Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vanessa Godden- Herbie Popnecker

Herbie Popnecker first appeared in Forbidden Worlds #73 in December 1958, published by ACG, American Comics Group. It was the introduction of the antithesis of a hero -- short, fat, young -- but this unlikely hero was one of the most powerful and best known beings in history. Deriving some of his powers from genetics and some from magical lollipops from the Unknown, Herbie could talk to animals (who knew him by name), fly (by walking on air), become invisible, and when he got his own comic, travel through time.
In Forbidden Worlds Herbie made several appearances (#73, #94, #110, #114, and #116, the final two with Herbie featured on the cover), during which his character developed: emotionless, terse, irresistible to women, consulted by world leaders, and more powerful than the Devil. Herbie's parents were unaware of his great powers and fame, and his father repeatedly referred to him as a "little fat nothing". Herbie's dad, Pincus Popnecker, was a financial failure with one poorly-conceived scheme after another, but Herbie would bail him out every time and his dad would take the credit for being a business genius.
Herbie also made cameo appearance, albeit very much out of character, in Unknown Worlds #20 published in 1961.
Herbie received his own title in April 1964. The series ran for twenty-three issues until February 1967, shortly before the demise of ACG. The stories were written by Shane O'Shea, one of several pseudonyms of the ACG editor, Richard E. Hughes, with artwork was by Ogden WhitneyComics writer Alan Moore has called Herbie his favorite superhero.

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