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I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time Bob Hope’s Nephew Became a Swingin’ Mod Superhero

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Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today, we take a look at the introduction of Bob Hope’s nephew, a young stuck-up lad who transforms into the swingin’ mod superhero known as…Super-Hip!!

In 1965’s Adventures of Bop Hope #95, Arnold Drake and Bob Oksner decided to try a rather radical attempt to rescue the long-running Bob Hope comic book from cancellation. Their plan was to try to tie in with the times by introducing a hip, swinging superhero.

They introduce the character as the nephew of Bob Hope (honorary nephew, only – the boy is the son of one of Hope’s old college buddies), Tadwallader Jutefruce. He is a repressed officious nerd…

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While Hope’s talking dog’s plan was not a bad one (I love that the fact that Hope has a talking dog is not even CLOSE to the weirdest part about this issue), their attempts at getting Tad angry repeatedly fail.

It is not until he gets embarrassed by a jerk after school that things get REALLY crazy…

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“Down with Lawrence Welk” is Super-Hip’s battle cry (Just in case no one gets the reference, Lawrence Welk had a long-running TV show that specialized in standards and big band songs as well as sort of de-fanged versions of modern pop songs. Of course, that philosophy does not work when you don’t understand what the song is about, which led to the hilarious story of the song “One Toke Over the Line” being performed on the show. In any event, a “hip” teen in 1965 would be no fan of the Lawrence Welk Show).

He has a super guitar…

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And he could turn into whatever he wanted…

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A fascinating aspect of Super-Hip (and perhaps a reflection upon the then-current youth movement by old pros Drake and Oksner (who were 41 and 49, respectively, when they created Super-Hip) is that he was a total jerk…

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Super-Hip’s Super Guitar could make anyone dance, even the police…

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Tad, meanwhile, would not remember anything he did as Super-Hip…

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Which made it really awkward that time he woke up covered in blood with a gun in his hand and a dead hooker next to him in a bed (sorry, that’s the Vertigo Super-Hip revival I keep waiting for).

Oksner was a comedic storytelling genius as a comic book artist. His character work was outstanding.

The craziest thing about the Super-Hip concept is that there is a whole OTHER cast of characters introduced in this issue that I made a point of avoiding because they just make everything way too hard to explain, but suffice it to say that Tad’s teachers in High School are based on classic Movie Monsters for, well, no reason really.

Just to keep you from missing out on these characters entirely, here is a quick appearance of the faculty being forced by Super-Hip to dance a version of the “Monster Mash” – the “Faculty Frug!”

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In-freaking-SANE!

The Super-Hip experience kept Bob Hope going for an additional 14 issues before it ended with #109.

That’s it for this week’s I Love Ya But You’re Strange! E-mail me suggestions for future installments at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

32 Comments

More “Silver Age” Insanity Goodness!

Super-Hip has a cameo at the wedding of Elasti-Girl and Mento over in Drake’s Doom Patrol.

I always wanted to see Bob Oskner draw an issue of Spider Man, if only to see his versions of Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy.

Was not expecting to see an almost-nude Bob Hope in one frame.

Fourteen issues, but no nod in Who’s Who? Shocking…

Fourteen issues, but no nod in Who’s Who? Shocking…

License-related issues, perhaps. All those sorts of in-universe guides are in part promotional tools, and there’s little point promoting something you’ll never be able to reprint. (The most recent Marvel Handbooks do go for thoroughness, of course, but they also do plenty of promotional one-shots in various styles and formats.)

nice for knew dc did a bob hope comic with a talking dog. but forgot that they also had super hip too. for he also showed how layed back with the sixties dc could be with crazy ideas like super hip. too bad that due to licensing issues that dc can’t reprint super hip or the old bob hope comics.

Just like the Incredible Hulk, minus the gamma radiation exposure. I’d feared that Bob and H-H has mange to create a monster from his unsuspecting nephew.

Correction: unsuspecting

I dunno, Omar, the original who’s who reprinted some astonishingly obscure characters, and that was back before the reprint market was anywhere near as big as now.
I’m actually old enough to remember Super-Hip (though I only read one of the books) and I have his wedding appearance. Another point I think you left out was that Tad & Co. attended Benedict Arnold High School (I didn’t see it’s name in any of the panels).

And yes, seconding the respect for Oksner (who did some nice work on Shazam in the seventies IIRC).

How many years did Super-Hip predate the Mask? Damn.

And yeah, I knew about him crashing the Mento/Elasti-Girl wedding thanks to the DC Showcase volumes I got. He probably played at the reception . . . turned Larry Trainor’s snap-crackle buddy into Positive Man.

It’s always amusing to me when an artist who doesn’t really know what a guitar looks like tries to draw one.

Let’s not forget his appearance in one of the tie-in issues of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, where he teamed up with the Dark Knight and Brother Power, The Geek against Mad Mod.

Pete Woodhouse

June 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I just find it amusing that DC was still publishing a Bob Hope comic in the late 1960s! He was, what, 20 years out of date even then?

Schnitzey Pretzelpants

June 3, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I think it’s hilarious that the girl is more focused on being put out that the guy has had his head shorn, than she is FREAKED out that there is giant hair clipper with a guys head on it flying around!

Super-Hip showed up all throughout the final iteration of the pre-52 DCU Doom Patrol.

Beat me to it Squashua, he had a nice hit as Cliff’s only buddy during Robotman’s down nd out days. Glad to know he wound up with a comfy Vegas gig for his post-prime years.

I really like Super Hip and the Bob Hope comic so I’m happy to see this featured. However isnt the Bob hope comic supposed to be weird, kooky, and strange, making something like Super Hip not so strange within the context of the series’ established the tone? Or did the series previously have more of a “normal” tone before the appearance of Super Hip, with all of the wackier elements appearing afterward?

It didn’t have a swingin’ mod superhero attending high school where all his teachers were famous movie monsters, that’s for sure.

I’d buy a Super-Hip Omnibus. (I’d also have him as a supporting character in my Swing with Scooter reboot)

Bill Reeds writes:

“I’d buy a Super-Hip Omnibus. (I’d also have him as a supporting character in my Swing with Scooter reboot)”

In total agreement. I’d love to see Binky, the Maniaks, and all the other mod teenagers DC had make a comeback.

I love those Bob Hope comics. Oskner and Owen Fitzgerald killed it on that book.

Can you imagine if Super-Hip was introduced in the new52?

Atroticus: Tadwallader Jutefruce . . . you have great rage in your heart. Welc-

[Tadawallader turns into Super-Hip for the first time]

Atroticus: [to Dex-Starr] Okay . . . let’s back away slowly. And if anyone asks, we were never here.

I had no idea Super-Hip ever showed up again. Interesting.
Pete, Bob Hope certainly wasn’t turning out movies as good as he used to, but his specials were a fixture on TV, so it’s quite possible American kids knew him. Or it may be that the goofy, oddball humor worked regardless of the real Hope’s status.

I would suggest that it would be rare finding someone that didn’t know who Bob Hope was back in the 60s America. Not to suggest he was cutting edge or anything, but the recognition factor was definitely there, and a quick look at his wiki has his tv specials increasing dramatically after 1965.

Tadwallader Jutefruce briefly resurfaced toward the end of the most-recent run of Doom Patrol. No mention of the Bob Hope connection, of course, and I don’t recall the name “Super-Hip” being used much, if at all. He was a semi-retired rock star (about the right age to have debuted in the ’60s) Cliff Steele turned to for help.

Bob Hope and his dog undressing together…now that’s creepy.

Super-Hip also showed up in a Batman: The Brave & the Bold comic, as all awesome things must. Teaming up with Batman and Brother Power to fight the Mad Mod, if I remember correctly.

Whoops, I should have read the comments more closely. Acer already mentioned that.

“It’s always amusing to me when an artist who doesn’t really know what a guitar looks like tries to draw one.”

Hey, if your guitar doesn’t have a hundred-plus frets, for God’s sake don’t go telling everybody.

I didn’t see the Brave and Bold issue, but the Mad Mod’s turn in the Teen Titans animated series was one of the best jobs of making a third-rater interesting that I’ve ever seen.

Yo, Brian. Here’s one that you NEED to cover ASAP: “The Handsome Hound of Steel!” from Superboy Vol. 1 #101. Krypto gets a sex change and becomes pregnant. It’s twice as insane as you’d expect.

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