Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pappy's Sunday Supplement #3: Last and first Herbie

This begins a week of stories from ACG comic books.

A couple of months ago I went through my ACG Herbie comics and found I was missing four of the 23 issues. Horrors. After lying dormant for at least a couple of years, my lifelong collector’s obsessive-compulsive behavior came back full force. I went to eBay and found the missing issues. Now I have a complete collection. After reading and admiring them they went into a box and I may never look at them again.*

Herbie, the comic book written and illustrated by ACG editor Richard E. Hughes using the name Shane O'Shea and drawn by longtime comic book journeyman Ogden Whitney, ended its run when ACG went out of business in 1967. As a fan I loved the absurdist humor. I have given several of my interpretations of Herbie, the character, over the years. Despite the hundreds — thousands? — of comic books editor Hughes oversaw and brought to market, I think Herbie was his magnum opus. It was actually not all that different than many other absurd comics that Hughes wrote, but for some reason Herbie struck the comic buyers’ fancy, and after a few tryout runs in Forbidden Worlds, his own comic book was launched in 1964.

This issue has the last official ACG Herbie story, and the first, reprinted from Forbidden Worlds #73 (1958). Based on this self-portrait Whitney did in 1961 for Midnight Mystery #1 I believe he drew himself (with Mrs. Whitney?) in  the top two panels of page 2 of “Herbie’s Quiet Saturday Afternoon.”

Also, in “Can You Bear It?” after eating one of Herbie’s lollipops, watch Herbie’s dad have a sixties psychedelic experience.

Scanned from my personal copy of Herbie #23 (1967):

*Just kidding, I hope.


Daniel [] said...

Mumblety-peg?!? I wonder whether that were meant as a joke. Not a great game to want one's son to play!

Herbie's first tale certainly fit the pattern of ACG's lighter Forbidden Worlds stories. The whole arc of Herbie becomes more understandable.

I laughed aloud at the Three Bears' eruptions of “It wuz you!” Hughes should have found a way to make their third dust-up better fit that pattern. Artistically, using something three times is important, and perhaps especially so with three bears!

Did anyone ever pose as Dad Popenecker in one of the published letters?

I saw the alleged submarine when I was a child; it was a glorified cardboard box. (Until I learned otherwise through your 'blog, I had presumed that the similarly advertised log cabin were likewise basically a cardboard box.)

Once again, an advertisement for onion gum! But not with the more amusing drawing.

Pappy said...

Daniel, for anyone wondering about "mumbley-peg," here is an informational video about the game: “The Art of Manliness: How to Play Mumbley-Peg".

I was one of those 1950s schoolboys the video mentions, who played the game with friends. I don’t recall it being as elaborate as the video. I remember the game as throwing the pocketknife so it stuck in the ground as close as possible to the foot. Not a good game to play if barefoot.

What I found interesting about the last and first Herbie stories is that editor/writer Richard E. Hughes didn't stray from the original premise.

At least you got to see that cardboard box! I have never seen any of those cardboard toys from old comic books. The description of the frontier cabin you mention came secondhand from a biographical comic strip by Art Spiegleman.

I have never chewed onion gum, either.

Unknown said...

Interesting reproduction of the last Herbie ever!!! I'm wondering what GASP is??? Have ACG ever published that comic???

cartoonjoe said...

That @×*◇☆! was *not* 7 feet long, it did *not* shoot missles, and it was made of cheap cardbord!! AAAAARRRRGGGGH!!

Pappy said...

Cartoonjoe, ha-ha! Thanks for the review! I guess if I ever run across one of these subs for sale I'll pass it up. If it won't shoot missiles then what the hell good is it?!

Pappy said...

Unknown, Gasp! was ACG's last title, which ran for 4 issues in 1967, and ended when ACG went out of business that same year.

I went to Digital Comic Museum expecting to find it and didn't. Other ACG titles that were published that I don't find are Unknown Worlds and Midnight Mystery, both of them sixties comics. Why they aren't included when issues of Adventures Into the Unknown and Forbidden Worlds from the same time period is a mystery to me.

rnigma said...

Those comic-book ads were usually a kid's first lesson in "caveat emptor."
How about the ads for the "150+ Soldiers" (either WW2 or Revolutionary era) - they were usually printed on cardboard and they had to be cut out, or they were made from very thin plastic (looking like they were flattened by a steamroller) and mounted in a sprue (like car/plane models)...
And those "7-foot monsters" turned out to be posters.
I won't go into the "Sea-Monkeys."

Pappy said...

rnigma, luckily for me, I was impervious to the comic book ads, because I knew my mom and dad would not give me the money to buy them. (Okay...I did buy the Hypno Coin for 50¢...mea culpa.)

Forty years ago a friend of mine bought the Sea Monkeys for his kid, and was raging about how he'd been burned, ripped off! The "Sea Monkeys" were actually brine shrimp from the Great Salt Lake. Caveat emptor, indeed!