While fully immersed in journalism research on the history of comic books — particularly the anti-Nazi attitudes of Superman, Wonder Woman and Captain America — I accidentally stumbled upon the most scrumptious premise for a superhero.
“Fruitman” is a chubby grocer (alterego: Percival Pineapple) who can transmogrify into any kind of fruit to more effectively combat crime. As a lemon, he can immobilize his enemy by squirting juice in his eye. As a watermelon, he can conk the guilty culprit on the head. And never underestimate the power of a strategically placed banana peel to make the mightiest villain slip and twist an ankle.
Even more delicious: the SuPEARhero’s insatiable appetite for goofy puns.
The character was the brainchild of Harvey Comics, the masterminds behind “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” “Richie Rich,” “Baby Huey,” and “Sad Sack.” He was usually a supporting actor in teen queen Bunny Ball‘s comic book, but did get one chance at his own issue (above), which must have gone splat.
Check out the courage of Fruitman as he thwarts a bank robbery:
And it looks like he’s also irresistible to the ladies, especially in produce form:
Perhaps it is no coincidence that “Fruitman” was published in the late 1960s, the hey day of the kitschy Batman series.
You can have your gloomy, brooding Caped Crusader. Serve us up some more Fruitman!