Tom broke the news that one of the most fondly remembered of all golden age humor comics is finally getting a reprint courtesy of Dark Horse . It’s HERBIE by Ogden Whitney. We can’t say that we’ve ever actually read an issue of Herbie, by Ogden Whitney. (It was before even our time.) But we’ve certainly HEARD enough about it over the years, and lollipop sucking Herbie Popnecker is a familar symbol of the golden age of funny comics. Don Markstein’s Toonopedia has more
Herbie first appeared in the 73rd issue (December, 1958) of Forbidden Worlds, a sci-fi/fantasy/horror title that had never before featured continuing characters. “Herbie’s Quiet Saturday Afternoon” was a typical ACG story, about a character despised by his peers (in this case, because he was a very fat and slow-moving little boy, and overly addicted to lollipops), but who has hidden depths. Unknown to family and schoolmates alike, Herbie had vast, undefined, and unexplained super powers, which he used several times in the story, including foiling an alien invasion before anyone else even became aware of it. By story’s end, like Michigan J. Frog, he shed all signs of the extraordinary, and resumed his patient endurance of the constant taunts and barbs.
The artist was Ogden Whitney (Skyman, The Hooded Horseman). His illustration was understated almost to the point of blandness, but often showed flashes of subtle, sometimes sly humor. He proved perfectly suited to Herbie (who, by the way, is said to have been based on Whitney’s own appearance as a boy), depicting the “Little Fat Nothing” (as Herbie’s father, Pincus Popnecker, often called him) as a profoundly dull slug, yet able to make the character work in action scenes.