Once upon a time, there was a good-looking hulk of a man who fought for the gods and defeated evil. That man could be either He-Man or Hercules, because I wasn’t too specific there.
Anyway, He-Man and Hercules have some things in common, but maybe not that many? Let’s find out in a battle of champions! (Please tell me you read that like a fight announcer.)
Physicality. As I mentioned previously, Hercules and He-Man are hulks of men. In fact, I’m sure that, if the name Hulk hadn’t already been taken, one of these guys would have gotten it. Probably He-Man, since Hercules originated in the ancient Greek times, and the Incredible Hulk didn’t come about till there was nuclear power. Anyway, the point of this paragraph is that one man is a cartoon and the other occasionally looks like Kevin Sorbo. Winner? Hercules.
Has a really lame alter ego? Hercules is Hercules, no matter what the occasion. Kind of like the rest of us, only awesome. When He-Man isn’t He-Man, he’s Prince Adam of Eternia, a guy who looks exactly like He-Man. He’s got basically the worst disguise in the history of ever. Even worse than those superheroes who just put a mask on over their eyes.
Has a cooler sidekick? Does Hercules have a sidekick? I’m sure in the Disney-ization of his life, he had some sort of wise-cracking sidekick, but just thinking about that makes me crabby. So, even if he did have a sidekick, the sidekick was probably lame. He-Man, on the other hand, has a giant green tiger as a sidekick. Also as a vehicle. That tiger is known as Battle-Cat, which is what I should have named my mean, mean, mean cat. Winner? He-Man.
Pouted like a whiny little crying man-baby when his boy toy was killed? Once, Hercules went on a mission with Jason and the Argonauts. Well, I guess I should say “Once, Hercules started to go on a mission with Jason and the Argonauts, but he never finished it because his boy toy was killed and he had a big fat pouty fit.” I mean, sure, who doesn’t mourn the death of their boy-toy, but we expect more from a hero. He-Man was a children’s cartoon to sell children’s toys. Most children’s parents don’t let them buy boy toy toys. (It makes slightly more sense if you read it aloud; also, people will laugh at you.) Winner? Hercules.
Killed his entire family when he was struck mad by the goddess Hera, who hated him? Er, let’s not even play games here and admit that the winner was Hercules.
Completed 12 tasks of varying degrees of awesome? Hercules completed 12 tasks of varying degrees of awesome. He-Man mostly fought weird monsters and taught us important moral lessons like buy He-Man toys already. Winner? Hercules.
Could transform from a wee girly-man into a hulking man of power? Hercules never went through the awkward “wee girly-man” stage. As a matter of fact, neither did He-Man, because he and Prince Adam look exactly alike. Gods, I just can’t get over what a shitty disguise that is. Winner? Nobody.
Gets to hang out with Bruce Campbell? (You knew I had to make this a category, right?) On the television series Hercules, Hercules hangs out with Bruce Campbell. Because he is just that lucky. He-Man gets to hang out with Man-At-Arms who, while awesome, is no Bruce Campbell. Winner? Hercules.
Died a horrible, agonizing death? Hercules, coincidentally, died a horrible, agonizing death. He has no one but himself to blame, because who tells their wife they’re going off to marry a better princess? (This is not the wife he murdered, by the way. This is a different wife. He had at least two, and would have had at least three, were it not for his horrible, agonizing death.) You especially don’t tell your wife whose in possession of a magical cloak that you’re off to wed someone better than she, because she will use that magic cloak. Of course, she thought it was a magic cloak of love, but it turns out it was a magic cloak of horrible, agonizing death, and Hercules’ torment was only ended when he was set upon his own funeral pyre. Like, how painful is your dying agony when burning to death is a release? (The answer is so painful.) He-Man lives on in the hearts and souls of all the children of the ’80s everywhere, except for some of those third-world countries that are only just now getting the cartoon. He! Lives! Winner? Hercules.
Has a better toy line? Does Hercules even have a toy line? If he doesn’t, he should. But even if he does, it couldn’t be as awesome as He-Man’s toy line, which had Castle Greyskull and stuff. Winner? He-Man.
Manlier name? Hercules is the romanized version of the name Heracles, which the boy was given so that the goddess Hera would take mercy on him, being the bastard son of her cheating husband and all. It didn’t particularly work. He-Man, on the other hand, is a combination of the words “he” and “man” with a hyphen in between them, which you already knew because you can read. Anyway, that’s the manliest name that was ever uttered, except maybe for somebody name Guy Dick Manley Mann. Winner? He-Man. Overall winner? Hercules, because the Greeks had the best heroes of all.