Real Name: Herbie Popnecker
Identity/Class: Human transformed by magical lollipops
Occupation: School boy and world saver
Affiliations: Member of the Three Musketeers (the other two being Nemesis, Magicman)
Enemies: Chontuk; Glooble; Frenchy Horowitz; Satan; the Man in the Cloak; Mr.Horrible; the Black Whack; Moronman; Garbageman, Halfaman, Monkeyman, Pigman, Pizzaman, Frogman; the Question Mark; the Robot Fat Fury; Magical Moe
Known Relatives: Pincus Popnecker (father); Mrs Popnicker (mother); Mr.Popnecker (grandfather), Livinia (aunt(
Aliases: "Little Fat Nothing" (his father's name for him); The Plump Lump (another nickname)
Base of Operations: Mobile throughout all time and space.
First Appearance: (as Herbie) Forbidden Worlds #73 (American Comic Group [ACG], December 1958); (as The Fat Fury) Herbie #8 (ACG, March 1965).
Powers/Abilities: Using lollipops supplied to him by the mysterious Unknown, Herbie could gain a variety of powers. Long before becoming the Fat Fury, many a villain would quake in their shoes at the threat "... gonna bop you with this here lollipop...!", an attack which could take down any foe (seriously). His most dangerous lollipop was the rare Cinnamon flavoured one. Herbie was effectively invulnerable and had superhuman strength. Other abilities his lollipops gave him included talking to animals, walking on air and the ability to time travel.
History: As a child Herbie Popnecker's pacifier had been stolen by a bird, and circus owner Chick Beeple had given him a lollipop instead, which had started off his life long obsession with them. By the time he was a teenager, he was an extremely plump and slow-moving boy, addicted to lollipops, who was constantly ridiculed and taunted by his fellows. Unbeknownst to all of them, Herbie also possessed incredible super-powers, given to him by the lollipops he constantly sucked, and when no one was watching he would secretly stop alien invasions and battle spies and criminals, before returning unspotted and unrewarded to his life of unwarranted insults.
(Forbidden Worlds # 73, Herbies Quiet Saturday Afternoon) Pincus Popnicker berates his son for doing nothing with his life, not realising that Herbie has just thwarted an attempted invasion led by Chontuk and Glooble.
(Forbidden Worlds # 94, Herbie and the Spirits) When Herbie is dared into visiting a haunted house, he encounters real ghosts and supernatural beings - unlucky for them...
(Unknown Worlds # 20, 1,000 Years Ago In 1962") Herbie briefly cameos in this science fiction story.
(Forbidden Worlds # 110, Herbie and the Sneddigers Salad Oil) When Herbie's mother needs a bottle of Sneddiger's Salad Oil, and aliens prove to have stolen the entire world supply of it, it's up to Herbie to save the day.
(Forbidden Worlds # 114, A Little Fat Nothing Called Herbie) Herbie is summoned to the White House by John F. Kennedy, and sent on a mission to the rich but closed African nation of Meranga, a country under the dictatorial command of the god Karod. Herbie makes short work of him; Meranga becomes open to commerce, and Karod becomes a White House decoration.
(Forbidden Worlds # 116, Herbie Goes to the Devil) The same day Pincus Popnecker loses his job, Satan is taunted by his accountant that he is losing it. To disprove this, the Devil throws a dart randomly at a map of America, and thus picks Herbie as his next target. He appears to the rotund lad that night, and offers him whatever he wants "more than anything else in the world". Herbie asks for lollipops, but the Lord of Lies tries to convince him he'd want to be a movie star instead. He takes Herbie to be the new lead on the film Cleopatra, but Herbie decides he'd rather suck a lollipop than kiss his gorgeous co-star. Since this hasn't worked, Satan offers to make him a successful businessman instead. Herbie agrees, and signs the deal on the understanding that his father should receive the benefits. The next morning Pincus discovers he's just inherited a lollipop factory, something Herbie is extremely happy about. However a little while later two of Satan's minions arrive to take Herbie to Hades. Herbie drives them off using paintings of lollipops he brings to an extremely animated life. After taking advice from a number of unusual friends, Herbie decides he must honour his deal, and digs his way through miles of rock to get to Hades. Attacked by the two minions from earlier, he melts them with a glance, then repels Satan's Security Force. When Satan himself orders Herbie into a furnace, the flames flee in terror; unperturbed, Satan promises that Herbie will remain in Hades for all eternity. So Herbie unionizes the devil's imps, and gets them to go on strike. Satan gives in and rips up the contract, pleading with Herbie never to return. Herbie digs his way back to the surface to discover his father has sold the factory for a tidy profit, before his son could eat all the wares.
(Herbie # 1, Herbie and the Dragons Tears) When scientists determine that they need dragon's tears to complete a new rocket fuel and allow America to win the space race, Lyndon Johnson asks Herbie to acquire them.
(Herbie # 1, The Triumph of Eibreh Rekcenpop text story) Herbie bats for the New York Giants, so that the team, his father's favourite, will not lose an important match.
(Herbie # 1, Herbie Beards Castro) Herbie goes to Cuba and frees a political prisoner.
(Herbie # 2, Herbie and the Purloined Pops) Mistaken for a notorious lollipop thief, Herbie is arrested and taken before a Senate Investigations Committee for questioning.
(Herbie # 2, Lollipop Astronaut text story) Herbie travels to the planet Fink along with a group of astronauts.
(Herbie # 2, What You Need is a Girl, Herbie) A pretty girl takes a shine to Herbie, but even with his powers, he finds it hard to satisfy her whims.
(Herbie # 3, Herbie and the Loch Ness Monster) When Winston Churchill needs someone to stop the Loch Ness Monster's rampages, Herbie is the only man for the job.
(Herbie # 3, Herbies Typical Tuesday text story) Having bought some land, Pincus Popnecker discovers an inconveniently place mountain on it, so Herbie removes the offending piece of geography.
(Herbie # 3, Popnecker Saves the Poorhouse) Herbie retrieves some stolen poorhouse money his father had originally gathered.
(Herbie # 4, Big Fat Mess at the Okay Corral) Herbie goes back in time to the Gunfight at the O.K.Corral.
(Herbie # 4, Professor Flipdomes Screwy Machine) Mad scientist Professor Flipdome shrinks Herbie and his dad and puts them in a tiny world inhabited by duplicates of real world people - including it's own Herbie!
(Herbie # 5, Sahib Herbie) Herbie is asked by the UN Secretary General to stop a Communist Casanova from seducing an Indian princess.
(Herbie # 5, "Herbie, Boy Beetle) Herbie goes undercover as one of the Beetles (that's how they spell it) to find out why people are whistling out their ears after eating unusual popcorn.
(Herbie # 6, A Caveman Named Herbie) Herbie travels back to prehistoric times to find proof that cavemen weren't as stupid as people think.
(Herbie # 6, Space-Age Herbie) Herbie investigates a giant lollipop on another planet.
(Herbie # 7, Good Old Peepwhistle) Trying to join his father's old prep school, Herbie attempts to pledge to a fraternity.
(Herbie # 7, High Spirits) When overcrowding in the next life drive four ghosts back to ours to haunt a castle, Herbie is not amused.
(Herbie # 8, Make Way For the Fat Fury) Herbie adopts the costumed identity of the Fat Fury for the first time in order to defeat the super villain Mr.Horrible.
(Herbie # 8, George Washingtons Teeth) Herbie nips back to the War of Independence to confirm the true reason for the war starting.
(Herbie # 9, Lookit All the Herbies) Mad Professor Flipdome returns, this time with a device that creates an army of plastic duplicate Herbies.
(Herbie # 9, Only Robin Hood Can Help You, Herbie) Herbie goes back to Robin Hood's time to get himself a perfectly balanced bow.
(Herbie # 10, Plump Lump vs. Black Whack) Robberies are plaguing the town, happening while people are present, and yet these witnesses all claim they can't recall the thefts. Meanwhile Pincus is working as the manager of a bowling ball manufacturing company, which sends out balls within sheaths marked with a pair of sinister glowing eyes. Pincus is of course unaware that each ball contains a hidden device which is designed to hypnotise the person the ball is delivered to - they are to allow whatever happens thereafter to happen unimpeded, then forget both the event and the delivery of the ball. Once the person is hypnotised, the delivery man then comes in, steals anything valuable and leaves, complete with the incriminating ball. However this cunning plan falls apart when Herbie is sent a ball; he argues with the device until it breaks. When the delivery man swings by to steal Herbie's lollipops, Herbie makes short work of him.
Later that night a crook wearing a hood with glowing eyes, identical to the markings on the sheaths the balls come in, breaks in to the house, and retrieves the ball. Herbie overhears him mentioning to the ball the address where they will be going, and the next morning the portly child calls his good friend J.Edgar Hoover. The FBI swoop into action...and arrest Pincus. Meanwhile the real culprit, company owner J.J.Diddlehoffer, a.k.a. Black Whack, attempts to flee the country in his ship. In his Fat Fury persona, Herbie pursues him, retrieves the stolen goods, and sends Black Whack to Davy Jones Locker.
(Herbie # 10, Ticklepuss Rides Again) Ticklepuss, a cavegirl Herbie met in prehistoric times, is discovered during a dig beneath Herbie's house, in a state of suspended animation.
(Herbie # 11, Beware of the B-Bomb, Buster) After a spy steals the deadly B-Bomb, Lyndon Johnson asks Herbie to retrieve it.
(Herbie # 11, Christopher Columbus Popnecker) Wanting to raise money to purchase a lollipop factory, Herbie goes back to 1492 to get Columbus' autograph.
(Herbie # 12, Good Gosh, the Gorilla) The Fat Fury captures an escaped circus gorilla.
(Herbie # 12, Pincus Popnecker, Private Eye) Pincus becomes a private eye and tries to track down a thief who has been stealing fat.
(Herbie # 13, Pirate Gold) Pincus discovers that the owner of whichever concession booth raises the most money at the forthcoming charity fair will be made the president of the men's club. He tries selling gold-painted cardboard as "pirate gold", but finds no one is interested. Herbie decides that if he can see what real pirate gold looks like, then he could make his father a better imitation version which would sell better, and thus sets off in a flying grandfather's clock to the time of Black Bottomly the pirate. Forced to walk the plank, Herbie proceeds to battle a giant octopus which tries to purloin his lollipops before being surrounded by love-struck mermaids. The pressure of all these bodies causes him to shoot out of the water back onto the deck of the pirate ship. He battles Bottomly in a sword duel, until the pirate jumps overboard to escape. Herbie then takes some of the gold, and returns to modern times, only to have his father sell the real gold at a tiny fraction of its worth.
(Herbie # 13,: The Hard Day of Murgatroyd Minch) Murgatroyd Minch tries to copycat the Fat Fury, but finds that isn't as easy as it sounds.
(Herbie # 13, Moms New Coat) Deciding his mother needs a new fur coat to replace her old threadbare one, Herbie arms himself with a musket and walks through the air to Alaska. There he obtains a sled from a trapper for the princely sum of one dollar, although it is being pulled by a kangaroo and a cow, which would lower the price I guess. First he tries to shoot a walrus, but the animal twists the gun barrel round so it is pointing at Herbie. Then he is chased by a polar bear, whom he evades by using the two sled-pullers to imitate a totem pole. Three Eskimo women take a shine to him, and their boyfriend sells Herbie a valuable fur coat for a few cents just to get rid of him, but he is mugged before he can depart the frozen North. Herbie enlists in the mounties and tracks down the thief who turns out to be a giant penguin. With his mum's present destroyed, Herbie engages his enemy in battle, and shortly afterwards returns home to give her a penguin-skin coat instead.
(Herbie # 14, Gangway For the Three Musketeers) Fat Fury, Nemesis and Magicman team up to save the city from a gang of thieving super "heroes".
(Herbie # 14, Herbie Claus Is Coming To Town) When Santa is held hostage at the North Pole, Herbie goes to the rescue.
(Herbie # 15, Call Me Schlemiehl) When an old classmate of Pincus shows him up, Herbie decides to help his dad redeem himself.
(Herbie # 15, Herbie Goes Nap-Happy) A bad lollipop sends Herbie on a one way trip back to Napoleonic France.
(Herbie # 16, Dont Mess Around With the Fat Fury) Foo-Manchoo, a two headed Chinese spy confronts the Fat Fury.
(Herbie # 16, Its Love, Lover) Hepzibah Higgins falls in love with Herbie, but he doesn't reciprocate.
(Herbie # 17, Popnecker the Pilgrim) Herbie visits pilgrim times to settle a historical debt that would otherwise one day bankrupt his parents.
(Herbie # 18, Calling All Cars! Bring In Fat Fury!") Seeking to destroy Fat Fury's reputation, the Question Mark and his gang build a robot double of the hero to commit crimes.
(Herbie # 18, Clear the Road For Skinny) When Pincus is made ambassador to Hongadingia, he has to think quickly to stop a war between the pig-people and snake-people.
(Herbie # 19, Race Through Space) With a prize money of $100,000 on offer for being the first to reach a new planet, Herbie and his dad are determined to win it.
(Herbie # 19, Egyptian Conniption) Pincus falls in love with Elizabeth Taylor, but Herbie makes a mistake while trying to get her for him, and goes back to ancient Egypt and the real Cleopatra.
(Herbie # 20, Pass a Piece of Pizza, Please) Coming to Earth from the Unknown, Dracula discovers a liking for Pizza. But when he tries to steal the entire world's supply, he has to face the wrath of the Fat Fury.
(Herbie # 20, Adventure at the Center of the Earth) Professor Flipdome takes Herbie to the centre of the Earth, where they find Satan and duplicates of themselves.
(Herbie # 21, Yay, Team) Herbie tries to help an American Football team win a game.
(Herbie # 21, A Viking To Your Liking) Herbie time travels to ye Olde England to free the ghost of a Viking from the curse that binds him to Earth.
(Herbie # 22, Just Like Magic) The Fat Fury visits the Unknown to learn magic after an alien sorcerer Magical Moe threatens the Earth.
(Herbie # 22, Almost a King) Herbie has to save the Queen of Ruritania
(Herbie # 23, Can You Bear It?) After trying one of his son's lollipops, Pincus is transformed into a human centipede. Passing out, he awakens normal again and with a touch of amnesia...but he does remember the awful taste of the lollipop, so he decides to get rid of Herbie's collection of the sweet. Herbie panics at this, and hides the lot in a friendly bear's cage at the zoo. In gratitude for the bear letting him do this, Herbie goes back in time to improve the historic image of bears.
(Herbie #1 Dark Horse Comics, The Most Beautiful Mom in the World) Herbie's mother is chosen to appear in a series of commercials, leaving her husband and son struggling to cope with the housework.
(Flaming Carrot #31, "Herbie in Alas Poor Carrot") Herbie and the Flaming Carrot Team up to battle Mr.Chicken Pants
(Herbie #1 ACG [but this is America's Comic Group, not the same ACG who originally published him], Pass the Puck, Herbie) Pincus decides he wants his son to become a hockey star.
Comments: Created by Shane O'Shea (a pen name for Richard E. Hughes) and Ogden Whitney
Herbie first appeared in Forbidden Worlds #73, and proved such a success that he returned 21 issues later in #94. He swiftly became an irregular feature in the title, appearing in alternate issues, before gaining his own title in 1964, several years after his debut. He adopted the superhero identity of the Fat Fury in #8 of Herbie, which he would then use every other issue until the title folded with #23 (February 1967). He got to team up with ACG's other main heroes in #14.
Since the Herbie has been briefly revived by A-Plus in 1990 (6 issues, all reprints), Dark Horse Comics in 1992 (2 issues, second issue reprints), and ACG in 1996 (not the original company of that name, 1 issue). The Dark Horse series was intended to be a twelve issue series re-introducing 90's comics fans to the 60's icon, but sadly sales weren't good enough to go past the second issue. Herbie also met the Flaming Carrot in #31 of that worthy's title (in October 1994)
Many thanks to Kathy Kirkpatrick who first informed me of Herbie. She mentions "He often fought with well-known mythical monsters, everyone seemed to know and like him, (including the US president, God and the Devil) and like most teen superheroes his parents were clueless." She describes his Fat Fury costume thusly: "It was a homemade costume created from a pair of red all-in-one underwear, a blue ski mask, and a blanket for a cape. He went barefoot and in place of a helmet, wore a toilet plunger, stick and all on the top of his head." Thanks also to Stan Eads for informing me of Herbie's Aunt Livinia.
CLARIFICATIONS: Herbie should not be confused with
Herbie, a small car with a mind's of it own.
Fat Fury should not be confused with
Fatman, the Human Flying Saucer, another obese superhero
Fatman, yet another obese hero from the Wild Cards books
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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