Herbie Popnecker

Herbie Popnecker
Examples of Recurring Themes

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Was Richard E. Hughes a Fan of Jay Ward?

Created: 2012-04-20     Updated: 2012-09-01  
Examples: 44     Links: 30  

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There are many similarities between Herbie comics and Jay Ward productions like Rocky & Bullwinkle. Herbie and Boris Badenov both wear disguises. Herbie and Mr. Peabody both travel back in time to debunk history. Fractured fairy tales, famous on Rocky and Bullwinkle, are occasionally the setting for a Herbie story. Even animal love appears in Herbie comics and in Dudley Do-Right cartoons.

No one would claim that Herbie came from the TV screens and comic pages of Rocky and Bullwinkle, but some gags from Herbie look like they might have been inspired by Jay Ward productions, and vice versa. Or, if you prefer sinister conspiracy theories, have a blast!

Many of these examples come from Rocky and Bullwinkle comics, although the TV series was more popular and many of the comics are based on the TV series.

Index terms: Jay Ward, Rocky, Rocket J. Squirrel, Bullwinkle Moose, Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, Dudley Do-Right, Nell Fenwick, George of the Jungle, Ape named Ape, Mr, Peabody, Sherman, his boy, Richard E. Hughes, Ogden Whitney

First Similar Gag

I was amused by this November 1963 butt joke sight gag from Forbidden Worlds #116 with the dart and the target. Herbie might be indestructible, but he can feel pain if it's funny.
Source: Forbidden Worlds #116 p.2 (1963-11)
Updated: 2012-02-23
I was amused by this November 1963 butt joke sight gag from Forbidden Worlds #116 with the dart and the target.
When I saw the same sort of gag in the October 1962 issue of Rocky and His Fiendish Friends, published a year earlier, I wondered if it was more than a coincidence.
Source: Rocky and his Fiendish Friends #1e p.3 (1962)
Updated: 2012-04-20
When I saw the same sort of gag in the October 1962 issue of Rocky and His Fiendish Friends, published a year earlier, I wondered if it was more than a coincidence.

Disguises

Herbie was often in disguise, which was laughable because his shape would give away his identity. But Boris Badenov was also always in disguise, fooling no one but Rocky and Bullwinkle. Boris used a make-up kit or an indiscreetly-labeled "master disguise kit". Unlike Herbie, whose voice never hit the airwaves, Boris and Natasha have distinctive voices to disguise -- something they do poorly, but good enough to fool Rocky and Bullwinkle, although sometimes Rocky thought there was something familiar about them.
Like Rocky and Bullwinkle seeing Boris Badenov disguised only be a hat, Herbie's dad never figured out that he was seeing Herbie in disguise, but on one occasion, a "strange resemblance" was noticed.
Source: Herbie #1b p.6 (1964-04)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Like Rocky and Bullwinkle seeing Boris Badenov disguised only be a hat, Herbie's dad never figured out that he was seeing Herbie in disguise, but on one occasion, a "strange resemblance" was noticed.
Make-up Kit - no make-up, but a wig
Source: Rocky and his Friends #1166b p.2 (1961)
Updated: 2012-04-20
Make-up Kit - no make-up, but a wig
Master Disguise Kit - Hat and pipe
Source: Bullwinkle #b p.2 (1962)
Updated: 2012-04-20
Master Disguise Kit - Hat and pipe
Master Disguise Kit - Hat and cigar
Source: Bullwinkle #g p.6 (1962)
Updated: 2012-04-20
Master Disguise Kit - Hat and cigar
Master Disguise Kit - Frankelstein Monster!! Not just a hair hat, but neckbolts and shoes, too.
Source: Rocky and his Fiendish Friends #1a p.5 (1962)
Updated: 2012-04-20
Master Disguise Kit - Frankelstein Monster!!
Master Disguise Kit - Deluxe Edition - Yet another hat! AHOY!
Source: Nursery Pomes #c p.3 (1962)
Updated: 2012-04-20
Master Disguise Kit - Deluxe Edition - Yet another hat!

It might have made a good gag for Boris to continue carrying his Master Disguise Kit, while wearing his disguise. I would have liked to have found a comic example of Boris saying "Allow me to be introducing myself...", but so far, no luck. Not that Boris' English is in any way comparable to Herbie's.

Often in disguise, Herbie used a chest of costumes to create his Fat Fury identity in #8a, and by #17a, he was using a chest indiscreetly labeled "DISGUISES", used again in #20a.

Herbie's first use of a trunk of costumes, left over from masquerades
Source: Herbie #8a p.8 (1965-03)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Herbie's first use of a trunk of costumes, left over from masquerades
Herbie's trunk has a convenient label: DISGUISES.
Source: Herbie #17a p.2 (1966-04)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Herbie's trunk has a convenient label: DISGUISES.
A different trunk with a label. It's fun to see the variety of hats that come out.
Source: Herbie #20a p.10 (1966-09)
Updated: 2012-02-23
A different trunk with a label.
Herbie's best disguise ever, from a trunk labeled DISGUISES.
Source: Herbie #20a p.11 (1966-09)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Herbie's best disguise ever, from a trunk labeled DISGUISES.

A Smart Talking Ape

George of the Jungle has a good doggie named Shep, and a friend, an ape named "Ape", to help him make sense of a complex world.
Source: George of the Jungle #1a p.2 (1969)
Updated: 2012-04-20
George of the Jungle has a good doggie named Shep, and a friend, an ape named "Ape", to help him make sense of a complex world.
George of the Jungle is helped by his legal counsel.
Source: George of the Jungle #2a p.2 (1969)
Updated: 2012-04-20
George of the Jungle is helped by his legal counsel.
Herbie's asks his friend Gilmartin for advice.
Source: Herbie #16b p.4 (1966-03)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Herbie's asks his friend Gilmartin for advice.
Again...
Source: Herbie #16b p.5 (1966-03)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Again...
...and again...
Source: Herbie #16b p.6 (1966-03)
Updated: 2012-02-23
...and again...
...and again...
Source: Herbie #16b p.7 (1966-03)
Updated: 2012-02-23
...and again...
...until Herbie's "problem" goes away...
Source: Herbie #16b p.8 (1966-03)
Updated: 2012-02-23
...until Herbie's "problem" goes away...
...ending with a case of animal love. Herbie finds out too late that Hepzibah is a lollipop heiress.
Source: Herbie #16b p.9 (1966-03)
Updated: 2012-02-23
...ending with a case of animal love .

Animal Love

Nell Fenwick, who was Dudley Do-Right's "girl" (at least on the surface), was madly in love with Dudley's horse.

Inspector Fenwick's daughter, Nell, is infatuated with Dudley Do-Right's horse, and the feeling is mutual.
Source: Bullwinkle #1c p.5 (1962)
Updated: 2012-04-20
Inspector Fenwick's daughter, Nell, is infatuated with Dudley Do-Right's horse, and the feeling is mutual.
After all, it is a cute horse.
Source: [-jayward-br-1270-g06] (1962)
Updated: 2012-04-20
After all, it is a cute horse.
By the way, Herbie once joined the Mounties because they always get their man. Perhaps he served with Dudley Do-Right.
Source: Herbie #13b p.6 (1965-10)
Updated: 2012-04-20
By the way, Herbie once joined the Mounties because they always get their man.

Back to animal love, there were cases of animal love in Herbie stories, usually with a woman turning her affections from Herbie to an animal. We've already encountered Hepzibah Higgins marrying Gilmartin the gorilla, but there's more:

A camel lover for a Ruritanian queen. GLURP!
Source: Herbie #22b p.11 (1966-12)
Updated: 2012-02-23
A camel lover for a Ruritanian queen.
Interplanetary love with an alien and Lizzie Gimpflheimer.
Source: Herbie #19a p.13 (1966-08)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Interplanetary love with an alien and Lizzie Gimpflheimer.

School Spirit and Sports

Our heroes are at I.O.U. but who can forget Wassamotta U?
Source: Rocky and his Fiendish Friends #2i p.4 (1962)
Updated: 2012-04-20
Our heroes are at I.O.U.
Coincidentally, Herbie helps the school sports team in several stories, whether it is Peepwhistle Prep (his father's alma mater) or Hassenpfeffer High. Silly names, but not as clever as Rocky and Bullwinkle.
Source: Herbie #21a (1966-10)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Coincidentally, Herbie helps the school sports team in several stories, whether it is Peepwhistle Prep (his father's alma mater) or Hassenpfeffer High.
More school spirit
Source: Herbie #7a p.1 (1965-02)
Updated: 2012-04-20
More school spirit
Batting for the team
Source: Herbie #7a p.9 (1965-02)
Updated: 2012-02-22
Batting for the team
Herbie's duplicates helping out the team.
Source: Herbie #9a p.8 (1965-04)
Updated: 2012-04-20
Herbie's duplicates helping out the team.

Watch Me Pull a Rabbit Out of My Hat

Bullwinkle tries to pull a rabbit out of his hat... (but produces a lion, a rhinoceros, a bear, ...)
Source: Bullwinkle pulls out of a hat...
Updated: 2012-04-20
Bullwinkle tries to pull a rabbit out of his hat...
...sometimes even Rocky ("Well, I'm getting close."), but never a rabbit.
Source: Bullwinkle pulls out of a hat...
Updated: 2012-04-20
...sometimes even Rocky ("Well, I'm getting close."), but never a rabbit.
Herbie battles Merlin's magic with some of his own. He shows great promise using a special lollipop.
Source: Herbie #1a p.8 (1964-04)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Herbie battles Merlin's magic with some of his own.
Without his lollipops, Herbie has problems in magic school. Although he does get a rabbit to appear, Herbie only gets half credit.
Source: Herbie #22a p.8 (1966-12)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Without his lollipops, Herbie has problems in magic school .

Fractured Fairy Tales

Fractured Fairy Tales were stories similar to children's tales, but always with a twist or two.
Source: Fractured Fairy Tales (1960)
Updated: 2012-04-20
Fractured Fairy Tales were stories similar to children's tales, but always with a twist or two.
Herbie is really "into" these stories, literally. Herbie uses magic to enter a book of Mother Goose stories.
Source: Herbie #2b p.5 (1964-06)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Herbie is really "into" these stories, literally.
Herbie steals Cinderella's glass slippers for his heart's desire.
Source: Herbie #2b p.7 (1964-06)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Herbie steals Cinderella's glass slippers for his heart's desire .
The fat thief strikes Mother Goose stories.
Source: Herbie #12b p.2 (1965-09)
Updated: 2012-02-23
The fat thief strikes Mother Goose stories.
Herbie investigates Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Source: Herbie #23a p.6 (1967-02)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Herbie investigates Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Source: Herbie #23a p.8 (1967-02)
Updated: 2012-02-23
Herbie promises to restore the good name of bears , but...
...but the Three Bears are morons.
Source: Herbie #23a p.11 (1967-02)
Updated: 2012-02-23
...but the Three Bears are morons.

Time Travel

Herbie began traveling back in time using a grandfather clock and a special lollipop in April 1964, when he got his own comic. Herbie found that history was not all it was cracked up to be (e.g., Washington's teeth started the Revolutionary War, Christopher Columbus showed Herbie that the world is not round).

Prime Example: Years before that, Mr. Peabody and his boy, Sherman, went back in time using the WAYBACK machine to find out that our understanding of history was at best twisted.
Source: Mr. Peabody (1960)
Updated: 2012-08-30
Prime Example : Years before that, Mr.
Like Mr. Peabody, Herbie would plan his time-travel with methodical precision, but maybe he should not be so specific when answering questions about his secret travels.
Source: Herbie #13a p.4 (1965-10)
Updated: 2012-06-14
Like Mr.

Breaking the Fourth Wall

Bullwinkle was especially likely to turn to the camera and acknowledge being in a cartoon, but Herbie explored new heights of talking to the reader.

These superheroes introduce themselves by naming the comics they are from.
Source: Herbie #14a p.10 (1965-12)
Updated: 2012-06-18
These superheroes introduce themselves by naming the comics they are from.