- A little playful shooting I can understand ... but tossing axes around is not ethical!
- — Joe Hercules src
Joe Hercules was a wandering strongman and vigilante during the 1940s.
When Midwestern State Fair strongman, and aspiring collegian, Joe Hercules came home from a season with the carnival, somewhere in the northern Midwest, he found his mother dead of a heart attack, which he believed to have been caused by unscrupulous mortgage lender J. Willistone Jyppe. Joe rushed out to New York City to confront the purported killer, the boss of a crooked mortgage company. But Joe's enthusiastic beating-up of a roomful of security goons landed him in jail, where his cellmate (Pete Birch) showed him a Doll Man comic book, and encouraged him to put on a costume and become a superhero. So Joe dug through a foot-thick masonry jailhouse wall, and next was seen (in a costume that seemed to be based on Doll Man's outfit) at the office of Jyppe. Young Joe Hercules tossed him across the room, rooted through his desk, and ripped open his safe, finding a ton of incriminating evidence; J.W.J. meantime decamped via a secret panel. Young Mr. Hercules soon found the panel and pursued, to a basement, where another roomful of thugs ambushed him, and got themselves tossed about and beaten down, and hauled off to the police station. The cops were all set to bust Joe, which would have worked out badly for all concerned, but cellmate Pete just happened to be in the room, and talked Joe into not busting loose again, plus he got him a lawyer, and Joe settled down to work things out in a legal way.
Soon winning his freedom, Joe Hercules wandered the American countryside, working at odd jobs and helping out a wide variety of people with a wide variety of problems. Eventually he took up residence in New York City.
- Superhuman Strength He could toss an elephant across a circus lot.
- Superhuman Speed He could overtake a getaway car at 90 mph.
- He was a little bit gullible and impulsive.
- Usually arrived on foot and left on foot.
- Disdained them.
- This version of Joe Hercules, including all history and corresponding appearances, was erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the 1985–86 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series. Even though versions of the character may have since appeared, this information does not apply to those versions.
- While it was not uncommon for circus strongmen to name themselves "Hercules", it appears that "Hercules" is Joe's real last name and not a stage name.
- While Joe Hercules is named after the Roman demigod Hercules, he is not (as far as is known) a reincarnation or avatar of the god.
- 22 Appearances of Joe Hercules (Quality Universe)
- 5 Images featuring Joe Hercules (Quality Universe)
- 5 Quotations by or about Joe Hercules (Quality Universe)
- Character Gallery: Joe Hercules (Quality Universe)