My sons love reading a book they own all about the Twelve Tasks of Heracles so I am actually surprised it took this long for him to appear on their list. Heracles (or Hercules to give him his better-known, Roman name) is probably the most famous of the Greek heroes and a symbol of machismo. One of the most incredible statues I have ever seen in real life is the copy of the Farnese Hercules in Naples. The sculpting of his bulging muscles, the wonderfully implied weight in his stance, the perfection of the composition are just breath-taking. He also has a rather lovely bum and I am quite a fan of aesthetically pleasing rumps. There was no way I was even going to attempt that sort of version of Heracles.
As a fan of the Disney movie ‘Hercules’, I could have taken the same route as those script writers and animators and made Heracles clumsy in his strength, uncertain of his heroic status, awkward in his role, sweet but naïve, a thoroughly decent bloke. However, what I decided to do was depict him as being a muscle-bound braggart, all swagger and no substance, more braun than brain.
So I drew Heracles with upraised arms, showing off “the guns”. He has a lantern jaw complete with manly chin-bum and a smirking smile of superciliousness. Then there is the priapic quiff hairdo to add to the sense of him being a man’s man, ladykiller macho guy. And then I undermined it all by dressing him up in a leotard and gymslip, like a cheerleader’s uniform that shrunk in the wash.
Macho Man Heracles