Antarctic Press has been doing a lot with public domain superheroes in the pages of Exciting Comics. Coming this December they will branch out with humor comics. Bring Fatman and Herbie to a new generation of readers. Writer John Holland stopped by First Comics News to tell us all about Two Tons of Fury.
First Comics News: Who is Fatman and how does Van Crawford shapeshift into a flying saucer?
John Holland: Fatman was created by CC Beck and Otto Binder, two of the creators of the original Captain Marvel published by Fawcett Comics in the 1940s. Fatman is Van Crawford, the son of rich parents and whose ambition in life is to eat and collect stamps, and bird watching. It’s while on a bird watching the journey that he comes across a flying saucer that is crashing to earth. Using the power of his bulk he breaks some trees down to cushion the landing of the flying saucer. It turns out the aliens were testing the human for empathy and as a reward they give Van Crawford the ability to turn into a human flying saucer.
1st: Fatman bares a strong resemblance to Captain Marvel and Lucius Piddle looks a lot like Billy Batson, are those CC Beck elements still true in your version?
John: Yes, we tried to stay as faithful to the intent of the original creators of both Fatman and Herbie. The intent was not to modernize these characters but to create a fun filled comic that could have been a missing issue of either of these characters from their timeline.
1st: Is this the first revival of Fatman?
John: I’m not sure, I think there might have been a few revivals of the character from some small print creators, but I don’t think he has been brought back by a major comic publisher since its cancelation. I could be wrong and if I am I’m sure someone will let us know.
John: From Wikipedia: Herbie Popnecker is a fictional comic book character who first appeared in Forbidden Worlds #73 in December 1958, published by the American Comics Group. He was created by Richard E. Hughes (using the pseudonym “Shane O’Shea”) and Ogden Whitney.
Herbie is an antithetical hero – a short, obese, emotionless, terse, unstylish boy. Deriving some of his powers from genetics and some from magical lollipops he obtains from a salesman (from a mysterious realm called “the Unknown”), Herbie can carry on detailed conversations with animals and sometimes even inanimate objects (who all know him by name), quickly reach any location (including other galaxies) by walking through the sky, become invisible, cast spells, summon spirits from other dimensions, quickly dispatch all enemies with ease, and travel through time. Despite his appearance and terse personality, he is irresistible to women. Herbie is nearly omnipotent and more powerful than Satan.
1st: How did he discover the lollipops from the unknown?
John: Herbie got his first lollipops from a salesman.
1st: Will Herbie be the Fat Fury in this comic?
John: Yes, Herbie is actually only the Fat Fury in this comic. We don’t see him out of the costume for this comic so he’s actually not Herbie, lol.
1st: How does Fatman team up with Herbie?
John: They team up when they hear that the secret recipe of Mrs. Horatio Huffangel’s famous Huckleberry pie is stolen.
1st: Both Fatman and Herbie have father issues do they bond over them?
John: No, in this issue they are too concerned with finding the person responsible for stealing the pie recipe.
1st: Fatman likes food and Herbie loves his lollypop do they find common ground on food choices?
John: Yes, on pie! They love pie.
1st: There are some crazy concepts in both comics, are any of them resurfacing in this story?
John: Oh yes, a villain from each character’s run of original issues will make an appearance in this issue. As well as some other public domain characters. There is one other character appearing that is about as silly as can be, but for some reason that I’ve always had an attachment for. Also what may be the real first superhero ever created is appearing in this issue and he’s a character that most people will have never heard of.
1st: What is retro-vision?
John: Our return to yesterday’s style comics.
1st: Is this a standard size comic or is it giant size?
John: It’s going to be 24 pages. Hopefully, we will continue with comics similar to this. We may not always have Herbie and Fatman in each issue, but we will continue with their adventures and other public domain characters. Our next issue we’re thinking is going to be a group of these slightly off the beaten path characters.
1st: Which issue of Exciting Comics will feature these 2 tons of fury?
John: From what I understand it will be In their 100th issue out in December.
1st: What makes this team-up so exciting no true comic fan should miss it?
John: It’s got Herbie and Fatman! It’s got other characters that are just as fun and weird! It’s got what we are claiming to be the first real superhero created, way before Superman and any of those characters! It’s a fun filled issue!