HERBIE

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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.

Comments

  1. Stan Landman says

    Herbie’s publication date of 1958 makes hime a SILVER AGE CHARACTER not a Golden Age character

  2. Torsten Adair says

    As a child, I would pretend that the classic roll of Lifesavers would give me superpowers based on the flavor.
    Might we soon see the return/reprint of the Red Tornado? (Perhaps as a 52 universe with Sugar and Spike?)

  3. Ron says

    Best news today!

    Would love to read a Flaming Carrot / Herbie Popnecker story!

  4. says

    Reprinted several times by several publishers (including DH) with new material as well by former Herbie lookalike John Byrne. (Just kidding, John. Really!)

    Classic character. Would be perfect for Adult Swim, actually.

    Hmmmmm.

    Attention Williams Street: Give me a shout if interested! I’m ready to produce!

  5. says

    Sure hope DCBS or somebody carries this at a substantial discount. I’m curious, but not $50 curious.

  6. says

    What that announcement DOESN’T mention is that the fine folks at Dark Horse have enlisted the world’s biggest ODDBALL COMICS fan to write the introductions to all of the HERBIE Archives, reprinting what may be the most ODDBALL COMIC book series ever. (Yeah, I’m referring to myself.)

    In fact, I’ve already written the first one —

    — “You Want I Should Bop You With This Here Introduction?”

    Aloha,

    Scott!

  7. says

    And believe it or not, I don’t use the word “Oddball” a single time in the entire intro. Talk about restraint!

    Aloha,

    Scott!

  8. says

    Ron Says:

    03/11/08 at 10:46 am
    Best news today!

    “Would love to read a Flaming Carrot / Herbie Popnecker story!”

    There was a Flaming Carrot issue where they teamed up in 1999 or so where they time travel. It’s worth hunting down!

  9. Ali T. Kokmen says

    > Is this any relation to Herbie, the Human Flying Saucer?

    As in the Otto Binder/C.C. Beck Fatman, The Human Flying Saucer character? IIRC, that character wasn’t a Herbie–his secret identity was Van something-or-other–but Fatman is sometimes confused with Herbie Popnecker because of the latter’s “Fat Fury” nickname.

  10. Nate says

    “Herbie’s publication date of 1958 makes hime a SILVER AGE CHARACTER not a Golden Age character”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  11. hi says

    a while back there was a book that printed some herbie along with other weird cartoons “Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries 1900-1969: Dan Nadel”

  12. says

    OH yeah – Fatman, the Human Flying Saucer.

    That was one of the rare ones I found at a New Jersey garage sale. Thanks for clearing that one up for me, Ali.

    ~

    Coat

  13. Arizona Tim says

    For many years I carried the nickname, the Fat Fury as my friends nicknamed me that. My daughter just asked me why I had a H tatooed on my shoulder and I had to confess, I was Herbie Popnecker for years!

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