Wednesday, January 01, 2003

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In case you're wondering, the fellow in the picture above is none other than one of my favorite comic book characters, "The World's Most Disgusting Super-Hero" (DC's words, not mine- hell of a way to promote your character) Super-Hip! He appeared in about a dozen or so issues of DC's Adventures of Bob Hope comic back in the late Sixties. When I was a little kid I thought he was a hoot, and I wish I had held onto the two or three comics I had with him in them because they're next to impossible to find now (affordably, that is). I nominate him to be the new Bacardi Show mascot for the near future.

Super-Hip came along as the Hope comic was beginning to run out of steam a bit, and DC became desperate to appeal to the young hippie crowd in the mid 60s. They tried all kinds of things, from Go-Go Checks on their covers to hippie heroes (Brother Power, The Geek, anyone?), but nothing really worked because as we all know, Marvel comics were the comics of choice for the college crowd back then, and the DC folks were all from the WWII generation...and just didn't get it. Super-Hip was in reality Bob's nerdy nephew Tadwallader Jutefruice, and he came to live with Uncle Bob and his talking dog Harvard-Harvard (Don't get the joke. Still don't.) in issue #95. He attended Benedict Arnold High School. Its faculty was made up of classic Universal horror movie monsters, including a Dracula type (Dr. Van Pyre) as principal, a Frankenstein's monster as football coach, a werewolf (Dr. Von Wolfmann-oh, my aching sides) as science professor and so on. There was also the requisite Reggie Mantle-type who gave Tad a hard time, name of Badger Goldliver. Whenever Tad got upset or angry, then he would go into convulsions and transform into Super-Hip, a Brian Jones look-alike who could fly and shape change. The new direction of the book wasn't enough to save it, eventually writer Arnold Drake and his editors seemed to tire of the character (he didn't even appear on the last four or five covers) and Bob's title bit the dust after issue #109...but I always remembered it as being funny in that Henny Youngman, borscht-belt, Mad magazine type way and look back on those comics fondly. And Super-Hip is pretty cool in a retro-kitschy kind of way. God forbid that DC should ever bring him back, he'd be a heroin addict or something.

Oh, What's he saying? Sorry it didn't reproduce all that well. To make the file small, I had to scan at low resolution, which plays hell with small type. The caption says: "And out of that whirling, wailing psychoneurotic frug appears:" and he says: "Me! Super-Hip! That winning number in the game of human bingo! That whipped cream topping on the chocolate pudding of life! That gleaming champagne glass in a world of dirty Dixie Cups!" Clip and save.

Update 5/30/03 I had no idea that Dirk Deppey had linked to this particular blog entry, so I apologize to those who came here before. I had originally referred to an image of Super Hip that I had in the feature space at the top of the second column; it stayed there for several weeks. But- when you republish your archives in Blogger, it automatically updates the second column to the most current content. I'm sure it was confusing as hell to whoever came here and read it! I've gone in and added the image in question to the top of this post, and have corrected a couple of factual errors as well. Thanks for checking it out, and for God's sake buy something from Fantagraphics!