Super-Hip. Artist: Bob Oksner.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1965
Creators: Arnold Drake (writer) and Bob Oksner (artist)
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DC Comics published some obscure and unlikely characters during the 1960s superhero trend, from Prince Ra-Man

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… to Ultra the Multi-Alien. This one excelled on both counts. It's hard to be more obscure, or more unlikely, than Super-Hip.

Super-Hip could fly like Superman, change his shape like Tom Terrific, or when you get right down to it, do just about anything he pleased, like Fantomah, Mystery Woman of the Jungle. He had wings on his feet, like Sub-Mariner, and dressed like something out of Carnaby Street. His method of switching to his super self was like The Incredible Hulk's — it happened involuntarily whenever he got excessively angry. His non-super self, Tadwallader Jutefruce, was unaware of his own dual identity, tho that secret was known to his talking dog, Harvard Harvard. Just to show how hip he was, his battle cry was "Blech to Lawrence Welk!"

Tad was a student at Benedict Arnold High School, where faculty members closely resembled the old 1930s monsters popularized by Universal Studios, including Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman. His Super-Hip episodes were often triggered by the taunts of his incredibly wealthy classmate, Badger Goldliver (no relation), who liked to target Tad for being the biggest dweeb on campus. Tad lived with his uncle, a DC character named for, modeled after, and licensed from entertainer Bob Hope.

DC had been publishing The Adventures of Bob Hope since 1950, as part of a line of comics based on celebrities' screen personalities. Others included Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis (with Martin dropping out of the comics when the team split up), Pat Boone, Alan Ladd and Ozzie Nelson. They even did westerns starring Jimmy Wakely and Dale Evans. The "Bob Hope" character loosely resembled the parts Hope played in the "Road" movies he did with Bing Crosby, but the two diverged somewhat as the years went by. Among the more pronounced divergences DC introduced was to have Bob's hitherto-unseen nephew, Tad, come to live with him in the 95th issue (October, 1965), whereafter Tad's entourage became the comic's main focus.

The Bob Hope creative team at the time consisted of editor Murray Boltinoff (Tomahawk, Challengers of the Unknown), writer Arnold Drake (Deadman, Stanley & His Monster) and artist Bob Oksner (Angel & the Ape, Lady Danger). The same three continued on the series until its demise with #109 (March, 1968).

Super-Hip made only one appearance outside the Bob Hope title, a cameo at the 1966 Doom Patrol wedding (which was also edited by Boltinoff and written by Drake, by the way). After the title ended he was never seen again. He didn't even get an entry in Who's Who in the DC Universe, and even Ultra and Ra-Man got that.


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Text ©2003-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.