I don’t know about other dogs, but my dad’s chocolate labrador has enough drool to create a modest stream and he’s just a normal sized dog with a single head. Hades’ own companion with his size and three heads must take an entire janitorial staff to clean up after. That is, unless this mighty river of saliva were diverted to other causes…say, creating a river no one can cross without the help of a certain ferryman?
Ugh, that job just got a little less appealing…
Cerberus, the monstrous offpsring of the serpent-woman Echidna and Typhon, the fire breathing giant locked away by the Greek gods, was the terrifying guardian of the gates of the underworld. Having a taste for living flesh, the beast was said to allow only the dead to pass, choosing to devour any would-be trespassers into the realm of Hades, save a few notable exceptions. While descriptions of the beast differ, the most famous version is the one shown in the comic, a fairly normal dog with three heads and an impressive size. Some images and texts describe him as having as many as fifty heads or even include a mane of snakes, but that seems a little excessive to me. A monstrous guard dog with three heads is scary enough.
Cerberus was such an effective guard dog that only a few heroes managed to make their way past him and into the underworld on various errands. All of them, save one, did so through trickery. Aeneas, with the help of a sibyl who drugged Cerberus managed to sneak past, Odysseus managed to get into the underworld seemingly by avoiding the front gates, and Orpheus, using his unearthly talent with music charmed this hellish guardian with his lyre. Hence the saying, music soothes even the savage beast!
Only Heracles was able to overcome Cerberus with strength in direct combat, taking the dog and choking it in his arms until it passed out. This was his Twelfth and final labor, to conquer Hades’ guard dog and drag it to the surface, which he accomplished in spectacular fashion.
Throughout the thousands of years that Cerberus spent keeping a watchful eye on the entrance to the underworld, only these four living men made it by him. That’s a pretty impressive record, though one has to imagine there couldn’t have been many people dying to get in.
Or maybe there were?
Well if they weren’t dying when they came in, they certainly were when they got to the gates.
On an Unrelated Note:
We’re back with more comics! For those of you that haven’t joined the facebook page or follow me on twitter, I sold my old macbook pro last week and used the proceeds to build a brand new desktop computer! It’s wonderful having all this hard disk space and the ability to work at decent resolutions without slowdown. I do apologize for the lack of comics last week, I didn’t get my parts until Wednesday and then had to spend the next couple of days setting up programs and shortcuts and brushes as well as getting all my files from external hard drives. Anyway, we’re all set now so the comic train continues! There will be a comic on Friday!
Thanks to Liz for helping me get back in the swing of writing and helping to come up with this strip!