The Debut of Alan Moore's Favorite Comic Character Up for Auction

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An unlikely hero with unassuming beginnings, Herbie Popnecker has achieved cult classic status over the course of his 60+ year existence.  The character was created for publisher ACG (American Comics Group) by writer-editor Richard Hughes and artist Ogden Whitney and first appeared in issue #73 of ACG fantasy/"strange adventure" title Forbidden Worlds. There's a Forbidden Worlds #73 CGC 6.5 up for auction in today's session of the 2021 March 14-15 Sunday & Monday Comics, Animation & Art Weekly Online Auction #122111 from Heritage Auctions.

Forbidden Worlds #73 Title Page art by Ogden Witney, ACG 1958.
Forbidden Worlds #73 Herbie title page art by Ogden Witney, ACG 1958.

Ogden Whitney's work in general and Herbie in particular has been admired by numerous comic book creators over the decades, perhaps most famously in recent times by legendary writer Alan Moore.

There is an endless amount of wonderful material in the comic medium, but if I had to boil it down to single comic strip work for which I retain the most affection, it would have to be Richard E. Hughes and Ogden Whitney's sublime Herbie, originally published by the American Comic Group (ACG) during the 1960s. This is not, of course, to diminish the medium's many other great accomplishments, from Lynd Ward and Winsor McCay to Harvey Kurtzman and Will Eisner to Garth Ennis and Kieron Gillen, but simply to say that for pure comic book delight that never seems to age, my money is on Herbie. Who appears both in the narrative and on the cover of Jerusalem.

Forbidden Worlds #73 is not a comic that shows up in anything above well-loved condition very often. There are only 28 copies on the CGC census, and only 12 of those are graded above CGC 6.5.

An unlikely hero in the form of a young, quiet kid who secretly has incredible power, Herbie's appeal has endured through the decades since his first appearance in Forbidden Worlds #73. There's a Forbidden Worlds #73 CGC 6.5 up for auction in today's session of the 2021 March 14-15 Sunday & Monday Comics, Animation & Art Weekly Online Auction #122111 from Heritage Auctions.

Forbidden Worlds #73 CGC 6.5 cover by Ogden Whitney, first appearance of Herbie, 1958 ACG.
Forbidden Worlds #73 CGC 6.5 cover by Ogden Whitney, first appearance of Herbie, 1958 ACG.

Forbidden Worlds #73 (ACG, 1958) CGC FN+ 6.5 Off-white to white pages. First appearance of Herbie. Ogden Whitney cover and art. Overstreet 2020 FN 6.0 value = $171; VF 8.0 value = $362. CGC census 3/21: 4 in 6.5, 12 higher.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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