No. 212 – S.A.M.S.O.N.

Prog 165’s (1980) M.A.C.H. 0 Book 2 cover, drawn by Mike Dorey and written by Steve McManus (2000 AD editor 1979–1987) v Samson [Hebrew: שִׁמְשׁוֹן, pronounced “shimshon”, meaning “man of the sun”] destroying the temple, pictured here in Cecil B. DeMille’s (1881–1959) Samson and Delilah[1] (1949), played by Victor Mature (1913–1999)

Samson, the mighty Nazirite hero of the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible (chapters 13–16), possessed of divine superhuman strength, having divulged the source of his strength – his hair, but you know, actually God – to his betraying lover Delilah, is subsequently tortured, blinded and forced into hard labour by the Philistines. During a moment of respite, Samson leans against the pillars of the Temple of Dagon[2] (Hebrew: דָּגוֹן‎, a Mesopotamian and ancient Canaanite deity), where he is to attend a ceremony celebrating his capture, and prays for one last spurt of strength which he memorably uses to demolish the structure, killing himself, his captors and some 3,000 worshippers[3].

Notes:

  1. We’re fairly sure we’ve seen the exact pose used by Dorey for M.A.C.H.0 on the prog cover elsewhere, but couldn’t find it for love nor money (mainly love)
  2. The inspiration for H.P. Lovecraft’s (1890–1937) short story Dagon (The Vagrant, 1919), due to its association with the “merman” motif in Assyrian and Phoenician art
  3. Judges 16:25–34

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