Willie Lumpkin, At The Beginning

By | Tuesday, May 28, 2024 Leave a Comment
Willie Lumpkin is the semi-famous mailman for the Fantastic Four, and was even portrayed in the first FF movie by Stan Lee himself. The character debuted in Fantastic Four #11 circa 1963, written by Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby, where he submitted himself for any ear-wiggling services the FF might need.

Not true.

Willie Lumpkin actually debuted three years earlier as the title character of his very own comic strip created by Lee and future Archie artist Dan DeCarlo. He was portrayed several years younger, but still a mailman. Here's one of the Sunday strips that features a benign, but perennial, subject...
It's a little hard to read here, but the stamp cancellation in the strip's masthead notes Willie Lumpkin's location as Glenville. The name actually was used repeatedly throughout the strip as well. What's interesting about that is that Glenville was the town later named by Lee as the hometown of Susan and Johnny Storm, half of the Fantastic Four team that Lumpkin would later serve. Though the age progression of Lumpkin himself would suggest that the strip occurs well before the two superheroes were born, it's possible that one could find likenesses in the strip that bear more than a passing resemblance to their parents, Franklin and Mary.

The strip lasted barely a year, most likely because it didn't stand out from other newspaper strips of the time. It's largely only notable now because the two creators went on to make big names for themselves in comic books and one of them reused some of the material in his more famous works.

I'll throw one more benign-yet-perennial Willie Lumpkin strip out there for you to digest...
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