he saw that there was indeed a three-headed dog and it was barking. So Hercules unchained the poor thing, brought it back to Eurystheus palace and gave the mutt a bath. He then took the beast to the vet, where he was checked out and given a few mild treatments for worms and medicine to fight against fleas and ticks. Eurystheus was surprised by all of what Hercules did for the hound, but once Hercules had the king play ball with the dog, he was so overwhelmed by how good the doggie was at fetching things. Despite having three heads, the dog grew on Eurystheus and the dog adopted the king. Of course this didn't go over well with Hades, who was the dog's owner. But Hercules informed him that if he even so much as tried anything, he would alert animal services and tell them the condition he had kept the poor dog in and then lead law enforcement over to where he was keeping a Minotaur. Hades wisely backed off.
Personal War With the Gods
The gods: Hercules! Get off of the clouds!
Hercules: Make me!
The Gods: You must obey, you are only half a god!
Hercules: Bite me!
The Gods: How dare you! Insolent half-mortal!
Hercules: I dared! And I dare you to do something about it!
The Gods: We shall burn Atlantis until it cooks like a furnace on steroids!
Hercules: What are you trying to say?
The Gods: I don't know.
This was the kind of thing that Hercules dealt with almost on a daily basis. The gods were petty and cruel. And they plagued mankind with suffering ...
Hercules: Would you shut up?! They already know!
Superstar and Hottest Man Alive
There exist very long lists of these types of celebrated heroes, issues dating back to the Stone Age. More publications were unearthed during the Middle Ages where the Greek legends had been featured long ago. When these scrolls were dug up they were perfectly preserved in tin cans and ziplock baggies, and some even came with a floppy disc.
The International Association of Trendy & Frivolous Awards ran a yearly theme of "Sexiest Man Alive" in all their magazines and newsletters back in those times. The main reason, because it was there. It was a very popular publication, and it had hundreds of subscribers during the Bronze Age.
Hercules soon rose up the ranks and rivaled even the hottest man in a thousand years, John F. Kennedy Jr. But Hercules wasn't interested in much of that scene. He insisted that he was just a regular half-god who enjoyed walks on the beach, even if it was along the river Styx, and hung out with his friends on the weekends. He did all kinds of normal things. He cooked, large fires were usually called for when dinner consisted of giant wildlife. He rode horses, even when they could sometimes fly. He swept porches, even though they were sometimes situated on rocky dangerous cliffs. He'd go fishing, although lots of rivers and seas were vulnerable to sea monsters and titans that often ate those who dared catch them with a hook or net. He was into puzzles, especially in mazes that tested one's skill at survival or die if one failed. Went for walks on the beach, this was often avoided since sea monsters could still reach out and grab beach-goers. These were normal, everyday things.
The Association wanted to do a massive edition of all of Hercules's heroic deeds and exploits. Hercules was polite but wondered why all the attention when most of his past successes were so long ago that only Homer could possibly do his life story any justice. But he thought about how that may make him seem ancient and not all that hot. So he agreed to more interviews and photo sessions.
The publication went to the ends of the earth and spared no expense to get the full scope of the life and times of their new star. Hercules showed them around the old ruins of the former Greek Empire, and the monsters that he battled. This was difficult to capture in photos as there were still excavations at the sites where those battles had happened. But Hercules assured them the bones that were being dug up were definitely those of the terrible Hydra, and a giant snake that could swallow fifty people at once.
Hercules then showed them the area of the sea where he took on the Kraken and if they dove down deep enough, they would see the surprised look on its face as the water had perfectly preserved it. Then casually said to ignore any rumors that it was still alive and could rise up and start something. They took his word for it.
Hercules then showed them around the countryside where he grew up. Pointing out a pile of rocks where a large castle once stood on the top of a mountain. He explained that he had to climb down it every day to gather food, and then climb back up, to make feasts for his family. Then he explained how hard it was to carry bags of groceries up a steep mountain. Then he showed them the local watering well, or where it once was, and told them about his daily struggles to fetch water in large vats made of marble so it was cool and fresh to drink. Mentioning again that he had to carry all that up the side of a mountain.
The publication was amazed at his strength and gave him the prestigious award of being the world's strongest man alive, as well as the hottest. John F. Kennedy Jr. was pursuing an acting career anyway and reclaimed his notoriety by becoming the famous Paris who took down Achilles with an arrow.
The original Paris was apparently unavailable and his agent wouldn't say much only that it was a mistake going to back to Troy after visiting France and then visiting Sparta where he found Helen. When pressed about what mistake the original Paris had made, his agent would only mumble something about getting trapped in a horse after some Greek soldiers fell out of it.
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