Your Dad's Comics - Herbie's Quiet Saturday Afternoon

Today, I'll be discussing quite possibly our greatest hero. Allegedly, Alan Moore considers this character his favorite superhero, and he even based Rorschach's speech patterns on him (no, really). This mystery man is, of course, Herbie Popnecker. Created by our old friends, Shane O'Shea and Ogden Whitney, Herbie was a character far ahead of his time. Way before the modern crop of heroes fought crime in their street clothes, Herbie was doing it.

Our story today is "Herbie's Quiet Saturday Afternoon," the very first Herbie story, and (as far as I know) the only one that's in the public domain. It comes from Forbidden Worlds #73 and can be downloaded here.

Our story begins at a PTA meeting, where the speaker is exhorting the parents to have children who are awesome or something.

I think he should be speaking to the kids themselves, but I'm not a PTA speaker. Anyway, in this scene, we are introduced to Herbie's parents.

No, you're not judging too hastily, Herbie's father is a colossal asshole.

Herbie's father is especially upset on Saturday, when Herbie decides to spend the whole day sitting in a chair against the wall (apparently in a state of catatonia).

On an unrelated note, I'm pretty sure Herbie's father's appearance here is based on Bob Hope.

Herbie sets off on a walk (more of a trudge, really), and we find out Herbie's secret: he is pretty much all-powerful. First, he wrestles a rampaging tiger back into his cage.

Then, he rescues a senator whose plane crashed at sea.

Here, we are introduced to one of Herbie's more notable eccentricities: he can fly, but he insists on doing so in the most mundane and boring way possible, walking casually through the sky.

After this, Herbie meets up with some aliens who intend to conquer Earth. When they show him their special ray gun:

he goes into some sort of berserker rage:

and slaughters them all.

Back home, Herbie's father is mad he wasn't sitting around waiting for dinner or something and chews him out. Herbie responds with trademark indifference.

And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen, the introduction of Earth's greatest hero. A hero who doesn't bother with costumes or alter egos or even letting anyone know he exists. I love Herbie, and you should too.


(Fake) Avengers Rumors

I think it's about time some rage inspiring rumors started circulating about the Avengers film. Feel free to use any of these to shock your friends.

Joss Whedon insists on filming all scenes blindfolded, to "enhance the non-visual aspects of the film."

All appearances of Hulk consist of Mark Ruffalo digitally painted green, to maintain "consistency."

Robert Downey, Jr. showed up for filming so little, that almost all of his scenes are poorly redubbed clips from the Iron Man films.

Jeremy Renner feels he has to actually make every scripted arrow shot himself as part of his "acting method." After one scene ended up requiring over 100 takes, the script was rewritten so that Hawkeye only uses his bow as a club.

Samuel L. Jackson refuses to appear on set with any other actor, so his entire part consists of sitting in a room alone, giving orders over a walkie-talkie.


My take on the FBI "flying saucer" memos

So, you've probably heard about the FBI memos which were recently released and supposedly prove the existence of aliens. If not, here they are:

I'd been ignoring them, but now actual news organizations are reporting on them, so I guess I can't just ignore them anymore.

Skeptic that I am, I started off examining things like fonts and dates, trying to prove there's something wrong with them, and they're fake. I couldn't do that, as they are apparently real, and supposedly the real FBI released them (also, I'm not a forensics expert). Anyway, once I started actually reading them, I realized their veracity doesn't matter. Even if everything in them is completely accurate, they don't prove anything. The second one just tells what little the FBI knows about the super secret Roswell UFO crash, you know, this one:

Wow, what a conspiracy.

But what about the other one? They recovered three flying saucers, with bodies inside!
Wrong, read it again. Someone's informant just told them that happened. How much stock did the FBI put in this? "No further evaluation was attempted"

Sorry, UFO lovers, maybe the KGB's got some secret files left.

Sentient animals in fiction: racist, or merely obscene?

Of course, I'm not the first to mention the sinister implications of a world inhabited by sentient animals, but I don't think most people fully appreciate the gravity of the situation. What is life like as a sentient animal among other sentient animals? Nasty, brutish and short.

 "That's right!"

Interbreeding is largely ignored in portrayals of fictional animal societies. Mice fall in love with other mice, ducks fall in love with other ducks, occasionally a horse and a cow will fall in love, but as cartoons, they're virtually indistinguishable. Why are there no cross-species couples? It is obvious why they never have any offspring, we would be faced with some misshapen horror begging the viewer to kill it, but breeding is not the only purpose of romance. Many human couples cannot have children. Are we supposed to believe that sentient beings, even of different species, are not able to see past physical differences and fall in love? Which brings us to our inevitable conclusion: animal species are obviously meant as analogues for various races and/or religions. This is most evident in the obvious and exaggerated specific traits each animal displays. Mice are industrious leaders of society, rabbits are lecherous and untrustworthy, ducks are crafty and violent, crows are always jive talking. 


Unlike in modern human society, however, the separation between these animal types is strictly and fanatically enforced. This is the reason why animals don't publicly confess to cross species romances. They all fear the consequences of disregarding their forced positions in society.

Of course, this inevitably leads one to ponder the broader issues inherent in an animal society. What is everyday life like for these creatures? What do they experience when they're not having adventures together or undergoing hijinks involving home remodeling? Obviously, certain species are viciously oppressed by others.

 Isn't this awful?

If you still don't feel this is a big deal, then imagine if you will, a high tribunal of mice. A young couple, mouse and duck, are dragged before the tribunal. "Forswear your love!" the judges cry, "forswear it, and you shall live!" "Never!" the couple cry, embracing tenderly, "we shall never deny our love!" They are then dragged before a firing squad, probably made up of dogs. Doesn't that make you think?

Confessions of a Pitchfork-Wielding Peasant

If you've ever seen a mob of angry peasants, perhaps on its way to the castle of some mad scientist who dared play God, you probably saw one of the peasants carrying a pitchfork. That was me. I know, pitchforks don't have the undeniable air of mystery that torches have, and they're not as respected as sickles, but you can still do plenty of damage to an inhuman monster with a pitchfork.

When I was a young man, I was summoned to the bedside of my dying father. With trembling step, I walked the length of our house, fifteen feet across the only room, to the bed. “Criminy,” my father said. My name's Criminy, by the way. “Criminy,” said he, “you know I'm a torch-man. My father was a torch-man. His father- torches hadn't even been invented yet, he just carried a burning log. Criminy, I want you to go to torch school. I've saved up two radishes and a bit of cheese to pay your tuition. Become a torch-man, carry on the family tradition.” Then he closed his eyes and departed this life. Then the plague doctors came and burned our house down.

The day I was accepted to torch school was the happiest of my young life, I skipped and laughed for a half hour. When the barber heard about my condition, he diagnosed me as having a great overabundance of blood. After the treatment, I sat in the corner quietly, somewhat lightheaded and disoriented.

In torch school, I was never top of the class, but I managed to learn the trade relatively quickly. After the first week, I didn't even burn my fingers anymore. On weekends, we would harass the rejects at the sickle school. Since they didn't get into torch school, we felt it was acceptable to mock and degrade them. We shouted things like, “how will you burn down a castle with that?” and, “only Huguenots carry sickles!” I blush to think of it now, what fools we were then.

My downfall came at the end of the first year, when we had final exams. Our test was to light a torch. Needless to say, I was very nervous about this test, but I managed to complete it successfully. Afterwards, however, the instructor grabbed me by the arm and pulled up my sleeve. There, to my everlasting shame, was scrawled a crude diagram showing how to light a torch. Ears burning, figuratively as well as literally (torch school is notoriously harsh with cheaters), I was cast forth from the school, never to return.

Obviously, sickle school would not accept a cheater, so I was reduced to moving hay from one pile to another with a common pitchfork.

As I was moving hay one day, pitchfork in hand, I heard a great commotion from the nearby road. Turning, I saw a mob of peasants march past, torches and sickles held aloft. “Where are you going?” I asked a nearby sickle-man, “To the Castle of Doctor Scapula,” the man cried, “he's taken the liver from a dead man, and put it in a man with a sickly liver!” After I'd finished vomiting my guts out with disgust and horror, I decided I had to follow them. But I had never finished torch school, and I didn't know how to wield a sickle. Forlornly, I watched them march into the distance. Then I suddenly realized, a pitchfork could be wielded as a weapon! Catching up with the mob, I grasped my pitchfork and tried not to make eye contact with anyone. “Hey,” one man eventually said, “there's something wrong with your sickle.” Throughout the mob, heads began to turn. “Wait a minute,” another cried, “that's not a sickle at all! It's one of those other things!” “A pitchfork,” I muttered. Everyone laughed. They would not be laughing for long, however.

When we arrived at the castle, we saw the man who'd received a dead man's liver standing outside. “Wait,” he cried, “the good doctor saved my life!” As the torch-men busied themselves burning down the castle, the sickle-men and I worked at ending the abomination before us. The men with the sickles cut at the creature, but in vain. He dodged and blocked, and they only managed to open some shallow wounds on his arms. His demon liver was protecting him! I knew our only hope was to destroy the cursed thing, but sickles were not able to pierce the creature's body deep enough. Barely thinking, I rushed forward. The next thing I was conscious of was the monster laying before me, finally defeated. There was silence from the rest of the mob. They gazed at me with big eyes. Then, somewhere in the crowd, someone began slowly clapping. Another joined, then the whole mob was cheering ecstatically. Tears of happiness ran down my face as I was applauded and congratulated. I felt as if the spirit of my father was watching and applauding as well.

So, I continued carrying my pitchfork, and eventually pitchforks became fully recognized as a legitimate mob implement. I taught my sons to wield pitchforks, and I'm thinking of starting a pitchfork school. Perhaps someday, every mob will have a pitchfork-man.


Your Dad's Comics - Jo-Jo and the Incredible Dancing Apes

I was planning on doing a post on a Civil Defense comic I found, but all my jokes ended up being about how the civil defense officers were using the declaration of martial law to suppress the civil liberties of and/or commit genocide against the affected population. Maybe I'll come back to it.
Anyway, instead I dug up this little gem:

I'll be discussing the dancing apes story, although I must admit, the other one sounds way more interesting. As always, this comic is in the public domain, and can be downloaded for free here.
Our story opens with women bathing. I've got your attention now, don't I? Relax, this was written in 1947.

So, the hippos know not to disturb them? Because those things are vicious. Also, why is there a rule against disturbing them when they're bathing if they dress exactly the same as they normally dress?

There's only one man who can save her! Tarzan! No? Uh, Mowgli? George of the Jungle?

She's doomed.

"Your daughter? Your, uh, adopted daughter, right?"
Jo-Jo goes to ask the monkeys, and they say they didn't kidnap the princess (really). 

Dancing? Thank goodness the Comics Code Authority hadn't been created yet.

After a brief and hilariously pathetic struggle on Jo-Jo's part...

An ape that speaks like a man? Methinks there is mischief afoot.

Jo-Jo is shocked. "Someone says I'm clever?"

"It's old Mr. Jones, the groundskeeper!"  "And I would have gotten away with it, too..."

Lowly magic maker? The Congo has a confusing social hierarchy. What's below magic makers, minor gods and water sprites?
Krooga decides to taunt Jo-Jo with the woman he's trying to rescue. So, according to the rules of comics, Krooga has about two pages to live.

She isn't that vehement about this. "actually... yes... yes, that'll work."

Old age! (rimshot)

The other? What about the other? Is there a lady behind one and a tiger behind the other? Are we doing that old routine?

And so ends the tale of Jo-Jo, Congo King. He wasn't a great Congo King, but he- oh... never mind, it's not over yet.

Now that's a real villain! Why can't Lex Luthor be this devious?

I have a sinking feeling we're not going to see the death of Jo-Jo in this issue.

Dang, this villain is freaking awesome. "If your elaborate deathtrap doesn't work, throw a spear!" I hope he doesn't die in the very next panel.

"Well, that's the end of this loincloth."

"Why won't you make love to me, Jo-Jo? Is it because I'm black?"
The End
Strangely, flipping through some other Jo-Jo stories, fighting off women who are desperately trying to seduce him seems to be a pretty constant theme.
Anyway, if you want to use the character of Jo-Jo, or Krooga (more likely), they're in the public domain, so use away.

SFC #1 - Seth Rogen... SUPERHERO?!

Disclaimer: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are DC Comics characters (obviously), so I do not own them. Seth Rogen is an actual person, so I don't own him. Also, I blatantly stole at least one scene from Family Guy, so... yeah. However, while he is based on a real person, I'm claiming ownership of Cyborg Adolf Eichmann.

Seth Rogen gazed out over the city twinkling below him. He was waiting for a call. Suddenly, his phone rang. “Give me some good news, baby,” he said, answering it. “Seth, it's your agent,” the man at the other end replied. “Uh, yeah. I know.” “Oh, sorry,” his agent continued, “I thought you called me 'baby.' Anyway, the results are in. Green Hornet won the weekend! You beat that Vince Vaughn one and True Grit, combined!” “I'm King of the World!” Seth shouted, leaning against the railing. The railing promptly collapsed, sending him plummeting down the steep hill. Far below, but rapidly approaching, an iron fence topped with vicious spikes waited. Seth wailed incoherently as he rolled. Halfway down, he hit a large boulder which knocked him out over, then straight onto the fence. “Oh, God!” he moaned, “My intestines!” Shuddering, he looked down to see what the damage was. The spikes hadn't even penetrated his skin. He was laying on top of the spiked fence, with absolutely no injuries. “Seth,” his agent's voice carried down from above, “you okay, buddy?”

“This is my city. And I will purge it of all injustice. I am the silent guardian, I am-” “Batman! Hey, Batman!” Startled, Batman looked at the street below, where a husky, bearded man was waving to him. “What seems to be the trouble, citizen?” Batman asked, gliding down beside Seth Rogen. “Hey, Batman!” Seth began, excitedly, “I want to be your sidekick!” Batman goggled. “No, really,” Seth continued, “I can't be killed, I would be a great sidekick!” Batman stared for a minute, “Hmm,” he finally answered, “you look a little old, but maybe, it would be nice to have a sidekick who can't be killed. Are you willing to wear green spandex shorts?”

“Batman and I didn't really see eye to eye,” Seth answered Superman. “Well,” Superman replied, “I typically work alone.” “Yeah, but Superman, I'm freaking immortal,” Seth said, a slight edge of desperation in his voice, “I could be Superboy!” “There's... there's already a Superboy,” Superman said. “Yeah, but isn't he dead?” Seth asked. “No, he's alive.” “Oh,” Seth muttered, “I could have sworn I heard he died.” “Um,” Superman shifted uncomfortably, “there's always Wonder Woman.” “Oh, yeah. That's gonna work,” Seth replied, sarcastically, “I bet she'd love working with me.” 

“Come to me, Wonder Woman!” Cyborg Adolf Eichmann shrieked, “Come and meet your death!” Gleefully, he clutched his anti-Amazon ray gun in his hand and glanced around. Terrified hostages crouched around him, whimpering and moaning with fear. “This is the perfect plan,” Eichmann mused to himself, “when that Schlampe shows up, I'll blast her! Sheer genius!” Looking out the doors of the bank, he could see Wonder Woman standing behind a police car. “Finally,” Eichmann chortled, “I shall have my revenge!” With growing confusion, Eichmann watched Wonder Woman eyeing the bank. She spent a moment looking towards him, then another moment looking towards the large window above the door, then she stopped to talk to a bearded man standing beside her. “What is she waiting for?” Eichmann screamed, stamping his feet in anger, “Even if she somehow learned of my anti-Amazon ray, what can she do? She must come rescue the hostages!” He turned toward the hostages and wondered who he should kill first. Suddenly he heard a noise from outside. Turning, he was just in time to see the bearded man hurtle through the air and crash through the window above him. “WHAT THE-!” he squealed as the man crashed into him, knocking him to the ground. His ray gun skittered off across the floor. The bearded man was now sitting on Eichmann's midsection, laughing uproariously. “Who... who are you?” Eichmann managed to groan out. “I am the terror that flaps in the night! I am the guy who sits right next to you on an empty subway car! I am Super Jew!” Seth replied, pausing to laugh at the superhero name he'd chosen. “Wait a minute,” Eichmann said, staring intently at Seth's face, “I know you! You are the buffoon from the movies!” “Hey!” Wonder Woman yelled, stepping into the bank. She stalked over and placed her boot firmly on Eichmann's chest, “don't you dare insult Seth Rogen, he's a comedy genius! Knocked Up is the funniest movie ever!” Eichmann stared up at her, stunned speechless. “Good work, Super Jew!” Wonder Woman yelled. “Good throw, Wonder Woman!” Seth shouted back. They high fived.

“With great power comes great responsibility,” Seth Rogen muttered, gazing out across the city. “With moderate power,” he continued, “comes moderate responsibility. Moderate responsibility... awesome.”


Your Dad's Comics - Slave Girl

Heads up, kiddies! It's another exciting edition of Your Dad's Comics! Today, I'll be discussing a little gem called "Slave Girl." I assume this would have been one of your Dad's comics, and not your Mom's. As always, this comic is in the public domain, and can be downloaded here.

Oh, boy! I bet there'll be lots of extended whipping scenes.

"Fine, old man, let's see the hot woman! Being a rich, handsome playboy is so tedious." 

"Perhaps we knew each other, once... in another time... and another place... anyway, I'm sure it won't be important to the story."
Also, look at the old man's face. He obviously just caught a glimpse of the reader. That's the look you only see on the face of someone who's just realized they're an incidental character in a teenage boy's fantasy comic. Pure existential horror, right there.
Anyway, for those interested in the plot, the man is an archeologist who was looking for an ancient ring, which the woman happens to have on her finger. What are the chances of that, you ask? Extremely good, according to this comic.

Oh, the nouveau riche and their crazy parties and magic rituals and such!


"Jeff! Jeff! I seem to be seeing a strange and wonderful picture of you in an extremely revealing tunic!"

"Excuse me while I whip this out."
Jeff, who apparently goes by Garth in this time period, drops a special seal on the ground right in front of the guards that reveals him as a spy. Good going, Jeff.  

I don't really get the point of yelling "surrender" as you're bringing a spiked cudgel down on someone's skull. Anyway, that blow doesn't kill Jeff, and he's on his feet again a few minutes later, seemingly none the worse for wear. So, good for him, I guess.
The guards bring Jeff before their ruler, and the ruler handily demonstrates the calculating patience and diplomacy that earned him his position of authority.

Say, that slave looks sort of familiar!

I actually don't know for sure whether she did this on purpose, or if she's just extremely underqualified to carry a tray across a room.

Aww, they cut the whipping scene short.

Once again, she's got the ring he's looking for.

This is about the point where I realized Jeff looks exactly like a slightly more detailed Dick Tracy.


" that they have been thoroughly whipped, off-panel."

"A holiday, for us? Your majesty is too generous."
They chuck the duo into the arena, but the slave girl, whose name is apparently Malu, knows a secret about the arena.

Oh, no! The lion is... actually, what is the lion doing?

Look, the guard can see us, too. What he's feeling right now is probably how a character in a Lovecraftian story feels when they realize they are like ants to the Elder Gods, except way worse.

"As you wish, your highness."
So that's it for this story. There's at least two more stories in the comic, and there's another whole issue, but I've had my fill of Slave Girl. Anyway, if you reprobates want to make your own creative work using these characters or plot, feel free.

My first try at coloring

I can't draw (well), but I thought it would be fun to try some coloring. Using a creative commons picture by Arnaud Poitevin, I colored and shaded using GIMP. As the original is licensed under a creative commons attribution share-alike license, mine is also. I haven't colored the car or the background.

 Alice, by Arnaud Poitevin

 My version


I might do some more work on it later, but what do you guys think of it so far? Any advice from more experienced artists?
Edit: Okay, I made some changes and colored the rest, what do you think?

Edit 2: As per Roxanne's suggestion, I made the car yellow.

It does look pretty good with yellow.