This April, Dynamite and Disney are releasing Hercules #1, with writer Elliott Kalan and artist George Kambadais leading the book. Kambadais also offers a cover, and additional variants are from Matteo Lolli, Francesco Tomaselli, and Alessandro Ranaldi.

George Kambadais cover

The Beat chatted with the team ahead of the first issue’s debut to see how they are handling such an epic hero. 

DEANNA DESTITO: Why did you want to write Disney’s Hercules
ELLIOTT KALAN: Partly, I wanted to write Disney’s Hercules because I had such a fun time writing Disney Villains: Hades and wanted to spend some time on the more noble side of the Greek myth equation. I’ve always loved Greek mythology, which feels so much to me like the original comic book universe, with all its heroes, gods, monsters, all of whom are related to each other in confusingly complicated ways. I also don’t often get to write a series starring a noble, decent hero like Hercules, who embodies more of the values I hold than, say, Hades does. It’s been nice to have a protagonist I agree with!
Matteo Lolli cover
DESTITO: The art style from the film is very specific and is supposed to resemble classic Greek art and sculpture. How was it keeping to that look and feel?
KALAN: I’ll let George handle this one!
GEORGE KAMBADAIS: Me being Greek, and currently living in Greece, Athens in particular, this style of art feels kinda familiar, comforting even… It did back when I first watched the Disney film, and it does now that I have the chance of contributing to this story. It’s not so much the fact that it actually resembles ancient Greek art per se but that it is very light-hearted, bright, and powerful. I loved the art in the original film because- especially when it came to the bright colors- it reminded me of home somehow.
Francesco Tomaselli cover
DESTITO: Who is your favorite character from this mythology?
KALAN: In terms of characters from the movie, in writing the book I’ve come to really enjoy working with Meg, Hercules’s love interest who’s a very strong-willed and opinionated character on her own. When it comes to mythological characters we’ve introduced in this series, however, my favorite had to be Galatea, a super-strong statue brought to life by Aphrodite. She’s learning to be a hero from Hercules and always eager to leap into a fight, even though she loves everything in the world since she was brought to life by Aphrodite, after all.
KAMBADAIS: Oh my God(s) Who to choose??? Who to choose?? It’s a very wide net you are asking me to cast. I have my favorite God, my favorite Goddess, my favorite hero, and my favorite villain/ monster. Greek mythology is vast! I’d have to go with Demeter as far as Olympian Gods go (she is a mother figure and a tragic one at that!) Of course, Hercules is a super cool dude, I cannot ignore him when speaking of favorites! And as far as “monsters” go, Medusa, a feminist icon, if ever there was one.
Alessandro Ranaldi cover
DESTITO: Why do you think a character like Hercules is still so prominent in modern-day storytelling?
KALAN: Hercules is such a foundational figure in global culture: the hero who straddles the worlds between humanity and the gods and dedicates himself to clearing the world of threats, both to make the world safer and because he takes such joy in his own physical prowess. Every superhero is essentially Hercules in a different costume. There’s something really primal about the fantasy of feeling strong and invulnerable because the world is scary!
KAMBADAIS: Disney’s Hercules (much less tortured than the actual mythological figure) is the loveable goof. He is cute but strong. A funny, protector-type character. We need more strong men like him in art. As far as actual (original from Greek mythology) Hercules goes: He is an archetype. People always needed and will always need archetypes. That being said, the archetypes do not exist in a timeless void. People bring them up and remold them to fit our era-specific needs. In this case, what we need is a super cool dude living in a magical world filled with amazing creatures and sunny days.
DESTITO: How has it been working with the creative team?
KALAN: I’m really enjoying George’s art, our editor Nate Cosby is always a joy to work with, and everyone at Disney has been very supportive and enthusiastic. It’s been great to feel like I can take these characters and take them on what will unfold as a new epic journey while retaining everyone’s confidence that justice is being done to the original work. Hopefully, audiences will feel the same way!
KAMBADAIS: First of all I can’t stress enough the pleasure working on Disney’s Hercules has been. It is so exciting! Disney’s Hercules is a super cool movie and I (just like every Greek kid) was thrilled when it came out. It would have been a life goal either way. Working on Hercules with this amazing team though… who would have thought I would be so lucky. Elliot is an amazing writer, and I have been a fan of his work for a long time! Ending up working with him on such a fun script! I feel I have been blessed! As far as the rest of the team goes, I am not surprised by their awesomeness, since I have worked with them in the past on Gargoyles. I am still excited every time I get to see the new colors by Arancia Studios, Jeff [Eckleberry] always provides a slick vibe in the comic book with his awesome lettering skills and our editor Nate is simply the best!
DESTITO: What can you tease about the plot?
KALAN: As the series opens, Hercules finds that the gods don’t fully understand why he’s chosen to remain mortal — though they’re quick to demand his help when they accidentally unleash monsters on the world. Unfortunately, a larger threat is brewing. One by one, the gods are disappearing, seemingly kidnapped. Has a powerful enemy of Olympus returned? And will the universe fall apart without the gods to hold it together? Hercules will need to rely on friends old and new if he’s going to survive long enough to find out!