Sunday, April 6, 2014


I know everyone is distrought over the end of my IRON MAN by David Michelinie and Bob Layton reviews. But I have something on the schedule to soothe that sting ever so slightly -- more Bob Layton, working on the Marvel character he is probably identified with most after Iron Man.

In 1982, Layton wrote and drew one of Marvel's very first limited series, HERCULES: PRINCE OF POWER. This began a years-long association between Layton and the Olympian demi-god. A second Layton-produced HERCULES mini-series appeared in 1984, followed in 1988 by an original graphic novel entitled HERCULES: FULL CIRCLE. Layton also contributed some Hercules stories to the anthology series MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS and MARVEL TALES around the same time. Then, after more than two decades, Layton returned to the character in 2010 for one final saga, titled TWILIGHT OF A GOD.

I had known about these stories for years, but never had an opportunity to read them until recently. Marvel released two hardcover editions collecting all of Layton's vintage Hercules material in 2009, and I picked them both up a few years later at a very nice discount. TWILIGHT OF A GOD can also be found, in trade paperback format, for bargain basement prices as well (it's also available on Marvel's Digital Unlimited service, for those who subscribe).

So -- are the low aftermarket rates any signifier of the quality of Layton's stories? Or did Marvel overprint them because they knew they were classics deserving of a ubiquitous bookstore presence? We will soon find out, as I'm about to spend the next four Fridays on Layton's Hercules material.


  1. I loved the Layton stuff. Hercules became one of my favorite characters after I got the 1st mini-series . Did the two books you show above , collect all of those Marvel Comics Presents & Marvel Tales stories as well?

    1. Thanks for reading, Steve! Yes, between both books, you will have, as far as I know, all of Layton's vintage Hercules work as both writer and artist. I think he may have been involved in a handful of other Herc-related stories as an inker, and those aren't included. But otherwise this should be all of it.

      The first volume, PRINCE OF POWER, collects both limited series. Then FULL CIRCLE includes the graphic novel of that title, as well as the MARVEL TALES short and the MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS serial.