Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and seventh installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the weekly three legends. Click here for Part of this week's legends.
Incredible Hercules was originally going to be a superhero team book called The Renegades.
One of the most underrated gems at Marvel during the Dark Reign/Secret Invasion era was Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente's Incredible Hercules series, where Hercules teamed up with Amadeus Cho to go on a great number of awesome adventures.
If nothing else, the series introduced one of the all-time great comic book-related memes, when a Clayton Henry panel of Hercules giving the thumbs up became a popular internet meme that people use when they want to sarcastically tell someone that they're telling a boring story (by saying "Cool story, Bro," along with Hercules giving the thumbs up)...
In any event, what's interesting about this awesome comic book run is that if Greg Pak had had his way, this run technically never would have started, since he originally pitched Marvel on Hercules and Amadeus Cho being part of a superhero team!
During the Incredible Hulk tie-in issues to the World War Hulk event (which Pak also wrote), Pak had Amadeus Cho put together a team of superheroes who dared to break from the rest of the superhero world to actually defend the Hulk during his revenge attack on Earth (after the Illuminati had trapped him and sent him to another planet - the Hulk wasn't even necessarily mad about that, but then the ship he was sent in exploded and killed the Hulk's new alien wife and he assumed that the heroes always intended for it to explode). It is not that they agreed with the Hulk, but they thought that the Hulk shouldn't be treated as a pure enemy.
They called themselves The Renegades and they were quite an eclectic mix of superheroes...
Hercules, Angel, Namora and Scorpion, with Amadeus Cho pulling the strings.
THAT team was originally going to continue into their own series.
In a great interview at MTV Geek about the end of their run on Incredible Hercules, Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente discussed how they first got together on Incredible Hercules...
FVL: I got a phone call from Nate Cosby who said, "Do you want to co-write Incredible Hulk with Greg Pak?" And I said, "Do I?" And then he said, "Except Hulk isn't going to be in it, Hercules is." And I said, "Are you high?"
GP: As I was wrapping up "World War Hulk," I'd been talking with my editors Mark Paniccia and Nate Cosby about launching a "Renegades" book starring the team that sided with the Hulk during his war in Manhattan. But Mark gently pointed out that my schedule was insanely tight and that maybe I should consider a co-writer. Nate hooked me up with Fred and we were off to the races. Alas, "Renegades" wasn't approved -- there were apparently too many team books being launched at the time. But a few weeks later, Mark came back and asked if we'd be interested in writing a buddy book with Herc and Amadeus. And the rest is... continuity! (ba dum dum)
This sure seems like one of those things where the alternate plan definitely ended up being the better one, as I don't know if a Renegades book would have lasted as long as Incredible Hercules did, so I think in the long run, we lucked out, but the original idea was a good one, too (and I will admit that at the time, I assumed it was meant to lead into a Renegades spinoff book, so it's good to know that that WAS the original intent).
Thanks to Greg and Fred for the info!
Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Were people seriously worried about whether Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would blind the audience?
Check back later for the final part of this week's Comic Book Legends Revealed!