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CSBG Archive

Silver Age September – Herbie, the Fat Fury

After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!

Today we take a look at a Herbie, the Fat Fury story from American Comics Group’s Forbidden Worlds #116, by Richard E. Hughes and Ogden Whitney. In this story, Herbie sells his soul to the devil!


Herbie, the Fat Fury, was one of the most bizarre comics of the early 1960s. Written by Hughes and drawn by Whitney, it was a series of just plain ol’ weird stories starring a really fat kid. In this tale, the devil tries to get Herbie’s soul…

First he makes Herbie a movie star (Elizabeth Taylor falls in love with him, of course) but next he offers to make him a business tycoon. Herbie agrees, but only if it is his DAD who becomes the tycoon…

I love who Herbie goes to for advice!!!

Once in hell, though, Herbie causes such a mess (including unionizing the Devil’s imps) that the devil wants out of their deal…

Herbie the Fat Fury is such a unique comic book. When you hear the name, you figure it is going to be some hacky comic book about a really fat kid where all the gags are just variations on fat jokes. Instead, Hughes and Whitney’s sense of humor went way stranger and more clever than that. They took an absurdist approach that really worked wonderfully and the end result is a really great comic book.

Dark Horse collected the Herbie tales from the Silver Age into a collection. It is worth picking up!


I love Herbie so much. I really need to buy that hardcover.

Wow. i have never read anything so wild in all my life. Herbie looks permentely stoned, talks with animals, and a tree imp [?!?], finally walks up the air & smashes all the way down to hell?

i love his first words to the devil, “I’m afraid?” It made me think that it was the devil who should be afraid of Herbie, and i was right!

Too much awesomeness!

I just got a custom Fat Fury plush from http://www.handmadestuffs.com. It is awesome!

I saw Jim Woodring at SPX over the weekend and he was talking about books that influenced him. I asked about Herbie, and he went on about how that book frightened HIM as a child! You ever read his stuff? That’s the power of the Fat Fury right there!

LOL at “fat atoms” in the first page. Also amusing is the fact that the kid’s parents call each other mom and dad. I’ve never heard of this series before. It almost seems more like a concept for a newspaper comic strip than a comic book. This story was pretty bizarre. How was Herbie able to bring his painting to life?

Easy one of the finest comics ever made.

I became an instant fan of Herbie once I got a hardcover out from the library. Herbie is awesome! Even the pages here just make me smile.

I spent most of the time reading that thinking “Wha…?” I mean that in the best possible sense. By the time he started walking in the air I was just going along with it.

Sehr kult. I have heard Herbie namedropped for a long time but never have seen more than one or two panel here and there…and now reading this makes me want to get that collection.

Never heard of this – it’s trippy. Early 60s Comic Code and the depiction of Satan? I guess they got round it by of course Satan getting his come-uppance? Ditto Dracula & Frankenstein’s monster being ‘humanized’ and not looking as monstrous or supernatural, I suppose.

I couldn’t find any references to it in a cursory Google search, but I know Herbie was the object of a mock religion among certain segments of sf fandom back in the ’60s.

The fake religion is called Herbangelism.

Look it up.


Alan Moore’s favorite comic.

Totally sui generis – where did this come from culturally? I love Ogden Whitney’s ultra generic art.

Like AS, I’d only ever heard of Herbie. Now I must own it!!!

Now do Sugar and Spike, so I can see if I want to get that Archives that’s just come out!

Got the first two hardcovers from the library. “Unique” just about covers Herbie, even if the stories boiled down to something like this. Man, his father was a dick, wasn’t he?

Can’t get the Hardcover, have to look somewhere else for it; also I liked how Herbie will help his Dad even though he isn’t a nice person at times.
Herbies a nice kid for going to Hell for his Dad.

For anyone just tuning in, these were great comics and well worth the search if you’re into the Adam’s Family school of weirdness. Herbie always wins, no matter how grievous the danger he faces. His ultimate secret power is to bop you with his lollipop. His house has an unlimited basement that he occasionally visits and encounters a dragon and other assorted perils as he travels though it. The best part is that none of the normal people around him ever perceive him as other than the fat, lazy little boy he appears to be. Wonderful stuff!

[…] Obese Wonder Boy Annoys Beelzebub into Collective Bargain Agreement […]

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