Super Heroes can often trace the lineage of their creation back many years. Batman originated in 1939 in Detective Comics #39, The Shadow debuted in The Shadow Magazine #1 in 1931 and John Carter of Mars made his first foray to the red planet in 1911.
Yet, even these heroes' distant heritage pales in comparison to that of Marvel's Hercules. Ever since Marvel adopted the mythological birth of Hercules as cannon, the genesis of the prince of power now dates from 600BCE to 500 BCE. This is the approximate date of some Corinthian pottery that depicted scenes of Hercules and the centaur Pholos. Over the last 25oo years, Hercules has got up to all sorts of mischief. Here are the worst things that Hercules has ever done.
10 Murdered His Family
Weren't expecting that were you? Forgot Disney's wipe clean version of the Hercules myth, the real reason Hercules had to undertake the twelve labors is that he murdered his entire family. Originally the story was that Hera, the third wife of Zeus, punished Hercules for his unwanted existence by cursing him to go insane with insatiable blood lust.
In The Incredible Hercules #115, it is revealed that Hera had nothing to do with Hercules's crime. Instead, it was due to a betrayal that he gave in to rage and murdered his family. "I lost control," Hercules told Amadeus Cho, "I could no longer tell friend from foe and I didn't care that there was a difference".
9 Responsible For The Death of Chiron
During a meal with Chiron, the wisest and kindest of all the centaurs, Hercules and his sidekick Pholus decided to drink some sacred wine. The vapors from this fine vintage wafted far and wide, attracting all of the other wild centaurs. These centaurs, led by Nessus, were driven into a frenzy by the delightful smell and attacked.
Hercules killed most of their number with poison arrows, giving chase to the fearful few who survived. After he'd left Chiron, the gentlest and kindest of the centaurs, emerged from his cave to observe the carnage and picked up a discarded arrow to inspect it. The head of the arrow grazed his skin and he promptly died.
8 Committed Genocide
Genocide is an atrocity. It's also something that Hercules has had a hand in. Remember all those centaurs that Hercules killed? Hercules tracked the survivors far and wide, killing them as he went. The sole survivor, Nessus, managed to escape and took a job ferrying people across the river Eunou. Well, for a little while at least.
After his labors were completed, Hercules married Deianeira. They came to cross the river Eunou and, as revenge for the death of his fellow centaurs, Nessus tried to kidnap Deianeria. Hercules promptly shot him with a poison arrow and thus the last centaur died. Hercules had singlehandedly wiped out an entire species.
7 Incredible Infidelity
Hercules has been married on several occasions but that hasn't stopped him from furrowing the fields, unleashing the purple dragon or baking the potato with many others. Ultimately this led to his mortal death.
As Nessus the centaur died from his wounds, he told Deianira that if Hercules should ever stray she should take some of the centaur's blood to use as a love charm. She must dip Hercules' shirt in the blood and once he wore it the demigod would never have eyes for another. Of course, the blood was now poisoned, so once Hercules popped his clothes back on he had to set himself on fire and burn to death in order to stop the pain.
6 He Killed Many Amazons
Hercules 9th Labor was to obtain the Girdle of Hippolyta. Hippolyta was the queen of the Amazons, a race of mysterious warrior women who lived on the island of Themyscira. In the Marvel version of the labor, which closely follows the Mythological account, Hercules seduces Hippolyta in an attempt to steal away her Girdle.
Hera uses her divine power to make the Amazons think that Hercules is there to kill Hippolyta. So what do they do? Try to attack Hercules and, as the centaurs learned, that's a really bad idea. Rather than try to resolve matters with a conversation, Hercules instead elects to kill swathes of Amazons as he makes his escape.
5 He Killed His Sibling
Admittedly Athena - God of Wisdom and Hercules' half-sister - was in full on bad guy mode at this time. During the midst of Marvel's Chaos War event (a confused but ultimately entertaining crossover), it was revealed that Athena had sided with the villainous Mikaboshi in order to kick start a new big bang.
Despite all that Athena had done for Hercules in the past, including being responsible for his birth, Hercules turns her into dust with barely a tear in his eye. Don't worry, this being the Marvel Universe she'll soon be brought back to life.
4 He Married his Half-Sister
No, not Athena. Athena isn't a step-sister as such, as she arrived fully formed out of Zeus' skull when he complained of a headache, because Ancient Mythology.
Hercules actually married Hebe, the goddess of youth and cupbearer of the gods. Hebe is the third child of Zeus and Hera, meanwhile, Hercules is the son of Zeus and Alcmene. Clearly related then. Which makes their estranged marriage in the comics particularly icky.
3 He Murdered Someone Else's Family
After he completed his labors, Hercules fell in love with Princess Lole - are you keeping track of all these love interests? The princesses' father, King Eurytus, promised his daughter to whoever could best his sons in an archery contest. Hercules could, of course.
King Eurytus hadn't learned the lessons of the Amazons and the Centaurs, so he decided to renege on his promise. As retribution Hercules not only killed Eurytus, he killed most of his sons as well and then kidnapped Lole. Hero or sociopath?
2 He Destroyed An Entire City
Both in Mythology and Marvel, Hercules is known for ransacking an entire city. Long before ankles, Trojan horses and a face that could launch a thousand ships, Troy was ruled by the King Laomedon. Troy was under attack from a hideous sea monster which Laomedan had asked Hercules to kill in return for the gift of some divine horses. Which Hercules did in short order.
Laomedan didn't learn from the Amazons, the Centaurs or Eurytus however and refused to give the horses, a gift from Zeus, to Hercules. The prince of power later returned and sacked Troy, killing Laomedan and most of his sons in the process.
1 He Killed His Music Teacher
Learning to play a musical instrument can be a difficult and frustrating task, but that doesn't excuse beating your music teacher to death with their own musical instrument for correcting your mistakes. Which is exactly what Hercules did to Linus.
Hercules also killed King Amyntor for not allowing him to enter his kingdom (can you blame him after what happened to the other kings?) and he killed Augeus and most of his sons for refusing him a promised reward for clearing the Aegean stables (though in Marveldom it was the Forgotten One who completed this labor).
Let's face it, Hercules has amassed a bigger body count than Rambo, Colonel Matrix and Robocop combined.