Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Marvel has always made HERC out to be the class clown. He always has fun in whatever he's doing. Hanging with chicks , kicking butt or drinking up a storm.
They always have fun with his character. Right down to when he took over THOR that time Walt Simonson went an vacation during his historic run.
Here are couple of way cool action figures. The bottom figure is the ZEUS figure from Mcfarlane toys...I have one and it is a really cool figure oodles of detail.
The other figure is the GOD OF ROCK from GUITAR HERO - they've got a line of figures now.
He looks a lot like ZEUS huh?
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
" It is an ancient legend that the SPARTANS were the descendants of HERCULES " What more can be said of this fantastic and probably best comic book film of all time. The bloody battles the mayhem the action the visuals the narration! I read the comic book and I have to say the comic book was completely covered.
The mighty warriors swinging their shields and spears around like play toys as they routed the forces of the persian army. The president of Iran was angry at the depiction of the Persion army and the images of Xerxes and his people. Well tough President Abudabijihadhidi! TUFF NUGGIES!
The film is fantastic and brilliantly done. It was very faithful to Frank Millers story. FRANK MILLER is a GOD KING!
It is definately a film to watch several times over and over and over. I have the narration running through my mind as I write this " His shield was heavy..."
Obviously I can go on and on about how great it was. But remember it is not for everyone.
The story is told by one of the SPARTAN'S point of view. He was speaking to his people and getting them psyched and amped for battle. So he took liberty's here and there big f'n deal!
Frank Miller told a story about a guy telling a story and taking some liberty's about the exact facts...and the President of the former PERSIA gets insulted by a story as older than Biblical history! All that matters is this..." FEW STOOD AGAINST MANY ! "
Being a fan of HERCULES and ancient mythological folklore and such the true account of the 300 SPARTAN warriors captured my imagination.
This 1962 film was a slow moving yet it had an educational quality to it. There was a lot of meetings and talks and discussions in the film until the climactic battle against the countless minions of the Persian god king.
Monday, December 7, 2009
REAL NAME: Ruben Cruz (Ayala is his mother's maiden name)
BORN: July 14, 1950 in Puerto Rico
6'1", 265 pounds
AKA: Hercules Ayala, Hercules Cortez
Hercules Ayala is having a tough time watching wrestling's resurgence from the sidelines.
Hercules Ayala. Photo courtesy Stampede Wrestling.
The giant from Puerto Rico still works out every day, weighing in at healthy 265 pounds, and follows both the international and the local scene, but it's not enough. Instead, he finds himself working outside of wrestling for the first time in his life, employed by a fencing company.
"I'd like to come back to wrestling for a couple years more," Ayala said from his home in St. Albert, just outside Edmonton. "I know I can do it!"
He recently went to a Stampede Wrestling show in Edmonton, and according to his wife, Susan Cruz, "the people remembered him."
Ayala, whose real name is Ruben Cruz, grew up in Puerto Rico a fan of the sport, and of Hurricane Castillo in particular. His mother left Puerto Rico in the early 1970s to live in Boston with her daughter and her grandchildren. A few months later she sent Ayala a ticket. (Ayala is his mother's maiden name.)
In Boston, Ayala began working out and met wrestler Angelo Savoldi, who trained him. A short time later, he debuted in the WWWF.
But it was not on the U.S. scene that he was to become a star. Ayala returned to his native Puerto Rico in the early 70s to work for Capital Sports Promotion, better known as WWC.
Soon he was as big as a name as his boyhood hero Hurricane Castillo.
"I've got a big, big name in Puerto Rico. Same like Bret and Hulk Hogan here," he explained.
Fans in Puerto Rico still talk to this day of his heel turn against Carlos Colon, the long-time WWC promoter and champion.
"I was pissed off at Carlos Colon because he always wanted to be better than anybody, all the time in the interviews, he tried to knock me down ... that's why I turn against him," Ayala said. "The bookers and I agree that it was a good idea."
The colossal feud filled three stadiums with record numbers, and was even transmitted via satellite to closed circuit across Puerto Rico.
Hercules Ayala winds up to hit Harley Race. Photo courtesy Stampede Wrestling.
WWC was home to hardcore matches well before any North American promotion. Blood flowed freely in barbed wire matches, fire matches and many other insane gimmick matches. The Puerto Rican promotions probably don't get the credit they deserve for the innovations today's fans take for granted.
For Ayala, the scariest was the fire match. "After ten minutes, you've got all that heat plus the heat you've got in the arena, you feel like you're going to die," he said. "You can't breathe, plus [you're] tired, and that heat because they keep lighting the ropes. You have to get burned -- your hair, your back."
For his wife, though, the scariest moment ever watching her husband was when she saw him screw up his knee during a match in Puerto Rico. "I saw his boot stay and knee go and I knew right then that he was hurt. ... and he had to finish the match. I'm sitting in the stands and I knew he had to get out of there, and I thought, c'mon you guys, stop this match! That's when he ended up having surgery on his legs."
She continued. "The fans were crazy down there, so I was scared every time he went to wrestle there."
In March 1985, he beat an up-and-comer named Randy 'Macho Man' Savage to win the WWC North American title. Savage would leave to become a major star in the WWF.
It is one of a series of 'what-ifs' for Ayala and his wife. They left Calgary together too just before Stu Hart sold his Stampede promotion to the expansionary-minded Vince McMahon Jr., and guaranteed jobs for Stampede vets like Bret Hart, the British Bulldogs, Jim Neidhart and Bad News Allen.
"We left Canada about a year before the WWF came into Canada too. So who knows, he could have been picked up by them too," sighed Susan Cruz.
Yet wrestling took Ayala around the world, and he claimed to have no regrets.
Germany was his favourite place to wrestle. "Wrestling there is different. It's like you have to go in a parade, like when you go into the ring, they put on the music, and you go one by one into the ring like a parade ... the people that like you, they send you flowers, they send you a little card to buy you dinner or lunch ... that was cool," he recalled.
In 1977, while on tour in Germany, he met Bret Hart and Dynamite Kid.
"Then they talked to me, they say my dad is a promoter in Canada, blah, blah, blah. And I say I'd like to go and they called Stu Hart and that's when they booked me," he said.
"In the beginning, I thought that Canada was a big place. I said that that was going to be good for me," Ayala laughed. "I was supposed to come only for six months, and I stayed eight years! A long time!"
He also met his wife, and Edmontonian, a short time after arriving in Canada.
Susan Cruz said that they met in a bar, at a table full of friends. "As people started leaving, he said to me 'why don't you come sit up here?' I came and sat beside him there, and, pftttt! That was 20 years ago!"
The couple has been married 18 years and have two daughters, aged 19 and 17, who have dual citizenship. Ayala, who is a landed immigrant in Canada, also has a son from a previous relationship in Puerto Rico. They have lived in Alberta, Puerto Rico, Boston and Texas as they followed Ayala's career.
In Stampede, Ayala, who was often billed as 'The Strongest Man in Wrestling', got the chance to wrestle many different kinds of matches, and was a tag team champ with Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart.
Hercules Ayala shows his strength. Photo courtesy Stampede Wrestling.
"It was exciting [being in Stampede]," said Ayala. "Good matches, rough, solid. I enjoyed those matches and they were nice people -- Bret, Jim, Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy. They were good people. That's what I like and why I stayed so long."
He also did a couple of tours of duty for the Atlantic Grand Prix circuit, wrestling as Hercules Cortez.
"Almost every night we got a full house, the little places were packed every night, everywhere. It was nice. I liked it up there," he said of the Maritimes.
Grand Prix promoter Emile Dupre recalled Ayala/Cortez fondly, saying that he was "a real good performer."
"[He was] a good attraction for us here," said Dupre. "His size, his ability to do things right -- it's what we call being a good worker."
Ayala was a champion in Montreal's International Wrestling too, beating Dr. D. David Shultz for the promotion's top title in January 1987, and losing the belt to Abdullah the Butcher a month later. ("I wrestled so many times with him. That's a lot of bloody matches!") He was managed by Pretty Boy Floyd Creatchman, and was flown in from Boston for shows.
But talk of Montreal brings up the legendary Bruiser Brody, who was being brought in on occasion to the promotion, which was on its last legs.
Ayala goes quiet. "He was my buddy," he said of Brody, who was killed in a dressing room altercation in 1988. "I was in the heel dressing room and he was in the babyface dressing room when it happened that night ... it was terrible. I didn't want to wrestle the next night."
He said that just before the attack, he had stuck up for Brody in his argument with the promoters. It soured his relationship with Capitol Sports, but he has been back to wrestle for the promotion since, including last December.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
I don't know quite where to put this and on what blog or format or social networking site. So I am putting it here on my HERCULES blog because of the connection to pro wrestling the legend of HERCULES encapsulates. ( good word )
UMAGA has died. From the wrestling legacy family known as the Wild samoans Umaga was probably the coolest of all the Samoan incarnations the family biz had to offer. Yokozuna the ROCK , Rikishi Fatu all part of the same family. Here is the official announcement I found on the web as stated.
"Former WWE wrestler Eddie Fatu better known as Umaga died Friday in Houston.
The 36-year-old was rushed to the medical center after being in a serious condition after he reportedly suffered a heart attack.
Umaga was found by his wife unresponsive and bleeding from his nose on Friday morning."
The World Wrestling Entertainment website issued the following statement, "The WWE would like to express its deepest condolences to Mr. Fatu's family, friends and fans on his tragic passing."
I saw UMAGA wrestle in a small venue in Deer park NY maybe 12 years ago Just before his big time entrance along with another cousin as 1 half of JAMAL and ROSIE - 2 streetwise Samoan street toughs from the Ghetto - they wore hip hop clothes and came in and interfered a few times in big matches before the actually got to Wrestle.
Later on Rosie became the Super hero side kick along side Sugar Shane ( the HURRICANE ) Helms. While Jamal became UMAGA. I liked UMAGA and thought that maybe he should have held the belt longer than he did. But he was not exactly a baby face. But his strength power,ferocity and aggressive style made him an entertaining entity in the biz. He'll be missed.
Friday, December 4, 2009
"Lucy Lawless played Lysia in Hercules and the Amazon Women. Later she was to become famous playing Xena. A role that was offered first to Roma Downey, but she accepted the role of Monica on Touched by an Angel and the role went to Lucy."
Hercules And The Amazon Women
Hercules and Iolaus encounter a ferocious tribe of Amazons, and in the ensuing battle Iolaus is killed.
Hercules is taken captive, tortured and threatened with death. Hercules falls under the spell of their fierce queen, Hipolyta. He escapes and comes up with a unique defense strategy for the nearby village besieged by mysterious, unseen monsters, which are really the Amazon women.
Unknown to Hercules he is being pursued by his deadly enemy, his stepmother Hera, queen of the gods. Hera takes over Hippolyta's body and commands tha Amazons to attack the village of men again and to leave no man alive. Hercules realizes that Hera has taken control of the queen's body and refuses to defeat Hera by killing Hippolyta (He has fallen in love with Hippolyta). Hera hurls Hippolyta to her death in a waterfall.
Hercules appeals to his father Zeus to use his special powers to undo the deaths of both Hippolyta and Iolaus. In doing so, time is reversed, and life is restored as it was before, it is as if he never met Hippolyta. Except he has the memory of his love and time with her.
I think that those who only know Roma Downey from Touched by an Angel will be surprised at how well she played this role.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Probably the most important female action star of the late 70's and through the 80's
SYBIL was the Evil Queen in HERCULES with Lou Ferrigno as well as many other exploitation films involving girls in prison and female warriors and gladiators. Her figure ripples with both the sexy curves of a fetching seductress and the impressive physique you'd expect a Warrior queen to have.
Ah, yes! Those were the days! Disregard the dubbed-in dialogue and hokey plot lines. The orginal 1957 "Hercules" is a treasure of fantasy and fun. To those Americans who possess a sense of the past (what used to be known fondly as "nostalgia" prior to the MTV generation and its contemptuous stance toward anything that occurred prior to the maturation of Jennifer Lopez's big, fat posterior), Johnny Weismuller was Tarzen. Bela Lugosi was Dracula. Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger. And Steve Reeves was Hercules.
Long before Arnold there was Steve Reeves, the prototype body builder who in the 1940s and 50s surpassed what Charles Atlas initiated a generation earlier. A scrawny, unathletic kid who was teased unmercifully, Reeves decided to do something about his predicament. He made body building and fitness a way of life. Between 1945 and 1950, Reeves won every body building competition and award in the universe, and he did so without the use of steroids or any other drugs. It didn't take long for Hollywood to come calling. After being considered and then turned down for the role of Samson (for being "too muscular") in the 1949 MGM production of "Samson and Delilah" opposite Heddy Lamarr, Reeves spent a few years playing mostly forgetable parts in a number of films before achieving celluloid stardom in his adopted home, Italy. In 1957 Reeves portrayed the legendary Greek hero Hercules in the film of the same name, and repeated the role in its sequel, "Hercules Unchained," two years later. Reeves was extraordinarily handsome with black wavy hair and piercing blue eyes. With his beard and spectacular physique, Reeves looked exactly like the image of the Greek demigod as it had been depicted for thousands of years. So ingrained became his image in the minds of movie fans, that the names "Steve Reeves" and "Hercules" became synonomous.
For a time in the late 1950s and early 1960s he was the highest-paid movie star in the world. To kids growing up in an innocent age of malt shops, high school dances, science-fiction comics, and "Father Knows Best," Reeves was the epitome of wholesome manliness. He became the idol and inspiration for a whole new generation of weightlifters and body builders, including Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbo, Reg Park, and old Arnold himself. He enchanted young and old alike as Hercules and as a number of other legendary Greco-Roman characters. In the late 1960s while still fit as a fiddle, very popular, and only in his early 40s, Reeves was asked by Sergio Leonne to star in a series of Spaghetti Westerns. But Reeves decided to leave the acting business. His place was taken by Clint Eastwood, and the rest is history (there's that anachronistic word again). Reeves continued living in Italy where he could be spotted daily "power-walking" (rapidly walking while carrying light weights in his arms) around all the famous sites in Rome. By the 1990s he and his wife returned to America where they raised horses and lived quietly on a beautiful ranch in Southern California. Reeves still looked great into his seventies and remained a steadfast advocate of drug-free athletics. Which is why it was so shocking to hear of his sudden death from cancer in 2000.
Supposedly, Reeves visited his physician and was diagnosed with an accutely malignant form of cancer. In two weeks, he was dead. Upon hearing the news, I couldn't accept the fact of his passing. "Steve Reeves dead? Can't be." He always seemed so invincible. How time marches on. But the image of Reeves as the prototype celluloid demigod will endure. In the hearts and memories of many a young boy in the 1950s and 60s, there was no more popular person in the world than Steve Reeves. In many ways, Reeves may well have been the last great role model of an America that used to be. Malt shops are gone. Early sci-fi classic films with thoughtful plots like Howard Hawks' "The Thing From Another World" and Robert Wise's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" are now considered archaic by a generation whose attention span is measureable in nanoseconds. High school dances long ago devolved into loud, coarse, uncivil environments known as "clubs." There are no TV shows even remotely resembling the quaint idealism of "Father Knows Best." Yet certain images from yesteryear remain transfixed eternally in the minds of those still thoughtful enough to remember. Steve Reeves will always be the one and only "Hercules."
Fantoma's DVD release of Mario Bava's Hercules in the Center of the Earth ought to elevate his stature in the film world, if not as a "serious" movie director, then certainly as one of the cinema's most talented and artistic lighting cameramen/cinematographers. The story is fairly generic muscleman stuff and the acting is competent if unexceptional (although three-time Mr. Universe Reg Park definitely has a believable physical presence as Hercules); what really sets this movie apart from virtually any other peplum flick are Bava's neon-hued Technicolor visuals, which at times border on the hallucinatory. Throughout most of the movie he tosses off shot after stunning shot, many only a few seconds long, nearly every one impeccably lit, artfully composed, and accented with vibrant color.
Bava's interweaving of light, shadow, color, and sometimes literal "smoke and mirrors" to define space, mood, and even character is consistently impressive, even more so after reading the liner notes describing how little he had to work with. Cool sequences and striking set-pieces abound, including Deianira rising from her sarcophagus and floating across the room (like Lon Chaney in Son of Dracula); Hercules's eerie visits with the sibyl; the psychedelic ocean vistas on the voyage to the Hesperides; Lyco (Christopher Lee) reflected in a pool of his victim's blood; the flying ghouls rising from their slimy crypts (which must have given nightmares to the kiddie matinee crowd in 1964); and the climactic showdown between Hercules and Lyco, shot in an atmospheric Roman grotto. There's almost too much to appreciate in a single viewing. While I'm not normally a huge fan of sword-and-sandal flicks (though I did watch lots of them on Saturday afternoons as a kid), and I could've done without the 'comedy relief' character, I still have to strongly recommend this movie not only to fans of Bava's other movies (particularly Planet of the Vampires), but also anyone who simply appreciates breathtakingly beautiful color cinematography.
Fantoma's DVD is transferred in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and anamorphically enhanced, from a virtually pristine Technicolor print of the original Italian-language dub. There is only the lightest of speckling evident; otherwise it's crisp and clean, with lush, richly-saturated color, and excellent contrast and detail. Optional English subtitles are included, as well as the (continental) English-dubbed soundtrack. Unless you're extremely subtitle-phobic, I recommend the Italian-language soundtrack with the subtitles. The English dubbing gives the film a campier, less serious tone and often renders the dialogue much more prosaically than the subtitles (example: Hercules's final words to Deianira in the subtitled version, "Man's love is passionate, but often inconsistent. Ours will last forever"; in the English dub, "As long as Theseus steals other men's girls, I have nothing to worry about.") Unfortunately we don't get to hear Christopher Lee's actual voice in either version. The DVD also includes excellent Tim Lucas liner notes; a gallery of approximately 45 color and B&W stills, posters, and ad mats; and a comparatively rough-looking trailer, matted to about 1.66:1 and suffering from medium to heavy scratching and lining, poor color, and merely acceptable sharpness and detail. The film is broken into 16 chapter stops and the Dolby 2.0 mono sound is full and clear. The definitive edition of an unmercifully neglected film.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I did not know what direction to go with this post. Where should I start? Weellll...BOB LAYTON is probably most responsible for giving HERC a popularity he did not enjoy in the 80's. While looking for images to show a gallery of Bobs Herc mini covers I found a lot of other cool stuff. Cover reproductions and b/w unused art and commisions. I found this all on his web site. Google him. I liked HERC long before BOB came out with these while working at MARVEL but when they did come out...well it was AWESOME! So take a peekie boo at some of the coolest stuff you're ever gonna set your eyes on. Ya gotta love Bob. See his cover for the HERCULES Marvel graphic novel where HERC battles his son and the cover of HERCULES, THE END.
I don't know what to say...you have to see it. So let me shut up so you can look at BOB LAYTON's cool HERCULES art!