Lieutenant Hercules enjoys his super powers. Artist: Al Liederman.


Medium: Comic books
Original Publisher: Spark Publications
First Appeared: 1944
Creators: H.L. Gold (writer) and Al Liederman (artist)
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Lieutenant Hercules (no relation) (him either) (nor him) (nope) wasn't exactly what you'd call a giant in the superhero field. The first indication of that was his physical size — he wasn't short like Wash Tubbs and Mickey Mouse were short, but his stature was definitely below average; and he was a lightweight …

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… even for his height. He made up a little of the heft with a slight paunch, but that only added to his image as the "before" part of a classic Charles Atlas ad. He even wore glasses, an infallible indicator of wimpiness according to the clichés ot the time. His regular name was Wilbur Klutz (no relation). His superhero suit consisted of a cape augmenting red long johns, like Supersnipe, The Red Tornado and Super Goof wore.

He seems to have been aware of his status as a non-powerhouse of a superhero by his choice of monicker, allowing himself to be outranked by Captain Triumph, Captain Freedom and even Captain Tootsie — to say nothing of Major Victory. He was down there with the three Lieutenants Marvel, who knew very well they were subordinate to Captain Marvel.

Not that he lacked super powers. He could fly, bounce bullets off his chest, beat up foes much larger than himself, and had "hundreds" of other abilities, tho most weren't specified. He didn't use them in crime fighting, per se, but hired himself out like DC's Genius Jones did. Both of them anticipated Marvel's Hero for Hire by many years. But he was rather cavalier about the secret identity business — Wilbur's real name appeared in newspaper ads hawking Lt. Hercules's services.

Lieutenant Hercules was a late-comer to the superhero scene, debuting in Green Lama #1 (December, 1944), published by Spark Publications. This was a very minor outfit whose major contributions to comic book history consisted of Golden Lad and Atoman, which lasted a total of seven issues between them. The writer who created him was Horace L. Gold, whose major fame was as the founding editor of Galaxy magazine, which had a major influence on science fiction of the 1950s. The artist was Al Liederman, whose best-known character was a superhero parody called Captain Kid, a long-time back-pages feature in Fawcett's Captain Marvel Adventures and related titles.

Herc was in every issue of Green Lama, but the title lasted only eight issues, the final one dated March, 1946. His only subsequent appearance was in Daring Adventures #17, published by Super Comics (unauthorized reprints of Doll Man, The Avenger and more), which reprinted part of Green Lama #3 (without permission) in 1964.


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Text © 2007-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Spark Publications.