You know, sometimes I remember there’s some superhero out there that practically does my job for this column for me. Besides, this guy will probably be a lot less forgotten by this time next year.
Yes, let’s look at Marvel’s Gilgamesh, the Forgotten One.
The Eternals, coming next year to a theater near you whether you want them there or not, are a group of immortal, godlike beings in the Marvel Universe. During a visit to Earth, the cosmic aliens the Celestials empowered some humans to protect the others and the planet until they returned or something.
The Celestials don’t really talk much.
One among these new Eternals used his superhuman strength to defend the weak, and the mightiest of the Celestials dubbed him “Hero”. Over time, Hero wandered around and became, basically, the strong guy in who knows how many ancient myths and legends. By then, his name was changed to the Forgotten One.
If that isn’t a Misplaced Hero, I don’t know what is.
At some point in the modern age, this guy joined the Avengers as Gilgamesh because, well, he probably was the actual Gilgamesh.
By the by, the Gilgamesh legend is about a guy with his wild man friend who went looking for immortality and never quite found it. The irony here is this Gilgamesh didn’t need it.
So, yeah, when the Avengers couldn’t get Thor or Hercules, they’d call on Gilgamesh. Considering Thor and Hercules are generally available, the Avengers didn’t call Gilgamesh that often.
And then he died when an agent of Immortus (or Kang) managed to kill him. But, he’s an Eternal, so those guys were designed so they can only die if you destroy them completely on a molecular level.
Of course, the Eternals are coming to the big screen in 2020, and the more ethnically diverse cast includes actor Don Lee as the Forgotten One.
So, maybe we’ll be remembering him more in the future.
By the by, Valiant Comics also did a thing on the Gilgamesh legend. Valiant’s library of characters includes three functionally immortal brothers. In a special issue of Archer and Armstrong, superstrong lover of drink, women, drugs, and poetry Armstrong related how in very ancient times he went on a quest with his two brothers Ivar and Gilad for an immortality machine. It didn’t quite work, but all three brothers did end up living very long lives. Brainy Ivar became the Timewalker who could step across eras. He was apparently Gilgamesh. Savage fighter Gilad became the chosen defender of the world by the Earth spirit, the Eternal Warrior. He was Gilgamesh’s wild man friend. And Armstrong? He wrote his one and only work of poetry in honor of his two brothers and was the author of the Gilgamesh epic.
For what it’s worth, that’s kinda cool too.