Brand Echh – Herbie #14

One of the most memorable and idiosyncratic characters of the silver age of comics was Herbie Popnecker. Herbie started out as the star of a single one-off mystery/supernatural story, but proved so popular with the readership of the American Comics Group that he was brought back time and time again, and eventually gained his own title. Not truly a super hero, Herbie was a “fat little nothing” as his father would say to him, who was actually the most powerful and godlike being in existence. His weird adventures were full of whimsy and out-and-out comedy.

Herbie was the creation of ACG editor Richard Hughes (writing here under the pseudonym Shane O’Shea) and artist Ogden Whitney. As super heroes became a popular segment in the marketplace, Herbie began to occasionally don the guise of the Fat Fury, and lampoon the other flying crimebusters that his creator had such a disinterest in. This particular Herbie story features a crossover with ACG’s two other main super heroes, Micmac and Nemesis, and pretty well takes the piss out of the both of them.

All of Herbie’s amazing abilities come from a variety of strange lollipops that he keeps on hand. Most typically used for bopping people.

Marvel style, upon meeting, the heroes first mistakenly fight one another.

Fat Fury’s flying technique befuddles the more staid heroes. The underlying gag in this whole story is that, while Herbie himself is completely absurd, he’s no more so than the two “straight” heroes with whom he’s being contrasted. They’re all equally ridiculous.

It literally only just occurred to me, but Herbie’s plunger headpiece is designed to make the Fat Fury resemble a lollipop himself!

2 thoughts on “Brand Echh – Herbie #14

  1. I’m rather surprised that the panel on the last page in which Herbie “lets one rip” (actually, just the sound of his pants letting go as Roderick Bump is pulled free from the marshmallow adhering him to Herbie’s butt) was left “unhindered” by the CCA as it and Herbie’s dialogue created an undoubtedly unintended double entendre by Hughes. Also, notice that amidst the panorama of “costume heroes” shown on a newsstand’s comic books is Ogden Whitney’s 1940s co-creation (with Gardner Fox) Skyman, who starred in BIG SHOT #1-101 and four issues of his own title, published by Columbia Comics.

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