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Real Name: "Hopper" Hertnecky (see comments)

Identity/Class: Human, citizen of the United States

Occupation: United States air mail pilot

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Woman/Sue Richards, Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards, Thing/Ben Grimm), Alicia Masters

Enemies: Mole Man's monsters

Known Relatives: None 

Aliases: Hopper

Base of Operations: Mobile,
                                  formerly the islands of Hawaii,
                                  formerly New York City, New York 

First Appearance: Secret Wars II#7 (January, 1986)

Powers/Abilities: Hopper Hertnecky possesses no known superhuman abilities. He is skilled, dutiful pilot who prides himself on getting the job done. Hertnecky is licensed to operate a variety of (sea)planes.

Height: Unrevealed (approximately 6'1")
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 160 lbs.)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Gray


(Fantastic Four I#296 (fb) - BTS) - Hertnecky and Ben Grimm grew up together in New York City and became lifelong friends. 

(Fantastic Four I#296 (fb) - BTS) - Both Ben and Hopper trained to be pilots.

(Fantastic Four I#296 (fb) - BTS) - Over time, Ben told Reed Richards of his childhood friend Hopper.

(Secret Wars II#7 (fb) - BTS) - Hertnecky made a living as a United States airmail pilot in Hawaii, flying his seaplane to deliver mail, packages and supplies to people living on the various islands on his route. At one point he reconnected with his old friend Ben Grimm who was filming a movie on a remote island. Hopper would often run errands for his friend like pick up some of his favorite beer.

(Secret Wars II#7) - Hopper arrived on Ben's island with the mail and some cases of Iron City beer. After shooting had wrapped for the day, Hopper joined the crew in a beer, but he inadvertently enraged Ben when he innocently mentioned his fight against the Beyonder. Still furious about the encounter, Grimm explained to Hertnecky what the Beyonder had done that made him want to kill him. He recounted the events of Battleworld and how him staying behind on the Beyonder's patchwork planet caused his girlfriend Alicia to start dating Johnny Storm. This left Ben so frustrated he wanted to murder him, only to find he was unable to which frustrated him so much it kept him up at night. Hopper responded with a heartfelt: "Whew, some story Ben!"

(Fantastic Four I#296 (fb) ) - When Ben Grimm grew so dejected with himself, his life and his place in society, he had a reluctant Hopper fly him to Monster Island so he could live there "with the other monsters".

(Fantastic Four I#296 - BTS) - On Ben's request, Hopper contacted the Fantastic Four in New York to inform them he had news about their former teammate. With Reed remembering Hertnecky from Ben's stories, he agreed to fly the FF out to Los Angeles to meet in person.

(Fantastic Four I#296) - Hopper met with the FF and Alicia Masters in a Los Angeles hotel room where he angrily explained why Ben Grimm had chosen to live on Monster Island. To add insult to injury, he asked if they ever stop and wondered how being turned into a Thing must have made him feel. Having said his piece, Hertnecky repeated Ben's wishes to be left alone. As he walked off, the FF prepared to go after Ben.

(Fantastic Four I#296 - BTS) - A very adamant Alicia Masters contacted Hopper and forced him to fly her to Monster Island as well. Once they arrived, they were quickly spotted and captured by the Moleman's forces who also disabled his plane. Hopper was left on the surface while Alicia was taken to Mole Man and his new assistant, Ben Grimm.

(Fantastic Four I#296) - After having fled the Mole Man's underground lair, the FF reconnected with Hertnecky and asked him to watch over the injured Alicia Masters while they went back in to get Ben out and stop the Mole's plan to conquer the world. As a result of their final confrontation, Monster Island began to crumble and collapse.

(Fantastic Four I#296 - BTS) - Hopper made sure Alicia was safe by getting her inside his plane's life raft.

(Fantastic Four I#296) - Following the sinking of Monster Island, Hopper steered the raft as best he could to pick up the other members of the Fantastic Four who had all survived the destruction of the Moleman's lair. Now back to his usual, boisterous self Ben immediately began bickering with Johnny. A bemused Hopper remarked that the FF was in dire need of a referee. The two heroes quickly made up even as Ben officially rejoined the FF, with Hopper wondering what they'd do now that they were stuck in the middle of the ocean. Ben wasn't worried: after what they've been through, this is like a vacation. 

Comments: Created by Jim Shooter, Al Milgrom, Steve Leialoha

So is 'Hopper' an actual first name or just a nickname? In his first appearance, Thing calls him "Hopper", which suggests it simply refers to the island hopping nature of his job as a US airmail pilot. In his second appearance, it's used as an actual first name, no quotation marks. Both issues were written by Jim Shooter (and scripted by Stan Lee), so it could go either way.. 

Fantastic Four I#296 retroactively established Hertnecky as one of Ben's oldest friends. They grew up together, but sadly Hopper has since never (re)appeared in any of the Thing's solo series or flashbacks to his youth. Maybe that's for the best, Hertnecky seemed rather old in 1986, if he's supposed to be the same age as Ben that might make him and the rest of the FF seem a little long in the tooth. If he is indeed a fixture of Ben's early years he should be familiar with It's possible he's familiar with the Yancy Street Gang and it stands to reason he might know other members of the Grimm family.

But if it ain't on the page...

Profile by Norvo.

Hopper Hertnecky should not be confused with:

Hopper's seaplane

Hopper used a four engine seaplane in his job as a postal worker in Hawaii. The plane could make quick and easy landings on water and was equipped to carry a considerable amount of cargo. Hopper later flew the plane to Monster Island where he dropped off his old friend Ben Grimm who had decided to leave humanity behind. A little later, he clandestinely flew Ben's former girlfriend Alicia Masters to the island so she could join the Fantastic Four in trying to reason with Ben. After arriving on Monster Island, the plane was disabled by Mole Man's forces. However, Hopper salvaged a life raft from the craft that he used to save himself, Alicia and the FF following the destruction of Monster Island.  

- Secret Wars II#7, Fantastic Four I#296

images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four I#296, p44, pan5 (mainimage)
Secret Wars II#7, p6, pans1&2 (delivers beer)
Fantastic Four I#296, p6, pan2 (close up)
Fantastic Four I#296, p39, pan1 (with FF on raft)
Secret Wars II#7, p5, pan5 (plane)

Secret Wars II#7 (January, 1986) - Jim Shooter (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Steve Leialoha (inks), Bob Budiansky (editor)
Fantastic Four I#296 (November, 1986) - Jim Shooter & Stan Lee (writers), John Buscema et al (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Mike Carlin (editor)

First Posted: 03/14/2022
Last updated: 03/16/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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