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Herbie Popnecker's Powerful Lollipop
August 11, 2008 12:40 AM   Subscribe

"Herbie Popnecker is unique among superheroes. While looking less like a superhero than any other, he may also be the most powerful.
     Herbie can "fly" by walking through air, or space, or water.
     Herbie can travel through time, or the ground, or through walls (some damage occurs), sometimes breaking the fourth wall.
     Herbie is the least emotional of any super hero, and one of few words.
     Herbie defeats many of his opponents by looking at them, but sometimes, he bops them with this here lollipop."
Herbie's further powers are examined thoroughly at Herbie Popnecker: Examples of Recurring Themes.

via I'm Learning to Share!
posted by carsonb (32 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
This reminds me a bit of the Desperate Dan comics I saw from the UK when I was a kid. Although they seem like a parody of the US "legend" of Paul Bunyan than they do superhero comics.
posted by XMLicious at 1:44 AM on August 11, 2008


omg. Desperate Dan. Beano.

*weeps for lost childhood*
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:14 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember discovering Herbie while visiting my cousins in Detroit in the '60s. I remember the "pulling yourself up by the bootstrap" sequence as the first thing that convinced me "Woah, this is DIFFERENT!" My cousin who had the Herbie comics grew up to be a professional artist. When I returned to L.A., no place near my home had THAT kind of comic book, just DC and GoldKey (recycling Saturday Morning cartoons).

I feel like I just got bopped by Herbie's lollypop.
posted by wendell at 2:23 AM on August 11, 2008


Those of you who doubt the utter awesomeness of Herbie, Progressive Ruin sets you straight.
posted by JHarris at 2:28 AM on August 11, 2008


I followed a link from Evan Dorkin in March about the Herbie reprints, and found myself drawn into the world of Popnecker. Next week I can finally get the first volume, so excited.
posted by pupdog at 2:30 AM on August 11, 2008


...the antithesis of a hero -- short, fat, young....

I guess I never really noticed how tall, slim and elderly most superheroes are.
posted by DU at 4:25 AM on August 11, 2008


What's the deal with the way he talks? His "you want I should bop you with this here lollipop" catch phrase sounds pretty Yiddish, but other times he leaves out pronouns and other words in sentences and just generally sounds weird and clumsy.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:59 AM on August 11, 2008


For example, here he says "Relax. Never lost passenger yet." and "See. Don't mind, I'll stop off for minute" among other clumsy phrases. He almost sounds Incredible Hulk/Tonto/etc.-ish. Is this some archaic regional dialect, or does it just serve to make him wackier?
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:03 AM on August 11, 2008


He almost sounds Incredible Hulk/Tonto/etc.-ish. Is this some archaic regional dialect, or does it just serve to make him wackier?

It's probably just to make him wackier, but I get the impression it's because he's about half-asleep all the time (the heavy-lidded look), due either to low blood sugar (hence the lollipops!) or some kind of medication that's causing him to hallucinate his adventures. I imagine Herbie sounding like a teenaged Steven Wright.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:17 AM on August 11, 2008


Is it just a coincidence that in two weeks Dark Horse Comics is releasing the first of a set of volumes collecting the Herbie Popnecker comics? I know carsonb is on the up-and-up but I still feel like I'm being sold something.

Probably because the comics are way before my time.
posted by onalark at 6:18 AM on August 11, 2008


Great stuff! I remember reading a Flaming Carrot comic years and years ago with Herbie as a main character, and it never occured to me that he might not be a Bob Burden creation. Also, Herbie's on-again, off-again dropping of articles reminds me a little bit of Rorschach's speech pattern in Watchmen. Possible connection? Must remember to investigate further...
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:29 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Herbie Popnecker is Alan Moore's favorite superhero.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:02 AM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dial B For Blog takes a look at Herbie's costumed alter ego, The Fat Fury, who is also included in this round-up of long underwear-sporting superheroes.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:54 AM on August 11, 2008


You know, usually I'm a sucker (ahem) for superhero parodies and alt-superheroes--see Squirrel Girl and her buddies in the GL-whatever, or The Jammer--but Herbie's always left me cold. Maybe because it's too close to standard-issue nerd wish fulfillment (a complete dork is irresistible to the ladies? O RLY?), or that it repeats the same jokes, that weren't that funny to begin with, over and over again.

It didn't last two dozen issues, in an era that gave us talking gorillas and the Rainbow Batman, but Dark Horse is going to print hardcover reprints. Good luck with that, guys.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:39 AM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Maybe because it's too close to standard-issue nerd wish fulfillment (a complete dork is irresistible to the ladies? O RLY?), or that it repeats the same jokes, that weren't that funny to begin with, over and over again.

Yeah, I think you're missing it, Jack. For one thing, I can't really imagine that Herbie is anyone's idea of wish fulfillment -- nerdy guys like to imagine themselves as Batman or Wolverine or James Bond or whatever, not as...you know. I mean, look at him. Look at him. No. Just no. I think the appeal of the strip is its absurdity and surreal nature...to a large degree, what makes Silver Age comics in general appeal to people now, except that Herbie was willfully absurd and surreal.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:58 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I feel like i just ate some blotter. Good lord, do I need these comics.
posted by smackwich at 9:07 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Forbush Man, at least in his Fat Fury guise.
posted by klangklangston at 9:13 AM on August 11, 2008


...I mean, look at him. Look at him. ...

I am looking at him and I see the stereotypical corpulent basement dwelling comic fan-tard. Hell, one of his "super" powers is his hypnotic mouth breathing stare - I'm surprised that they didn't draw him with his finger up his nose. If not wish fulfillment then it's a direct jab at that section of fandom.

Dark horse doing a hardcover re-release of this stuff is... well, as Halloween Jack said, "Good luck with that, guys."
posted by C.Batt at 9:34 AM on August 11, 2008


onalark: "Is it just a coincidence that in two weeks Dark Horse Comics is releasing the first of a set of volumes collecting the Herbie Popnecker comics? I know carsonb is on the up-and-up but I still feel like I'm being sold something."

I imagine it's not coincidental but nothing as sinister as suggested; I imagine Herbie re-entered the blogosphere through someone mentioning the Dark Horse release somewhere, and carsonb probably saw said post and went, "Ah, Mefi's never had a Popnecker Post, let's write one up."
posted by WCityMike at 9:34 AM on August 11, 2008


Close!

"Ah, Mefi's never had a Popnecker Post, let's copy the intro para from this cool site."
posted by carsonb at 9:42 AM on August 11, 2008


That is a cool site, carsonb - thanks! Hours of fun reading there.

And I'd seen Herbie around before but never knew how completely bizarre he was. Thanks for that, too.
posted by mediareport at 9:45 AM on August 11, 2008


Reminds me of Allan Sherman. The time-frame is certainly correct...
posted by jim in austin at 10:01 AM on August 11, 2008


This reminds me a bit of The Flaming Carrot, one of my favorite comics from back in the day.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:57 AM on August 11, 2008


C.Batt: Vague resemblance doesn't prove inspiration, especially since the basement-dwelling comic super-fan stereotype didn't exist when Herbie was created. Comics were popular culture back then, yet people didn't obsess about them to those extremes.
posted by JHarris at 11:58 AM on August 11, 2008


Bonkers stuff. I haven't bought a comic since I was about six, but might well pick up the collected Popnecker. Either that or I'll just start saying "You want I should bop you with this lollipop?" a lot.
posted by jack_mo at 1:19 PM on August 11, 2008


Au contraire, kittens for breakfast, it is you who is missing it. Geeks may fantasize about being Wolverine or Bond James Bond or whomever, but sooner or later they have to pass in front of the mirror, hence Knocked Up, any porn movie starring Ron Jeremy, etc. I'll allow that Herbie plays more like a satire of ugly-guy-gets-the-girl stories, particularly when he's faced with someone who's about as homely as he is.

Surreal? Not so much. Try Brother Power the Geek or Prez (or pretty much any of Joe Simon's latter-day works), or even Giant Turtle Jimmy Olsen.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:30 PM on August 11, 2008


Well, it was a particularly awesome paragraph.

He kind of hurts my eyes, and I don't understand flat-affect protagonists.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:45 PM on August 11, 2008


onalark: "Is it just a coincidence that in two weeks Dark Horse Comics is releasing the first of a set of volumes collecting the Herbie Popnecker comics? I know carsonb is on the up-and-up but I still feel like I'm being sold something.

I caught the Alan Moore video on the swell blog Progressive Ruin last week, and planned a post on the topic (Only to be FPP-scooped for the third time this week!!!), so yeah, you're being paranoid.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:28 PM on August 11, 2008


Overlapping Elvis: Better start scouring those back-issue bins!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:30 PM on August 11, 2008


See also: Octobriana
posted by Artw at 11:53 PM on August 11, 2008


Or don't - somehow I got the idea he was some kind of shared character
posted by Artw at 11:55 PM on August 11, 2008


Alan Moore knows the score. That doesn't surprise me -- I've thought before that there were definite similarities between Herbie's speech patterns and Rorschach's. (Although Rorschach never threatened to bop anyone with this here lollipop.)
posted by webmutant at 3:03 PM on August 12, 2008


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