Study Guide

Heracles (Hercules): Birth and Early Adventures

  • Introduction

    Harry Potter was just a simple boy who lived with his aunt and uncle at Number Four Privet Drive in the village of Little Whinging. He was lonely and mistreated.

    Percy Jackson was just a kid who lived in Queens, NY with his mom. He had a knack for getting kicked out of school.

    Katniss Everdeen was a normal teenage girl who lived in District 12, an impoverished coal-mining region in the country of Panem. When her father was killed in a tragic coal-mining accident, she had to step up and take care of her family.

    Harry, Percy, and Katniss are only three of many heroes on our bookshelves today. Depending on your definition of "hero," we could probably come up with a mile-long list of characters who fit the bill. Why do we love heroes so much? Well, maybe it's because they make us feel like we might also be extraordinary and capable of superhuman feats.

    You may disagree, but we think the most fascinating part of a hero's story is his or her beginning. That's why we go wild over stories about young heroes and also hero origin stories. In fact, these stories may be more popular than ever, based on the recent release of movies like X-Men: First Class, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Batman Begins, and the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man. We want to know how heroes find out that they're extraordinary, and how they react to the discovery.

    To the ancient Greeks, Heracles wasn't just a superhero he was a super superhero. And no hero would be complete without an awesome origin story, right? Wolverine was ripped apart and had his bones coated in adamantium by the sinister Weapon X project. Baby Superman was launched into space just before his home planet of Krypton was destroyed. Harry performs some surprising magic and sets a giant snake free at a zoo. And Heracles? Well, you'll just have to read on to find out how the greatest Greek hero got his start.

    • Best of the Web


      Heracles (Hercules): Birth and Early Adventures Resources

      Websites

      The Life and Times of Hercules
      This great site on Hercules, brought to you by Tufts University, offers lots of great info on Herc, including maps, details on the ladies in his life, and much more.

      Theoi
      A great source for all things ancient Greek. We're linking to the page on Heracles.

      Marvel Comics
      Hercules: the original super hero

      Movie and TV Productions

      Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (TV Series)
      Kevin Sorbo was the man in this popular series about Hercules' adventures.

      Hercules (Animated Movie)
      When Heracles got Disnified... In this movie, Hera isn't the bad guy (she's actually Hercules' mom), Hades is. In other words, this movie isn't faithful to the original myth, but it's still fun.

      Hercules (Animated Series)
      As if a movie wasn't enough, Disney also made a TV series about Herc.

      Video Games

      The Glory of Hercules
      A game for the Nintendo DS.

      God of War III
      Heracles gets a whipping from Kratos, Mr. God of War, in this video game.

      Historical Documents

      The Library
      An ancient source of the tale of Heracles.

      Library of History
      Another old-school source for all things Heracles.

      Videos

      Disney Movie
      Watch the trailer for the 1997 animated Disney movie.

      Hercules: The True Myth
      The History Channel digs into the history of the real man behind the myth. This might be bogus – we're just not sure – but it sure is interesting.

      Books

      Hercules (Digital Comic)
      Marvel Comics gives the hero of heroes his very own series.

      Images & Artwork (Public Domain)

      Baby Heracles vs. Snake
      This would be scary if the baby weren't Heracles.

      Milky Way
      Who knew the Milky Way was created by a breastfeeding mishap?

      Heracles vs. Hydra
      Take that, Hydra!