Secret Origins Tuesday — The Fat Fury!
Well, it’s a little late, but the more light-hearted origin I promised a couple of weeks ago is here! I’m happy to present possibly the greatest superhero ever. He who is so super, he had all of his powers before donning his ultra-spiffy costume. He who has women swooning at his every terse word. He, who is so famous, ever animal he talks to knows his name by reputation! Who can this Mirthful Marvel be? This Fastidious Fatso? This Plump Lump? None other than Herbie Popnecker himself, The Fat Fury!
As you can see, out hero is indulging in his favorite pastime. Sadly, his respite is spoiled by a shadowy figure with a sack on his back, as the shadow cuts the ropes holding up Herbie’s hammock. When his parents return, they go the police station, seeing as their belongings were taken. They find out the culprit is none other than Mr. Horrible, no relation to the doctor of the same name. It seems Mr. H has been wreaking havoc all over the place and we’re treated to a montage of his nefarious deeds. He operates according to his own whims, doing things like literally peeling the door off a bank vault, sinking a battleship my tearing it in two, and my personal favorite:
Things got so bad, then-president Lyndon Johnson pleaded for the nation to y’know, get off their butts and be proactive. Back at the Popnecker abode, Herbie poses the same question to his rotund son. Herbie thinks to himself that it is time for him to do something, but what? He gets his inspiration while perusing his comic collection. He figures that if he were a costumed hero, he could settle Horrible’s hash but good. How the heck do you become a costumed hero though?
So of course our hero goes to get proper training, and it… doesn’t really go all that well. You see, Herbie’s preferred method of flying is more of the walking on air type. When he tries to alter his skills to conform to the superhero standard, he kind of mucks it up. No matter there are other tests to be had! Herbie manages to pick up an elephant one-handed, but not with the same aplomb as his instructor. You see, he can support the elephant’s weight, but the ground can’t support his. Other trials go just about as well, and poor Herbie, well he flunks out. He is gracious enough to attend the graduation ceremonies, though. (wotta guy!)
Meanwhile, Mr. Horrible’s horrible-ness knows no bounds. He takes on all of the hero school grads at once and takes them all out. Herbie’s dad decides it’s his turn to become a hero! Herbie can’t have that (mostly because his father is an incompetent). Herbie digs into a random box of masquerade items to find his perfect costume, and after a few missteps (fairy costume, gorilla outfit) he comes across the perfect statement of his super-ness. The Fat Fury is born!
Herbie then hears that Mr. Horrible is about to kidnap the Statue of Liberty! That’s not proper, She’s a lady! Galvanized, Herbie takes off… and promptly crashes. Herbie is nothing if not determined though, and he tries again. This time, he even manages the classic superhero flight pose! He arrives just in time, and he taps the giant Mr. Horrible on the ankle and says “You hadn’t oughtta.” The response is about what would be expected.
Well, I don’t have to tell you that now it is on, much like a video game that rhymes, but I am not legally allowed to say. Herbie stands up to Mr. Horrible and promptly gets flattened, literally. It’s a good thing that the Fat Fury is always prepared for eventualities like this!
That’s what makes the Fat Fury such a good hero. He will never, ever give up! This is a good thing too, as Mr. Horrible proceeds to twist him in knots. Herbie has had about enough at this point and borrows Lady Liberty’s torch and proceeds to bash Horrible over the head with it! Not giving up his upper hand, the Fat Fury pummels Horrible with a flurry of flabby fists and tosses him right into the waiting arms of the seagoing police force!
So, the day is saved, and Herbie flies back home in time for dinner. Just as he sits to eats, the news flash about Horrible’s capture is blaring loud and clear. Herbie’s dad is positively ecstatic, and simultaneously grouses about how it’s too bad his son can’t have that kind of gumption, so we close our story with this fine snapshot of family life at the Popnecker’s.
This story originally appeared in Herbie #8, March 1965. Reprinted in Herbie Archives Vol. 2 by Dark Horse Comics.
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