I finally finished the first of Dark Horse's Herbie Archives. It was released earlier in the fall, and while the price point is a little steep at $50, a near-mint condition copy of any of the ten issues reprinted in it will set you back at least $20, so it works out pretty well in the end. Herbie was a very weird kid's comedy book, starring "a little fat nothing" of a son who drives his father to screaming distraction with his apparently sedentary lifestyle. His dad doesn't realize that Herbie is in fact the most powerful person on the planet, who can talk to animals, travel in time and clobber the Loch Ness Monster, and who hobnobs with Winston Churchill, Mao Zedong, the Beatles and U Thant.
Herbie Popnecker was created by Richard E. Hughes and Ogden Whitney. Hughes was the editor of ACG, a small comics company that didn't make it through the sixties. Herbie appeared sporadically in some of their sci-fi anthology books before getting his own title, which ran for three years. Hughes and Whitney died many years ago, but their bizarre little fat nothing of a character has been winning over new fans ever since.
I'm very pleased with the quality of the collection. Dark Horse is planning to reprint the full run in three hardbacks, the second of which is due next month and the third in the spring. They don't include some of the other gag strips which originally appeared in the books, but they do include many of the cute house ads for the next issue of the comic. They shot from really nice copies of the comics, with minimal restoration of the color, but it looks far better than certain scans which can be found at torrent sites. It is certainly worth your time, and I strongly encourage readers to give it a try!
Read more of what I've written about Herbie at A Journal of Zarjaz Things.
Read other reviews of Herbie:
Hilary Brown and Garrett Martin at Shazhmmm
Adam at Rack Raids
Mike Sterling at Progressive Ruin
Kristy Valenti at comiXology
In related reprinting news, DC has apparently made some neat plans for next summer. While they haven't formally announced anything, a look at Amazon shows that they are planning at least three volumes in a slightly rejigged Showcase Presents series.
You're probably aware that the Showcase Presents books reprint around 500 pages of classic comics for $16.99. But DC has offered many well-remembered characters who never made it to that many pages in their original iteration. So next summer, DC will release three thinner Showcase books - each around 300 pages for $9.99. These will reprint The Creeper by Steve Ditko, Bat Lash by Sergio Aragones and Nick Cardy, and Eclipso by Bob Haney and Jack Sparling, apparently with some rare fill-in work by Alex Toth. Each will come out the same month as the traditional 500-page book. Good show, DC - I will buy all three!
(Originally posted November 21, 2008, 08:35 at hipsterdad's livejournal.)