Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Oddball Super Heroes: Herbie Popnecker AKA Herbie the Fat Fury

Hi there! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, your internet home for lollipops. I'm Dave-El and I'm irresistible to women... in my own way.

Today is another installment of my ongoing series of posts, Oddball Super Heroes. Today I'm going to begin a series on some obscure heroes from publishers other than Marvel or DC. 

For good or ill, the comic book industry is mostly identified with super heroes, well-chiseled men and beautifully curved women in bright costumes wielding amazing powers or employing astonishing gimmicks in the battle against villainous forces both garish and grotesque. 
But comic books have explored genres and characters beyond the cape and cowl set. Funny animals, soldiers in World War II, adventurers in the Old American West, horror stories and science fiction fantasies.
But there were comic books that defied any kind of ready categorization.

There were comics like Herbie.
Herbie as in Herbie Popnecker. Herbie did not look or act like a comic book star. Short, unstylish, emotionless, terse, Herbie Popnecker was a rather unappealing boy.

On the other hand, Herbie could:
  • talk to animals  (who all know him by name)
  • fly at high enough speeds to quickly travel to other galaxies (by walking through the sky)
  • become invisible
  • cast spells and summon spirits from other dimensions
  • quickly dispatch his enemies with apparent ease
  • travel through time.

Herbie had a knack for always having the right thing for the right time: marshmallows in King Arthur's time, worms to drop in Mao's mouth, a bicycle pump in his pocket, or a blowtorch in the frozen north. ("Never mind where I got it from, either.")

Herbie's most frequent and beloved props were his lollipops. Herbie can "bop" adversaries with his lollipops, immediately defeating them. Herbie intimidates his adversaries by asking them rhetorically, "You want I should bop you with this here lollipop?" Believe it or not, this almost always results in them backing down.

Herbie, despite is visible shortcomings, was irresistible to women, consulted by world leaders, and more powerful than Satan.

Herbie is known by everyone including current world leaders and historical figures. However, his own parents are clueless to their son's special talents.  His father, Pincus Popnecker, is particularly harsh towards Herbie, often calling him "little fat nothing" and wishes he had a son who "did something".

Herbie made his debut in 1958 in Forbidden Worlds, a comic book published by American Comics Group. After several appearance in that title, Herbie got his own book which ran for 23 issues between 1964 and 1967. The series ended when American Comics Group went out of business.

During the course of Herbie's title, our hero decided to become a costumed super hero, the Fat Fury. Well, it was the 1960's, Batman was on TV and everybody was trying to get into the super hero game.

The adventures of the Fat Fury were basically the adventures of Herbie except now Herbie was decked out on in full-body red underwear, a blue cape, a blue plastic mask, and a plunger on his head. Herbie's dim witted dad wished his "fat little nothing of a son could be more like the Fat Fury." The Fat Fury was featured in Herbie's book in the even numbered issues between 8 and 22.

Herbie and his corpulent crimson costumed counterpart may have made for some very oddball comic book characters, these comics are fondly remembered for wild, inventive storytelling, a wicked sense of humor and some pretty good art from Ogden Whitney.

Next week, another fat super hero with a short shelf life and the weirdest powers ever.

In the meantime, another new post is up tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another.  

HE'S ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!

Today is April 24th. Art by Bill Watterson Happy birthday to me!   By the way, I got a birthday greeting from Bing!