Hugo Hercules

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Hugo lifting a car.

Hugo Hercules is an American weekly comic strip published in the Chicago Tribune, written and drawn by Wilhelm Heinrich Detlev Körner. It ran for five months, from September 7, 1902 to January 11, 1903, totaling seventeen strips.[1] Despite its short run, it's considered the earliest superhero fiction comic.[2]

Characters and story[edit]

A good-natured man endowed with superhuman strength, Hugo wandered about town, helping people with their problems and shocking them with his surprising displays of power. He was so strong he could pick up an elephant,[3] kick a house like a football,[4] wield an artillery cannon like a handgun,[5] and lift a locomotive engine off the tracks and pull its cargo behind him at train speeds.[6] Casual about his incredible feats, Hugo often repeated his catchphrase, "Just as easy", shrugging off the adoring crowds.

Sometimes referred to as the first superhero, the strip was not a great success and Körner eventually left comics to become a painter.[7]

Strips[edit]

Other appearances[edit]

Hugo Hercules appears in the 2015 graphic novel Nemo: River of Ghosts, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holtz, Allan (2012). American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. p. 198. ISBN 9780472117567.
  2. ^ "William H. D. Koerner". Lambiek Comiclopedia. Lambiek. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  3. ^ William H. D. Koerner. "Hugo Hercules performs another prodigy". The Chicago Sunday Tribune. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
  4. ^ William H. D. Koerner. "Hugo Hercules misses the football, but—". The Chicago Sunday Tribune. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
  5. ^ William H. D. Koerner. "Hugo Hercules does a little holding up himself". The Chicago Sunday Tribune. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
  6. ^ William H. D. Koerner. "Hugo Hercules comes to the rescue of the Cannonball Limited". The Chicago Sunday Tribune. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
  7. ^ Bill Blackbeard & Dale Crain, The Comic Strip Century. Northampton, MA: Kitchen Sink Press, 1995. 2 volumes. 480 pp. ISBN 0-87816-355-7