Friday, February 08, 2008

Number 258

Herbie, Boy Beetle!

On Sunday, February 9, 1964, the Beatles made their initial appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. My whole family was there in front of our TV. My brother Rob and I knew what we were seeing, but our parents didn't. I could practically see the drop-shadowed question marks over their heads.

I enjoyed it when the Beatles popped up in comics, even though the people who produced the comics were of my parents' generation. Richard E. Hughes, under one his many pen-names, Shane O'Shea, wrote the story of mop-topped Eibreh Rekcenpop taking the pop world by storm. Artist Ogden Whitney did a fair job drawing the Beatles. Both Hughes and Whitney probably shrugged their shoulders and wondered what the Beatles' appeal was, but they knew the age of their readers and to sell comics were more than willing to put them into Herbie's strange little universe. They even threw in Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, singers more appealing to their generation. Even an extrinsic view of the Beatles phenom was a sort of validation of my own Beatlemania, I guess. Though the Beatles--or "Beetles" as they are known here--are secondary to the story, I loved this when I first saw it in Herbie #5, Oct-Nov 1964. For those of us who remember the original British Invasion, when the Beatles conquered the known universe, it has all the more meaning.


Uncle Ernie said...

I have never been able to quite figure out what Herbie's superpowers were. He was just cool!

Kathleen Pearlman said...

Same here. I was a little fat kid, too. Almost the same haircut. But Herbie was cool. I liked that!