Rating: 3.5/5 – The origin of Super-Hip was a truly bizarre experience.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
The first reaction people might have nowadays is “Who the heck is Bob Hope?” or if they know who he is “What? They had a Bob Hope comic book? And it made it to issue #95???” I’ve know about these comics for years, both the Bob Hop and Jerry Lewis series that DC put out in the 1950s and 1960s, but had never read them. I was also aware of the character “Super-Hip”, who is often referred to in the same kind of way that people refer to Brother Power the Geek, a kind of jokey DC hero that only hardcore fans seem to know about.
When I had the opportunity to pick up a lot of multiple Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis comics on eBay for a decent price (about $40 for 12 issues that included this, the 1st appearance of Super-Hip) I jumped at the chance. Please keep in mind that for a long time Bob Hope was one of the most popular and beloved entertainers in the world. The comic had been chugging along with amusing stories by Arnold Drake and some really nice Bob Oksner art, standard gag/humor comic stories, Bob chasing after pretty girls and getting into a variety of improbable situations. He also has a talking dog named Harvard, I’d be really interested to know what the deal is with that, but that’s a story for another day.
By the mid 1960s the straight humor format must have been wearing thin and the editors at DC must have decided to spice things up. Nowadays, they’d kill someone and/or start the series over with a new #1. Back then they infused some really bizarre new situations into the series. Cue this issue where Bob’s old college buddy Crazy-Legs Jutefruce decides to send his son Tad to stay with Bob while he goes on a European trip with his wife:
Tadwallader Jutefruce is the ultimate “square” and Bob takes it upon himself to play pranks on the kid to loosen him up a bit. Not being content to JUST liven up the comic with a teen super-hero, Drake & Oksner also decide he’s going to attend Benedict Arnold High School, where the faculty includes analogs of a witch (biology teacher Beverly Ghastly), a werewolf (chemistry teacher Heinrich Von Wolfman, with an outrageous German accent to boot), Frankenstein (gym coach Franklin Stein), and Dracula (principal Van Pyre).
So, we have Bob playing pranks, crazy monsters on the faculty at the high school, kids picking on nerdy Tad and he finally snaps, his anger transforming him into Super-Hip, who takes over Tad’s body as a result of his anger:
Dig that crazy battle cry: “Down with Lawrence Welk”, I can get behind that, my Dad used to watch the Lawrence Welk Show when I was a kid and it drove me up the walls! So, Super-Hip is cool, he has a ruffly shirt & winged shoes (this was what middle aged white guys in New York thought the “cool kids” were wearing in 1965??? Unbelievable!) He has a Super-Guitar that lets him fly AND can change him into all sorts of crazy physical shapes:
This comic was piling INSANE on top of Crazy that had already been scooped on top of bizarre. Reading this was an almost surreal experience, I can only imaging how this must have felt to kids reading this in 1965. It wasn’t portraying the hippies of the 1960s but it was sure crazier and more entertaining than straight Bob Hope gag stories. Because of licensing issues and the likenesses of the actor, I doubt they’ll be reprinted, but if you ever have a chance to pick up some of these old comics for not too high a price, I’d encourage you to give them a try. They’re fascinating to read as a window into another time, and they can still bring a smile to your face close to 50 years after they were 1st published.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall – firstname.lastname@example.org
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture