Herculean Effort: Part One, Introduction

Dateline: Eternity. Hollywood releases a Hercules movie. Again. Doubtless there will not be a scene where the infant powerhouse bites Hera in an interesting locale and causes the Milky Way. Yours Truly once took a bite of mythology and did my variation, or rather derivation of a Herculean legends. What follows is certainly different from movie interpretations and most Hercules inspired media. It is—


The stories of TITANOS! are adventurous. Humorous. And perhaps slightly tedious if you don’t like reading comic script. Fear not! There is also a prose version of each story included at no extra cost. (You did pay the $1,700 US Reading Fee, right? … Of course, there is no reading fee. But if you’d like to pay me $1,700 US, feel free!) I think you will enjoy it all. Including this following blurb:

“You are born with a name, but your acts on Earth create your true identity.”

From Life With a Legend by Walter D. Langford, PhD.

When one man embarks on a quest of exploration, he discovers his Olympian ancestry. His life and body are forever changed! He becomes massive to contain the strength of his distant ancestor Herakles (Hercules, to you Roman speakers). The power transforms him from mostly mortal to living titan: Titanos! Yes, Titanos! Earth, and his clothing bill, will never be the same.

Thrill now to the adventures of bygone decades of a hero whose power can lift the Earth and drop kick diabolical forces from legend and the ever-twisting minds of mortals.

Fear not (unless you are evil) his mountain bending might! Cheer to the triumphs of Titanos!

Yes, Titanos!

 [Prose version: HERE!]


“The Black Golem Adventure”


“That’s Not a Statue, That’s My Husband!”


Bruce S. Larson


Splash Panel. Time: the 1930s. Place: the Greek coast of the Aegean Sea. The view looks from the sea up a craggy cliff side. At the top rests an ancient Ionian temple. Just visible between columns of the temple stands an huge, muscular male figure resembling an oversized statue of Hercules.


CAPTION: The place is the Aegean coast of Greece. The time is the 1930s. Though ancient history and myth live again as one man. A very, very large man.



Panel 1. Inside the temple. Dr. Langford, a grey-bearded man in his sixties, dressed in safari clothes, approaches the Herculean Titanos, whom wears formfitting white trunks and tunic, thick blue belt with massive buckle across his comparatively narrow waist, and calf high blue boots laced from the toes to the calf. A great “T” stretches across his expansive chest. His is over twice the size of a normal man, and truly Herculean in form.


LANGFORD:Contemplating, Titano?


Panel 2. Eyes as blue as the deepest parts of the Mediterranean, and lit with the presence of diamon look down at Dr. Langford. (Unfortunately, this is a black and white comic book, so this dazzling effect is lost on you, the script reader viewer. Unless, of course, you imagine things in color.)

TITANOS:  And why not, Doctor? Like Atlas, the weight of this turbulent Earth is sometimes pressed on my shoulders.


LANGFORD:Lucky, then, they are the largest shoulders in the world.


Panel 3. Titanos looks back across the Aegean with his arms held at his back. Dr. Langford looks up a him, thoughtfully.


TITANOS:  I appreciate your jest, Doctor. But my bequest carries such responsibility, that I’ve lost the ease of laughter.


LANGFORD: Right, and sitting in most folding chairs.


Panel 4. Diana has entered the temple. She is a fit, young woman wearing a mid-1930’s era swimsuit beneath a beach robe. Her heads is adorned with a wide straw hat and sunglasses. Titanos has turned to greet her.


DIANA: If you’ve forgotten laughter, then let’s fly to America for a Marks Brothers’ picture.


TITANOS:  Diana! I thought you were on the beach.


Panel 5. Diana has removed her sunglasses, and tossed her hat at the giant Titanos, who smiles. Dr. Langford stands and observes them with a curious expression.


DIANA:         I was. But your shadow eclipsed any chance at sunbathing.


LANGFORD (THOUGHT): So much power, but he’s always gentle around her, never wanting to harm the woman who embodies his virtue. Yet in him lies her secret desire. And that’s as far as I can think about them together. I’m too old to risk a heart attack!



Panel 1. Cut to the interior of a tent, somewhere in the Sahara at night. There, three harsh looking men in Bedouin garb, all armed with guns and daggers in their sashes, depart the tent. They look back with alarm at a man with a manic smile dressed in European safari clothes. The smiling man, Raymond, stands near a table draped with an ancient map. He clutches a fist-sized object that is wrapped in leather.


CAP:Meanwhile… Somewhere in the Sahara…!


RAYMOND:  At last! At last!

Panel 2. A distraught looking woman, Julia, has entered the tent. Raymond is still in maniacal glee.


JULIA:         Raymond? Those men, they frightened me!


RAYMOND:       As well they should! Grave robbers are a shifty lot.


Panel 3. Julia leans against the table with the map and holds her hand to her forehead. Raymond eyes her with sinister interest while clutching the wrapped object close to his chest.


JULIA:    Grave robbers? Oh, this business of raising the dead! It’s out of hand!


RAYMOND:  They’re not dead, Julia. They were never truly alive.


Panel 4. Raymond now grins and thrusts up the object. It’s now unwrapped and revealed to be a large, dark diamond glistening with light from within. Julia gasps in the background.


RAYMOND:  But now they will live—to serve me!


Panel 5. We see the tent in the nighttime desert (as Raymond cackles inside it).


RAYMOND (TENT): And no one on Earth can stop me! AH-





Panel 1 (main panel). Cut to a dark, ancient cave lit by torches. Strange statues and art of a lost civilization haunt the background. Raymond is now dressed in a black velvet sorcerer’s cloak. He secures a now panicked looking Julia’s right wrist in a manacle. She is now a captive on a vertical altar slab imbedded in the cave wall. Just beyond them is the lip of a cliff of a deeper chamber.


JULIA:    Raymond, no!


RAYMOND:  Fear not, my love. Your life will serve a great purpose!


Panel 2.  Raymond stands at the cliff’s edge and thrusts out a torch that illuminates an army of hulking, faceless clay statues.


RAYMOND:  I will awaken them, and your sacrifice will grant me the obedience of this unstoppable army!


Panel 3. Julia strains against her bonds as Raymond dons a crown that bears the large, dark but glowing diamond from the tent.


JULIA:    Raymond, wait! Why did the ancients entomb them? What happened to the people that created this army?


RAYMOND: Questions only the dead can answer. Now is the time to bring my plans and power to life!



Panel 1. Raymond raises his arms over the cliff’s edge at the golems. The diamond in the crown now glows brightly. Julia writhes in the background.


RAYMOND:  With this Mind Gem, my thoughts will penetrate into all golems and make them thralls to my lowest whims. Your blood will–!


Panel 2. View looks up at Raymond from over the cliff’s edge. Raymond clutches his head in pain as the diamond shines even brighter. In the foreground, golem hands reach up towards Raymond.

RAYMOND:  Wait! What’s happening? I’m not possessing the golems!


Panel 3. View of the golems with hands outstretched (towards Raymond, off panel). Each of their heads glows with the same inner light as the diamond.


RAYMOND (OFF-PANEL): They—they’re possessing me!


Panel 4. Julia screams in terror as she sees Raymond recoil with his limbs extended. Raymond’s face is locked in horror as it and his limbs are now bulkier and hardening into stone.






Panel 5. A close-in view of the diamond as it now glows to near blinding intensity. (Julia shrieks in horror off panel.)





Panel 1. Titanos and Diana stand on the beach bellow the island cliffs. Some people gawk at Titanos, but most act accustomed to his presence. Dr. Langford approaches in the background.


LANGFORD:Titanos! Urgent news from the island of Iliadon!


Panel 2. Frontal view of Titanos as he looks out across the sea. Diana looks up at him forlornly. Beside them Langford gestures with both hands.


LANGFORD:An erupting volcano is threatening its entire populace! The authorities are evacuating, but—


TITANOS:  But they need help!

Panel 3. Cut to a view of the island of Iliadon. A Mediterranean town hugs a small harbor on its coast. Beyond the town rises the erupting   volcano. Lava spewing and flows from the volcano’s fiery mouth.




Panel 4. In the narrow streets Ilaidon’s town, Titanos, Diana, and Dr. Langford move through dazed, motionless villagers whom fill the streets. They all stare at the volcano. A perplexed Police Officer stands pleading with another entranced officer at the head of the crowd.


TITANOS:  Officer! What on Earth is holding these people?



Panel 1. The animated Officer now gestures at the volcano. Titanos and Diana (who is now in practical adventurer garb) look puzzled towards the eruption. Dr. Langford peers at it through binoculars.


OFFICER:  Nothing from Earth, I fear! When I arrived, they were all transfixed on that new statue. Now my men are falling under its spell!


LANGFORD:That’s odd–


Panel 2.  Cut the volcano’s summit. There, a black golem that’s roughly the size of Titanos stands on an outcropping beside flow of lava. Its faceless head glows from within just as Raymond’s Mind Gem.


LANGFORD (OP): Its style is like nothing from any Mediterranean culture, ancient or extant.


Panel 3. All four look puzzled at Julia who enters the scene. The volcano and its approaching lava are visible in the background.


JULIA:    That’s no statue! No one will believe me, but that’s my husband!

Panel 4. Flashback. Back at the Golem Cave, Raymond is seen as he bursts from his cloak and crown as he is transformed into a black obsidian golem. The Mind Gem diamond glows intensely and is now imbedded in his forehead. His agape mouth is still locked in a horrified scream.


CAP (JULIA):  Before my eyes, he was transformed into the stone creature you see now!


Panel 5. Flashback. The Black Golem now violently punches into the island’s mountain side.


CAP (JULIA):  I escaped and followed him. This is the first populated place he’s encountered. He smashed his way into the mountain and caused the eruption.



Panel 1.  Dr. Langford approaches Julia, who looks nauseated from her recollection.


LANGFORD:What caused him to attack?


JULIA:    Before he was possessed by the golems, he intended to sacrifice me as a blood bond to them. But he ran from the chamber as he changed.


Panel 2. Diana looks towards the volcano in shock. Titanos tenses to jump towards the volcano with fists clenched.


DIANA:    Good heavens! He must now intended to sacrifice the entire island!


TITANOS:  That won’t happen, Diana! So long as–


Panel 3. Titanos’ boots smash into the Black Golem beside the mouth of   the volcano.






Panel 4. Cut back to the Officer, who addresses Diana and Langford. (Julia holds her head as she gawks at the volcano summit.)


OFFICER:  I know he is huge, but how can he battle an enchanted man of stone?


Langford:Even huge, Titanos is no mere man.


Panel 5. Titanos grapples with the rising Black Golem.


CAP (LANGFORD):    His size is from Hercules’ strength imbued into a mortal form.



Panel 1. Cut back to Diana who looks towards the volcano battle. (watching w/o aid), Lang: binoculars, Officer agape]


Diana:    Mostly mortal, doctor. Recall that he is descended from Hercules through one of Thespius’ daughters. That’s why he, and he alone—


Panel 2. Cut back to Titanos in combat as he strikes the Black Golem with a mighty right that knocks it backward and causes chips to fly from it.


Diana (cap):  –can wield such Olympian might!


Panel 3. Diana, Dr. Langford, and the Officer spring quickly towards the villagers suddenly free from their daze. Julia departs holding her head in despair. In the background, boulders fly at the site of Titanos’ battle.


LANGFORD:Titanos’ strike has broken the monster’s hold!


DIANA:    Quickly! Get the people to the boats!


Panel 4. Cut back to Titanos as he hoists the Black Golem above his head.


TITANOS:  You are finished, monster!


Panel 5. Titanos hurls the monster into the lava flow.


TITANOS:  Destroyed by your own madness! Fitting!



Panel 1. Titanos stands shocked as the Black Golem rises out of the river of lava now covered in the molten rock and larger than before.


TITANOS: Great Zeus! Maybe not!


Panel 2. Titanos leaps aside, dodging two mammoth, molten fists.


Panel 3. Cut to the village where Diana looks with surprise at Dr. Langford as she and the Officer guide villagers to towards the waterfront docks where boats await to evacuate them. Dr. Langford is looking through his binoculars at the volcano battle.


LANGFORD:It’s drawing more mass from the lava flow to fight Titanos! That’s just what we need!


DIANA:    Doctor! How can you say that?

Panel 4.  Dr. Langford places his hand on Diana’s shoulder as she looks with concern at the volcano.


LANGFORD:It’s a hard thing, true, Diana. But with the lava diverted, we may yet save everyone.


DIANA:    Yes. But what of Titanos?


Panel 5. Titanos, his costume now tattered and sooty, dodges the lava covered Black Golem’s molten foot as it stomps down. The monster is now even larger.


TITANOS:  It’s time for more strategy then strength!



Panel 1.  Titanos has now grabbed the trunk of a massive, smoldering Cyprus and begun to tear it from the rocky earth as the Black Golem/lava monster approaches.


TITANOS:  You stood for centuries, great tree. But now you serve the immediate needs of Titanos!


Panel 2. Titanos staggers the lava covered Golem by striking it with the massive tree and it falls backward also tripping on a large boulder.


SFX:     WHAM!


Panel 3. The lava covered, gargantuan Golem rises on its arms and knees as Titanos has thrust the tree trunk across the boulder as a fulcrum with the opposite end under the Golem’s midsection.


TITANOS: Stay dazed a moment longer!


Panel 4. Titanos has now slammed the tree trunk lever downward. The Golem streaks into the air.


TITANOS: Give my best to Poseidon!


Panel 5. The lava covered golem splashes into the sea, causing waves and a blast of steam.





Panel 1. Titanos leaps into the air above the river of lava heading for the village.


TITANOS:  And now for the lava flow!


Panel 2. Just outside old walls at the edge of the village, Titanos pounds like a steam shovel into the earth in front of the approaching molten rock.




Panel 3. Titanos burrows a vast, deep trench into the earth with the lava following its path behind him.


Panel 4. Titanos stands on the island coast at side of his village-saving trench with his arms folded. He watches the lava flow into the sea, where bubbles form and steam rises from the water.


TITANOS:  There! Hephaistos’ would appreciate his fire being used for island building, not destroying.



Panel 1. Diana, Dr. Langford, the Officer, and a small group of adoring villagers stand around the now wet but still slightly smoldering Titanos on a fishing boat’s deck at sea. The island and spared village is in the background.


OFFICER:  The village and its people are safe! All we need is wine for toasting! And a shower.


LANGFORD:You’ve done it again, Titanos!


Panel 2. Titanos shrugs. Everyone smiles as the Officer continues jubilant comments.


OFFICER:  And with all that new beach you’ve created, I’m sure tourism for the island will double. My wife’s family owns the local hotel. Thank you, Mr. Titanos!


TITANOS:  Glad to be of multiple service.


Panel 3. The Officer faces Titanos as a beaming Langford pipes in. Titanos looks down at them with amusement. Diana stands at his side.


OFFICER:  Can you to sign autographs at the cafe? I can see it now! Eat like a demigod! Titanos‑sized gyros meals—with a prize!


LANGFORD:You see? The world needs you, Titanos.


Panel 4. Diana encircles her arms around Titanos’ massive, and still slightly smoking wrist. She looks and smiles at him. He looks down and also smiles.


DIANA:    Yes. Tomorrow, there will be more great feats and discovery.


TITANOS:  And perhaps an appointment with a trademark and copyright lawyer.


Panel 5. Birdseye view of the fishing boat as it and others return to the island’s harbor.


DIANA (boat):Glad you’ve got you sense of humor back.


TITANOS (boat):    And appetite. I could go for a gyro, or two. Maybe fifty. Are there any fish in the hold?