Herbie Popnecker

Herbie Popnecker
Examples of Recurring Themes

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Herbie, in swimsuit

Herbie Popnecker Examples:
Evolution of Herbie, Imitation of Herbie

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Herbie First appeared in Forbidden Worlds in 1958, but did not get his own comic until 1964. Even by 1964, he was still evolving. His shape changed, even between the two stories in Herbie #1. His speech changed. Even his face changed. And so did the humor in Herbie stories.

  • Herbie has a round head with a bowl haircut of black hair (with blue highlight). His neck is never visible. He wears round-rimmed glasses on his nearly-closed eyes. His mouth is usually closed, usually filled with a lollipop.
  • Herbie is extremely short, about three feet tall (based on his height compared to adults and to doorknobs), and eventually settles at over two-thirds as wide (implying a 75" waist).
  • Except for one appearance in Forbidden Worlds #94, Herbie always wears the same blue pants, with black belt and silver buckle.
  • Herbie wears a long-sleeved white shirt (cuff hangs below his belt), and a short black tie (presumably a normal tie that lost much of its length going around Herbie's neck). In early stories in Forbidden Worlds, his shirt shows a seam where buttons would be, but that quickly disappears.
  • Herbie wears white socks under tied leather shoes in brown or blue/gray.
  • Underneath, Herbie wears boxer-shorts, except when disguised as the Fat Fury, when he wears nothing.
  • As the Fat Fury, Herbie wears full-body red underwear with a dropseat, a blue cape, a light blue mask, and a plunger on this head. His feet are bare.
  • After the original Herbie stories, three revival stories were written in the 1990s, with generally disappointing success imitating Herbie.
In Herbie #17b, "Herbie and the Spirits!" was reprinted from Forbidden Worlds #94 (the one in which his pants were brown, but blue in the reprint -- apology accepted). There is commentary, beginning with "Hundreds of letters, all asking how Herbie started out! Was he always the Herbie of today? Well ... He wasn't!" and an arrow pointing at Herbie labeled with "Look ... would you believe it? This is Herbie?"

Index terms: appearance, physique, speech patterns, grammar, Richard E. Hughes, Ogden Whitney

Herbie's Appearance

Herbie gained girth throughout his appearances in Forbidden Worlds, and even in the first few Herbie comics
until his eventual height to width ratio of 3:2 feet.

Very first Herbie had messier hair, bigger glasses, eyebrows.

Dad called Herbie a little fat nothing from the very beginning, but Herbie was much less fat, more little.

Forbidden Worlds #73, reprinted with commentary in Herbie #23b.
Source: Herbie #23b p.2 (1967-02)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Very first Herbie had messier hair, bigger glasses, eyebrows.
Just 16½ inches wide at the waist, based on an assumed height of 36 inches.
Source: Forbidden Worlds #73 p.8 (1958-12)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Just 16½ inches wide at the waist, based on an assumed height of 36 inches.
Brown pants in his second appearance.
Source: Forbidden Worlds #94 p.12 (1961-03)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Brown pants in his second appearance.
Just 16 inches wide at the waist. Back to blue pants, forever.
Source: Forbidden Worlds #110 p.10 (1963-03)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Just 16 inches wide at the waist.
So thin, you can barely see him.
Source: Forbidden Worlds #114 p.2 (1963-09)
Updated: 2012-03-03
So thin, you can barely see him.
What color is that tie?
Source: Forbidden Worlds #116 p.8 (1963-11)
Updated: 2012-03-03
What color is that tie?
Looking a little thin there, Herbie.
Source: Herbie #1a p.10 (1964-04)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Looking a little thin there, Herbie.
Plumped up for the second story in Herbie #1. Over 23 inches wide!
Source: Herbie #1b p.10 (1964-04)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Plumped up for the second story in Herbie #1 .
Now just over 21 inches wide.
Source: Herbie #2a p.6 (1964-06)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Now just over 21 inches wide.
Source: Herbie #2b p.6 (1964-06)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Herbie #2b6
Source: Herbie #3a p.2 (1964-08)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Herbie #3a2
Source: Herbie #3b p.3 (1964-08)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Herbie #3b3
Perfect. 25 inches wide at the waist.
Source: Herbie #4a p.2 (1964-09)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Perfect.
Dad is bigger than usual, making Herbie look smaller than usual, but look at Herbie's height compared to the bed's.
Source: Herbie #4b p.9 (1964-09)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Dad is bigger than usual, making Herbie look smaller than usual, but look at Herbie's height compared to the bed's.
Perfect physical specimen.
Source: Herbie #5a p.13 (1964-10)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Perfect physical specimen.
Perfectly plump.
Source: Herbie #5b p.4 (1964-10)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Perfectly plump.
About a foot taller than usual, good shape, but a skinny 2:1 height-width ratio. Purple pants?
Source: Dark Horse Herbie #1 (1992)
Updated: 2012-03-03
About a foot taller than usual, good shape, but a skinny 2:1 height-width ratio.
Possibly a few inches taller than usual. Not the right shape; a little too top-heavy.
Source: Flaming Carrot #31 p.4 (1994)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Possibly a few inches taller than usual.
Correct height and shape. When on skates, his legs look longer than you might expect, but that's due to the skates.
Source: ACG Return of Herbie #1 p.3 (1996)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Correct height and shape.

Herbie's Speech

Herbie abbreviated his speech by dropping articles, pronouns, prepositions, and some verbs and by using contractions. He used many expressions repeatedly.

The commentary on this reprint of the first appearance of Herbie is "This is Herbie talking...?" because fully evolved Herbie might say "Interesting...but won't get far. We're modern, scientific, difficult to beat." -- without the exclamation points!
Source: Herbie #23b p.7 (1967-02)
Updated: 2012-03-03
The commentary on this reprint of the first appearance of Herbie is "This is Herbie talking...?" because fully evolved Herbie might say "Interesting...but won't get far.
No pronouns, no exclamation points, contractions. How Herbie talks.
Source: Herbie #8a p.4 (1965-03)
Updated: 2012-03-03
No pronouns, no exclamation points, contractions.
Reasonable facsimile to his speech, except for exclamation points. Prefer "Plan complete wash-out..." without "is".
Source: Dark Horse Herbie #1 (1992)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Reasonable facsimile to his speech, except for exclamation points.
Too wordy. Drop some articles, pronouns...better.
Source: Flaming Carrot #31 p.1 (1994)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Too wordy.
Rewritten: "Few parts left over, but seems to be working. Take for spin."

Second frame sounds just right, except for the exclamation points.
Source: Flaming Carrot #31 p.5 (1994)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Rewritten: "Few parts left over, but seems to be working.
Grammatically, it should be "You're getting very sleepy" and Herbiologically, it should be "Getting sleepy... Eyes getting heavy." Arrow labeled hypno-pop is nice touch.
Source: Flaming Carrot #31 p.9 (1994)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Grammatically, it should be "You're getting very sleepy" and Herbiologically, it should be "Getting sleepy...
Herbie would never call a puck a rubber cookie like an imbecile, but Dad might. Herbie would slip on the ice and land on his butt, then decide to fly over the ice, perhaps scaring the puck away with his eyes.
Source: ACG Return of Herbie #1 p.4 (1996)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Herbie would never call a puck a rubber cookie like an imbecile, but Dad might .
Herbie would say "Time to try slapshot." or "Try slapshot." but certainly without an exclamation point. Herbie would not say "Whooops!" especially with an exclamation point.
Source: ACG Return of Herbie #1 p.7 (1996)
Updated: 2012-03-03
Herbie would say "Time to try slapshot ." or "Try slapshot ." but certainly without an exclamation point.