Hercules #10 is dated April 1969. It features a dynamic cover by Sam Glanzman and the comic is edited by Sal Gentile.
The lead story featuring Hercules is titled "The Ninth Head The Couldn't Die" and it was written by Joe Gill and illstrated by Sam Glanzman. The story opens with Hercules pleading to the gods but when Mars and Hera rain a storm on him he girds up and seeks out King Eurystheus for his next labor. Eurystheus sends him to kill a monster near the well of Amymone in the Argosian Swamp. Hercules is surprised he will be allowed to use weapons and so goes to the Oracle of Plaeceum to find out more about his mysterious task. When he tries to enter the cave of the Oracle he's confronted with horrific fire-breathing monster but he doesn't back down and the creature transforms into a beautiful black-tressed woman but then her hair begins to strangle Hercules and he attacks her with is sword saying "Touche'". She transforms again into a hag and then tells him of the Lernaen Hydra the monster with nine heads, one of them immortal. The scene cuts to Olympus where Zeus enjoys a repast and he learns of the task set before his son. Hercules goes to the swamp and almost immediately confronts the Hydra and begins to cut off its heads only to see each one he severs replaced by two more. Finally he tries to sever the main head and his sword clangs off in futiltiy. Hercules responds with a "Oh, Golly!". Meanwhile an ally of Hercules, a boy named Iolaus shows up with a torch and Hercules borrows it to burn off the heads he severs and this seems to work. Then a giant crab attacks but Hercules dispatches this beast sent by Hera. Turning his attention back to the Hydra he cuts off more heads then climbs a giant boulder and finally is able to cut the main head. He then takes the boulder and crashes it down on the monster defeating it. The story closes with Hercules leaving the swamp triumphant and Mars saying to Hera "Gee, Ma I hate that Kid."
"Mountain Man Morgan in Tornado Trouble" relates a tall tale about the giant Mountain Man Morgan and how he shows up to help the railroad lay tracks by various means using his great strength. Ultimately she stops a tornado by using his lungs to create a counterforce wind. This tale is very similar to the previous text story about Morgan.
Thane of Bagarth is titled "Chapter Ten: From The Future!" and was written by Steve Skeates and illustrated by Jim Aparo. The story begins with fallen form of Hrothelac, the banished Thane of Bagarth, as he is found by Celts and taken to their village and tended to. The scene cuts to the Time Traveler as he lands in England and eludes some warriors. Anther scene shift takes us back to the land of the Swedes where King Beowfulf's man Eadstan discovers his men have left the area, so he finds a horse and takes the beautiful Freahulf and they ride back to the land of the Geats. In that land the traitor Eowand, the current Thane of Bagarth plots to use the absence of Eadstan to further his ambitions.
"Letters to the Editor -- Hercules" features three letters this time. One is from Sam Glanzman himself and he addresses the question of the slanted eyes of Hercules, pointing out that the slanted eyes he gives to Hercules originate from the designs on Greek vases and have nothing to do with Asians and "Asian villains", who by the way don't have "slanted" eyes anyway. He offers up a chart to prove his point. The other letters compliment the book but complain that it's difficult to find back issues of the comic. The editors say they'll pass this on to the distribution guys.
This is a really offbeat issue. Sam Glanzman is clearly exerting himself trying to make the book more exotic in its design. Many of the pages use very baroque and detailed elements to break up the panel structure. The word "Mod" is used by the editors in the letters page at one point and I assume that's what they are trying to do with the comic, make it more hip somehow. The changes are also seen in the dialogue. As noted some of the lines in the lead Hercules story have a very different tone, very modern. It's a bit jarring, but clearly they are trying to pitch this comic to a more sophisticated crowd. The changes in the Thane of Bagarth storyline presumably come from the same motivation. There's not doubt that the comic is changing.
This comic was largely reprinted under the Modern Comics label in the 1970's.
More to come.