Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Oddball Super Heroes: Fatman the Human Flying Saucer

Last week, we took a look at the strange but really did exist comic book character of Herbie Popnecker, also known as Herbie the Fat Fury. Yes, Herbie was a corpulent figure which was a common go-to in comic books for humor, making a character fat. 

It was not an uncommon attribute among certain sidekick characters like Wonder Woman's Etta Candy or Plastic Man's Woozy Winks. One of the earliest efforts at squeezing a portly figure into super hero tights was Uncle Marvel over at Fawcett Comics. Ostensibly part of Captain Marvel's family of characters, Uncle Dudley was not only fat but actually did not have access to the magic of Shazam so he did not have any super powers. So he's fat and a fake, ha, ha, ha.  

But with the revival of super heroes in the 1960s in the wake of the Batman TV series phenomenon, every comic book publisher was looking for their only super hero successes. And to stand out in a crowd, a super hero with a unique spin. 

Which brings us to today's featured character for Oddball Super Heroes.    

Van Crawford came upon a crashed alien flying saucer. But the saucer wasn't transporting an alien; no, the saucer itself was a shape shifting alien. In gratitude for Van assistance, the alien gave Van a chocolate drink (giggle!) that gave Van the super human ability of transforming himself (snort!) into a human flying saucer (snicker!). 

Van Crawford was a very wealthy man as it so often happens in comic books. (Mystic gems, nuclear accidents and parents murdered in an alleyway almost never seem to happen to poor people in comic books.) So Van Crawford did what all wealthy men in comics do and decided to use his new found powers as a super hero. 

And thus was born....



See, it's funny, because it's a silly power AND he's fat! 

Fat = funny, right? 


OK, it was the 1960's. A lot of weird stuff was going down in the 1960's and I'm not sure I should have to apologize for it all.  

If there is a passing familiarity about Fatman's costume, it's because this character was created by C. C. Beck, the original artist/creator of Captain Marvel

While not one of Beck's best creations, his involvement did contribute to a certain quirk in the legend of Fatman the Human Flying Saucer

1) Fatman was published by a company called Lightning Comics, an entity that was not around very long.

2) In fact, there were only three issues of Fatman published. 

3) And the print runs of those three issues were really low. Where a single issue of Superman or Fantastic Four back in the 1960's have printed a million copies, Fatman's print run per issue numbered only in the thousands.

4) And as noted above, Fatman was created by the same guy who created Captain Marvel, a very significant pedigree. 

The upshot is that if you can find a copy of Fatman the Human Flying Saucer, it can be quite valuable due to its rarity and Beck's artwork. 

Not bad for a portly short lived super hero with a chocolate drink that could turn him into a flying saucer.  


And that's that for today. More Oddball Super Heroes to come in the weeks ahead. And there's a new post coming up tomorrow. In the meantime, remember to be good to one another.

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