Sunday, August 19, 2007

(link:) A quick Herbie Popnecker web round-up

During the tumultuous decade of the 1960's, there was a benchmark for quirkiness being quietly established in the pages of 'Herbie' comic books.

Published by ACG, Herbie's adventures began in 1958 as a curious back-up feature in 'Forbidden Worlds', a fantasy anthology.

After a handful of appearances over the next several years, Herbie landed his own series in 1964.

The title ran for 23 issues, until 1967, written by ACG editor Richard E. Hughes (under his pseudonym Shane O'Shea), with artwork by Ogden Whitney.

Herbie comics were partly wry super-hero parody, partly broad, cornball antics, and part surrealist playground.

Herbie himself was a cypher - - a "little fat nothing", emotionally blank with little to say, but incongruously charismatic and capable of amazing feats.

The perfect unlikely hero.

Many fans around the web have commented on the power and mystery (and don't forget - - FUN) of Herbie and Herbie Comics.

Here are some links to just a few, all with additional compelling images...

- A cover gallery at The Grand Comics Database Project

- A profile of Herbie artist Ogden Whitney was included in the book, 'Art Out Of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900 - 1969'.
In a 2006 preview that ran at The Comics Reporter, some quotes from author Dan Nadel are included regarding Whitney's "so generic it's unique" drawing style.

- Scott Shaw's Oddball Comics archives at Comic Book Resources has several Herbie Covers and story synopses available, from a 2003 week-long focus.

- A small tribute at Silver Age Comics

- 'This Is Herbie Popnecker', at Chris's Invincible Super-Blog

- Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine presents 'Herbie Hallucinates In Hell' - - and posits a theory regarding the final Herbie story to run in Forbidden Worlds.

- DIAL B for BLOG's spotlight on Herbie's costumed alter-ego, 'The Fat Fury'.

(ADDENDUM, 12/14/07 - Follow this link to an archived reprinting of the 9-page story 'Professor Flipdome's Screwy Machine', originally presented in Herbie #4. Currently on display at Again With the Comics.)

ADDENDUM, 8/30/07 - ▼ Just found this slightly poor black & white reprint of another old Herbie ad.
It was on the back cover of a 1997 reprint of a '50's issue of 'Eh!' - one of several 'MAD' knockoffs - that had originally been published by ACG.

ADDENDUM, 4/20/08 - Some welcome news:

Due for release later this year is the Herbie Archive Volume 1 hardcover edition, to be published by Dark Horse Comics.

224 pages in full color, collecting the character's earliest appearances.

Herbie available to the masses again, not merely the intrepid collectors!

ADDENDUM, 8/01/08 - Wow! Thanks to Gary Perlman for sending along a link to his scholarly website,
'Herbie Popnecker: Examples of Recurring Themes'!

A frighteningly thorough examination that catalogs over 1000 examples of 48 different recurring themes in Herbie Comics!!


Percy Trout said...

How odd. I've seen Herbie before... but never knew he had his own book. I wish someone would come along and collect all the odd ACG books into trade paperbacks. Who owns the rights to the ACG canon?

WEISSMAN said...

I once knew a gal who spent many hours trying to solve that riddle. I think the trail died somewhere in Canada but I'll bet Dan Nadel knows better...

I think I've spent more money on old Herbie comics than any other series!

(no regrets)

Kip W said...

I saw Marv Wolfman at a con in '84, and since he was a Herbie fan from way back (they published his name in one of the original issues as third place winner in a story contest) I asked him why DC wasn't publishing Herbie. With some regret, he said that about the only way to find out who owned the rights was "to publish and see who sued."

He also told me about Richard Hughes. Up to that moment, I'd believed in the existence of Shane O'Shea, but Wolfman straightened me out on the point. Hughes, he told me, wrote just about all the stories in ACG under a variety of names, as well as editing the letters pages and writing some of the letters. Whitney was still alive at that point, but in no shape to draw anything, unfortunately. It was probably the most informative ten or fifteen minutes I've ever had at a con.

Anonymous said...

I have a collection of over 1000 examples of 48 recurring themes from Herbie stories at

Thombeau said...

What the deuce???

(Believe it or not, my word verification code was "belly"! I kid you not!!)

Freshly-stirred links