I'm a huge fan of " sinew & sandal " flicks. Or if you prefer "sword and sandal " movies. It's just that in my favorites from the genre the heroes rarely use swords. Just their muscles. Or like Steve Reeves in HERCULES (1957) the very chains the villain thought to bind him with. I'm talking about the movies starring the strength heroes Hercules, Maciste, Ursus, Samson and Goliath.
It was during the muscleman movie cycle (1957-1967) that the urban myth that George Reeves and Steve Reeves were brothers sprung up. After all George played Superman and Steve played Hercules. It seemed believable to anyone incapable of searching for facts. In any case during this period Superman met both Hercules and Samson on several occasions in DC Comics. Over at Marvel Comics Hercules became a supporting character in the Thor and Avengers features.
|Charlton Comics published a Hercules comic book beginning in 1967 by Joe Gill and Sam Glanzman. The comic ran for 13 issues and focused on the hero's legendary twelve labors.|
Dell Comics had previously published adaptations of the Steve Reeves' movies HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED illustrated respectively by comic book legends John Buscema and Reed Crandall. For the latter they used the poster art from the movie for the comic's cover. One of the coolest things about the sinew & sandal genre was the poster art for the movies. They could have easily been used as covers for comic book adaptations of the movies.
|Faux cover idea by Dave Goode art by Vance Capley|
One of those things that I don't understand, and there are many, is why no American publisher looked at how popular these flicks were and thought to put out a Maciste comic book. Nope. Nothing. More's the pity.*
|*Maciste has appeared in various Italian comic books for many years but sadly never in the U.S. He appeared in a Turkish comic adaptation of of the film Cabiria (1914).|
|A version of Maciste more accurate to the 1914 film from Albi of Audacia no. 28, 1938|
The Bartolomeo Pagano silent Maciste films established the character as someone who could appear at any place and at any time. A series of comics in the 1940s presented a version much like these films.
During the mid 60s, the grandson of Maciste, Kolosso who is "Kolosso nipote di Maciste più forte di Ercole" ( grandson of Maciste stronger than Hercules - most U.S. websites mistranslates it to "nephew to Maciste and nephew to Hercules"), and like the silent era films, Kolosso's stories could take place anytime and pretty much anywhere.
|The Cave of Slaves with Maciste from Albi of Audacia no. 38 1938|