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Humanoid Experimental Robot B-Type Integrated Electronics (Earth-616) from All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 1 5 0001

When the Fantastic Four was made into an animated series in 1978, the character of the Human Torch was unable to be used, as at the time the character had been optioned separately for use in a solo movie (which never in fact materialized). A popular urban myth contends that the Torch was replaced due to fears that children might attempt to emulate him by setting themselves on fire, but this is not true.

Needing a fourth member to round out the team, Stan Lee pitched the idea for a cute robot sidekick, and artist Dave Cockrum was commissioned to design it. However, Cockrum disliked the character so much he was eventually replaced by Jack Kirby, who first designed and illustrated the Fantastic Four a decade previous. On the Fantastic Four cartoon, H.E.R.B.I.E. was voiced by Frank Welker. Shortly after the cartoon premiered, the little robot was introduced to the comics continuity by writer Marv Wolfman and artist John Byrne. As within the Marvel Universe the Fantastic Four have marketed their likenesses for a successful in-universe comic series, H.E.R.B.I.E.'s physical appearance was likewise explained as being based on the animated series based on that comic.

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