Friday, November 28, 2014

Number 1663: Herbie: He am the walrus

If you are like me you may have indulged a bit too much during yesterday’s annual American Thanksgiving celebration of eating, drinking and watching football on TV. You may even feel a bit like Herbie in the above panel.

Herbie’s father, Pincus Popnecker, is a dad disappointed in his son, calling him “a fat little nothing.” Tsk tsk. He doesn’t know that Herbie may be fat, but he ain’t nothing! A kid who can levitate, talk to animals, or in the case of this story, spirits from the Unknown (ACG’s euphemistic term for heaven or the afterlife) is not one to be discounted.

This comes from Herbie #7. Celebrities of the time were sometimes slipped into Herbie’s adventures, and the cameo in “High Spirits” is none other than Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States (1929-1933). The issue is dated February, 1965, so the story was written and drawn before Hoover’s death on October 20, 1964. If they had known that ahead of time they could have reworked the story so the one-term Republican president could have visited Herbie from his new home in the Unknown.


Daniel [] said...

Goo goo g'joob.

Was an explanation ever furnished as to why Herbie concealed his powers and abilities from his father? I can readily imagine some explanations — for example, his father clearly has an impaired sense of ethics — but I can also imagine Hughes jsut treating it as somehow given that Herbie must conceal his nature from his father.

(Also, what did Herbie's mother see in her lout husband?)

Pappy said...

Daniel, as far as I can remember, no explanation was ever given for Pincus Popnecker's attitude toward his son. I have wondered at times if Herbie creator and writer, editor Richard E. Hughes, had a similar treatment from a parent. Barring that, I'm sure Hughes intended for it to be funny, although it is actually cruel.

As for why Herbie's mom puts up with her husband, I have no idea. Maybe she doesn't believe in divorce.

Anonymous said...

Herbie wasn't an especially sympathetic character, himself —a mean streak, as I recall. I bought the comics, however, as I was entertained. I liked Ogden Whitney's artwork and the whacky stories. But for humor, I liked the artist for the "Bob Hope", "Jerry Lewis" & "Dobie Gillis" comics better —right up there with Carl Barks. Never knew the artist's name until a few years ago: Bob Oskner, if I am remembering correctly at the moment. You've posted some of his stuff. I should use your blog search window and find it. Thanks, Pappy.

Ryan Anthony said...

I don't get the cameo; was Hughes a Hoover man?
The funniest part to me was whenever they put Herbie next to his realistically drawn dad. Like putting Charlie Brown in "Rex Morgan" or something.

Pappy said...

7f7, yeah, Oksner! He was incredibly versatile, but settled into that funny business and was the go-to guy at DC for celebrity caricatures. I think he even worked on some Captain Marvel stories after C.C. Beck decided he didn't want anything to do with DC.

Pappy said...

Ryan, I have a dim memory of Hoover being in the news before he died. Those ex-presidents get trotted out every once in a while, a sight we are familiar with. Usually Hughes didn't put celebrities into the stories unless they had done something or were otherwise visible. He would know that his readers in 1963 probably wouldn't know who Herbert Hoover was had he just sprung the cameo on them.

Alicia American said...

When peeps axe Billy West wat cartune he wishes he culd play, he sez Herbie. Sum1 shuld revive it as a movie or TV show yo srsly.