Mike Trying to Teach the Youngins By Mike Wall

April 6, 2022 Articles

I got an email on Monday asking where my blog entry was. After some swearing, I realized I did not check the Google calendar. I started something about the speculator market and how it is affecting the market. Well that started to become very dark and cynical. Not what you usually look for when I do a blog post. Then my employee Gavin mentioned that I should do something on Richie Rich. He said that when I talk about those books I seem to cheer up. Well out of the mouths of babes, he had a good idea. This little entry will be about the humor books of Harvey Comics.

Most people that know me know that I did grow up with Archie comics yet the other group of humor books I read as a kid was the books from the Harvey comics group. They were the other kids comic. They had such titles as Richie Rich, Casper, Hot Stuff, and many others. I am going to get into each of the titles that I read as a youngster. I may miss some but that does not mean I do not know of them. I just may have not read them at the time. Just remember I’ve worked in a comic store for almost 40 years and I’ve picked some things up here and there.

The first character that always comes to mind for me when I think about Harvey comics is Richie Rich. I think it’s crazy he actually first appeared in 1953 yet did not get a title until 1960. He was basically a 1% rich kid. Yet he was always generous with his money to take care of his friends. The money puns were rife throughout the entirety of the many different titles he had. He was in 32 different titles so you can always get you Richie fix. His books went from wacky hijinks to actual action and adventure. There was a large cast of characters within all the different books so you can never get tired of the sidekicks he has. In the 80s there was an animated cartoon, so that reignited my love for the books. I can’t speak for the live action movie for I never saw it. His gadgets and inventions were always the things that interested me in his comics. If you read some of the earlier issues some of the gadgets were somewhat prophetic. My two employees that were processing a collection of Richie Rich issues did not like the money-based puns on the covers. I heard a lot of groaning but that is one of the things I love about the books.

The other major character that was huge with Harvey and me is Casper the Friendly Ghost. Casper has been around since the 40s. Harvey did not publish comics for him until 1953. The book is basically about a ghost child. How he died I never really found out. I still think that he is the ghost of Richie Rich. Although I have no concrete evidence. I was exposed to Casper a lot more than Richie because he had animated movies and TV shows. I can’t really tell you what the stories were about but I just remember that they were fun to read. All Casper wanted to do was help people but they were always afraid of him because he was a ghost. He also had quite the spectral cast of characters. There is the Ghostly Trio who are cousins of Casper and are just mean to him. There is Spooky who like the Trio like to scare humans he is not mean to Casper and sometimes has his moments of goodwill. Casper also has a plethora of human friends as well. The one that shows up the most is Wendy the Good Little Witch who like Casper does the direct opposite of their counterparts. Since Casper has been around the longest his books has introduced most of the Harvey humor lineup. Like Richie, he has numerous tiles to his name.

Lastly, there is Hot Stuff the Little Devil. He is a child-like devil that to irritate his fellow devils performs good deeds. He was mischievous yet not malevolent. He did have his own books but was a guest star in everyone else’s books. Like I said with Casper, I don’t remember the stories per se but I do remember enjoying them.

There were a ton of other characters that either had a title or two or were back ups in the major characters. There were a bunch of female characters like Little Dot (who really loved polka dots), Little Audrey (who seemed like a Little Lulu rip off), and Little Lotta (who had a giant appetite and superhuman strength). There were also wacky animals like Herman and Catnip who were the typical cat and mouse hijinks. There is also Baby Huey who is an ab normally large baby duck with great strength. There so many others for they used them as backups for the myriad of books for their major characters.

The nice thing about the Harvey humor books was that they had a lot more animated movies or shows to back up their print books. That is probably why I remember these books more fondly than any other kids book. Plus, I was not the biggest Disney fan which was another large part of kids comics when I was young. Thank you for reading my meanderings.

Dedicated to Sam.