THE STORY: "Herbie" by Shane O' Shea (W) and Ogden Whitney (A)
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Herbie Popnecker may have come from a clean-cut household straight out of the family living rooms of "Mad Men," but the portly young boy refuses to answer his father's calls to become a productive member of society—that is, at least while his father is watching. Herbie wears a belt full of lollipops, which endow him with superpowers. He also dons a plunger-capped hero's suit that transforms him into a crusader called "The Fat Fury."
WHY IT WORKS: If you think Don Draper has to lead a double life, take a gander at the feats that Herbie has to pull off—in one scene taking verbal lashes from his enraged dad, then quickly walking across the sky to go save the United Kingdom from the Loch Ness Monster at the behest of Winston Churchill. He's an international superhero with the respect of the world, but not his own flesh and blood. He's a proud symbol of hope for "Superbad"-style geeks everywhere with the added flair of candy-coated power-ups.
WHY IT DOESN'T: Herbie's understated humor doesn't jive with everyone. He has the tendency to mumble in the face of confrontation and his social graces resemble Michael Cera more than they do Zac Efron. Herbie doesn't hail from the cool crowd, but he also doesn't care. You also won't find any degree of visual sexiness in his grooming habits or mannerisms.
WHAT TO DO: Face it. McLovin' made nerds cool for the time being, and Herbie is the nerdiest hero in the history of comics. He thumbs his nose in the face of society and follows his own code worthy of Bruce Lee reincarnated as a couch potato. His matured appearance would befit Jonah Hill stepping into the role. Bring him in, cast Jon Hamm as his father, and keep the guest appearances rolling, featuring big name celebrities playing themselves and seeking Herbie's help.
Nab Arnold Schwarzenegger to play himself as the governor of California, and you've got yourself a climactic mountain to build up to. Famous folks playing themselves would help recreate the surreal atmosphere of the comic that at times seems bizarrely real.
LAST WORD: Herbie is a fan-favorite to aging comics fans and particularly to creators—even Alan Moore! He's the pinnacle of heroic uncool and could be the biggest thing to happen at the movies since "Revenge of the Nerds." And if you think you're too good for him, he's got a lollipop he would be proud to bop you with.
Would you pay for an IMAX ticket to see Herbie save the world on film? Have you read his original appearances in comics or Dark Horse's recent collected editions? Sound off and show your Herbie support in the comment section below!