Publisher: American Comics Group
Publication Dates: April-May 1964 – February 1967
Number of Issues Published: 23 (#1 – #23)
Dimensions: Standard Silver Age US
Paper Stock: Glossy cover; Newsprint interior
Publishing Format: Was ongoing
Publication Type: magazine
Information thanks to the Grand Comics Database
Herbie Popnecker is a fictional comic book character that first appeared in Forbidden Worlds #73 in December 1958, published by American Comics Group. He was created by Richard E. Hughes (using the pseudonym “Shane O’Shea”) and Ogden Whitney.
Herbie is an antithetical hero: short, obese, unstylish, and young. Deriving some of his powers from genetics and some from magical lollipops from “the Unknown”, Herbie can talk to animals and sometimes even inanimate objects (who all know him by name), fly at high enough speeds to quickly travel to other galaxies (by walking through the sky), become invisible, cast spells and summon spirits from other dimensions, quickly dispatch his enemies with apparent ease, and (once he got his own title) travel through time. Herbie is emotionless, terse, irresistible to women, consulted by world leaders, nearly omnipotent, and more powerful than Satan.
Herbie’s parents are unaware of his great powers and fame. His mother is reasonably supportive, however his father, Pincus Popnecker, repeatedly refers to him as a “little fat nothing” and wishes he had a son who “did something”. Pincus believes himself to be a financial genius and, despite his wholesome and conservative “1950s dad” appearance, constantly engages in harebrained schemes; he inevitably fails in spectacular fashion and winds up in varying levels of trouble. Herbie is always obliged to bail him out in each circumstance, though the clueless Pincus never notices this and always takes the credit for victory himself.
Herbie is practically always shown with a lollipop, and lollipops are the main subjects of several stories. Herbie can “bop” adversaries with his lollipops, immediately defeating them. Herbie intimidates his adversaries by asking them rhetorically, “You want I should bop you with this here lollipop?”, which almost always results in them backing down.
In Herbie #8 (March 1965), Herbie feels a need to become a costumed superhero, but after failing superhero school, he creates the Fat Fury by donning full-body red underwear with a drop seat, a blue cape, a blue plastic mask, and a plunger on his head. He is bare-footed. Herbie’s obtuse father then begins to wish that his little fat nothing of a son could be more like the Fat Fury.
As the Fat Fury, Herbie does not have any powers beyond the many he had before donning the costume. Although Herbie travels back in time, the Fat Fury never does. The Fat Fury was featured in even-numbered Herbie comics from #8 to #22.