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HEPHAESTUS

Real Name: Hephaestus

Occupation: God of fire, the forge, smiths and metalworking; weapons-maker of Olympus

Legal Status: Citizen of Olympus

Identity: The general populace of earth is unaware of the existence of Hephaestus except as a character in mythology.

Other Aliases: Vulcan (his Roman name), Mulciber, (NOTE: In some texts, Hephaestus is mistaken for Typhon.)

Place of Birth: Olympus

Marital Status: Divorced mow remarried

Known Relatives: Zeus (father), Hera (mother); Demeter, Hestia (aunts); Chiron, Poseidon, Hades (uncles); Aphrodite (half sister/ex-wife), Cupid (son), Aglaea (second wife), Asclepius, Deimos, Phobos, (nephews); Ares (brother); Eileithyia, Discord, Hebe (sisters); Apollo, Dionysus, Hercules, Hermes (half-brothers); Artemis, Athena, Discord, Eileithyia, Hebe, Helen, Persephone (half-sisters);

Group Affiliation: The Gods of Olympus

Base of Operations: Olympus; formerly Lemnos, Greece

First Appearance: (historical) Red Raven Comics #1, (modern) Thor I#129

History: Hephaestus is the son of Zeus, King of the Olympian Gods and his wife, Hera. As a youth, Hephaestus was not counted among the most handsome of the gods of Olympus and Zeus accused Hera of being unfaithful and also of possibly in conceiving Hephaestus alone through unknown means. During one of these tirades, Hephaestus attempted to break up their quarrel by coming between them. In a rage, either Zeus or Hera accidentally flung Hephaestus from Olympus and he fell to Earth.

Crashing to Earth, Hephaestus landed near the island of Lemnos and was nursed back to health by sea-goddesses known as the Nereids.  They were able to nurse him to full health but his right leg never healed right and he had to rely on external means to walk. While living on Lemnos, he began his craft as an artisan and began creating inventions and jewelry for the Nereids. As the Nereids often visited Olympus, Hera began to inquire on the creator of their jewelry and eventually traced the work to Hephaestus who she invited back to Olympus. Although backed by Hera to join the main pantheon, Hephaestus tended to prefer his solitary life on Lemnos as a smith.

Zeus made his peace with Hephaestus by making him master of the Cyclops who forged his thunderbolts. With their assistance, he began to excel in his creations among which were the chains and shackles of Prometheus. He also created Talos, the world’s first known robot to be his assistant. He also sculpted Pandora, the statue brought to life for Zeus to teach the nature of sin to mortals.

For all his skills, Hephaestus expected to take Athena, goddess of crafts, to be his wife, but she refused his advances in order to remain true to her vows to be a virgin-goddess. Gaea the Earth mother comforted Hephaestus and she gave birth to his son, Cecrops, who later founded Athens and arbitrated worship rights to it between Athena and Poseidon.

To relieve her son’s yearning for a bride and to make amends on allowing him to be cast out of Olympus, Hera petitioned for Hephaestus when Aphrodite joined the Olympian pantheon since she saw a need to quickly marry off the unpredictable love-goddess. Hephaestus’s marriage was short lived before she began having affairs with all the gods, especially with his older brother Ares. The sun god Helios informed Hephaestus of the adultery and the smith-god then rigged a trap in his marital bed so that a cage would trap Ares and Aphrodite together while in the midst of another romantic tryst. Successfully trapping them together, Hephaestus then dragged them out before all the gods to embarrass them. Poseidon arbitrated the hostility between Ares and Hephaestus as the smith-god ended up divorcing Aphrodite.

Hephaestus eventually married Aglaea, one of the attendants of Aphrodite who had disproved of the affair. He had other affairs of his own without incident and had several sons by Anticlea, a daughter of Autolycus, the self-proclaimed King of Thieves, who raised the boys to be thieves like him. Nearly all of them terrorized the road to Athens until the adventurer Theseus liberated the road.

Hephaestus eventually decided he could blame his original marital misery on Hera. Also blaming her for his lameness, he crafted her a great throne, which then trapped her within it when she sat upon it.  The other gods fruitlessly tried to get Hephaestus to release her from his trap but to no avail. Dionysus eventually succeeded by introducing wine to Hephaestus for the first time and getting him drunk.

Hera seemingly forgave him for his past digressions. Nonetheless, she held both him and Ares above all of other Zeus’s children born out of wedlock. Hephaestus proved his honor to her by defending her against the giant Mimas as he tried to conquer Olympus.

Eventually, Zeus became offended by the Christians being killed by the Romans on Earth and sought to put an end to the worship of the Olympian gods.  Hephaestus was one of the few who didn’t object to the turnover because he preferred his role as a smith to that of the added responsibility as a god. He took major interests in the progress mortals made in technology and industry and often anonymously shared his expertise in the creation of objects of luxury and transportation. By ignoring weapons of war, Hephaestus learned new ways to annoy Ares. Eventually, because of the extent mortal man acquired in exploring the Earth, Hephaestus had to move his forges to Olympus where mortal man would not discover them.

In modern years, Johnny Mann, a war correspondent during World War Two, stumbled upon Hephaestus’ abandoned forge on Lemnos without realizing it and questioned out loud why the gods would allow such bloodshed to exist on earth if they actually existed. Hephaestus appeared to him anonymously and revealed to him that the gods did not create the wars of man and that is why they had no part in it.  Hephaestus saw potential in Mann and with Aphrodite’s assistance gave Mann the ability to attain the powers on an immortal to fight the evil of Ares who was manipulating the conflict on Earth. Mann was one of the first of a few mortals endowed with godly powers along with Captain Marvel, Red Wolf and the Moon Knight.

Eventually, several of the Olympian gods took for advantage the appearances on earth of “superheroes” or costumed adventurers in order to make their existence known to mortals once more, but not as gods. While no one believed in the existence of gods anymore, the general public began believing that individuals such as Hercules, Aphrodite and Apollo were superhumans paying tribute to these old myths. In truth, Hephaestus remained in the background often sharing his mechanical expertise anonymously with mortals while other heroes such as Thor and Wonder Woman encountered the Olympians on a regular basis. When Hercules was the victim of a savage beating from the Wrecking Crew, Hermes spirited him from a mortal hospital on Earth to Olympus to save his life. Zeus blamed Hercules’ allies for the beating that his son had sustained and rallied all the gods to bring the Avengers to Olympus for trial. Hephaestus dealt with the Avenger Thor and even made an attempt to lift his sacred hammer Mjolnir. The Avengers, meanwhile, managed to convince Hephaestus that their involvement in Hercules’ beating was through no part of their own and that Hercules had been lured into a trap after refusing to listen to the orders of the Wasp. Before Hephaestus and the other gods could explain themselves to Zeus, he struck them down for being found with the Avengers. By now, Hercules had been revived through joint efforts by Prometheus and Dr. Druid and he vouched for his own error, completely removing all blame from the Avengers.

Because of his error in judgment, Zeus issued an edict that the gods entirely remove themselves from the affairs of mortals. While this had had no effect on Hephaestus, it has had more than an affect on immortals as Aphrodite and Ares with more than a vested interest in human affairs.

Height: 6’ 5”

Weight: 645 lbs.

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Black

Strength Level: Hephaestus possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) about 40 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Hephaestus possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Olympian Gods. Like all Olympian Gods, he is immortal. He has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any known conventional means. He is immune to all known terrestrial diseases and is invulnerable to conventional injury. If wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for Zeus or a number of gods of equal power working together to revive him. Hephaestus does have some superhuman strength and his own Olympian metabolism gives him far greater than human endurance in all physical activities.  (Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the Olympian's superhuman strength and weight).

Hephaestus also has limited mystical prowess common to all the gods such as the ability to transport long distances and to create and project flame. He could place mystical enchantments on inanimate objects to be more powerful than their natural properties or to hold other enchantments. He can create entities out of molten metal that follow his bidding and as well endow sentience in the physical objects that he can create. He is also extremely long-lived having ceased to age since reaching adulthood. He is immune to terrestrial disease and cannot be harmed by any conventional means. 

Abilities: Hephaestus is a master weapons maker, inventor, sculptor and artisan. Among his creations are the chains of Prometheus, armor of Achilles and Talos the artificial man. Hephaestus has extra-ordinary deductive abilities enabling him to realize how any object works after studying it and then being able to disassemble and assemble the object at will.

Limitations: Hephaestus is lame and often resorts to additional means to walk.

Clarifications: Hephaestus should not be confused with:  

 

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