10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The Hopeful (And Long Overdue) Return Of Harvey Comics,
This review is from: Richie Rich: The Poor Little Rich Boy (Harvey Comics Classics, Vol. 2 ) (Paperback)Really, really enjoy this book.
To paraphrase the quote, I had as much fondness for Harvey Comics as I did my superhero titles. As a child, I got every bit as excited seeing a Harvey title as I did any of the Marvels or DCs. Their bright four-color covers were only a preview of the goodness waiting inside.
When I was a kid, it was an excellent time to be a comic fan. Not only those mentioned above, but also Archie, Dell/Gold Key (which was a treasure in and of itself, what with all of the Disney, Hanna-Barbera, TV tie-ins, etc., under the same umbrella!), Charlton, Atlas, have I listed them all? Whatever the case, it was nothing but good times.
Reading a Harvey comic was like having a ice cold lemonade on a sweltering hot day. You could always count on them to give you a great time and a fun read. Fun, light-hearted, whimsical adventures featuring the likes of Richie Rich, Casper The Friendly Ghost, Spooky The Tuff Little Ghost, Hot Stuff The Little Devil, Wendy The Good Little Witch, The Ghostly Trio, The Sad Sack, Stumbo The Giant, Little Dot, Little Lotta, Little Audrey, heck, a "little" bit of everything;).
Under lesser hands, these characters could easily have become one-dimensional, cloying and downright annoying. But Harvey apparently realized this and took their readership on flights of fancy, oftentimes giving us multi-part stories, putting Richie and Casper (sometimes together) in all kinds of precarious situations.
Richie, in particular, was often aided by the likes of his trusty butler Cadbury, his hardscrabble friends, brothers Freckles, a redhead (also referred to as Tommy in some stories - could possibly have been Freckles' "real" name. Also has been a brunette on occasion.) and the mute Pee-Wee, (who actually spoke one line in the story "Problem Child", the only time I know of that he actually talked), as well as his girlfriend Gloria, a rare girl who was often repulsed by Richie's wealth, liking him for who he was inside. A real jewel, if you ask me. Plus, Richie was often bedeviled by the occasional visits from his obnoxiously snooty cousin Reginald "Reggie" Van Dough, who was the complete antithesis of his cuter and infinitely more lovable cousin. Reggie loved nothing more than pulling pranks on Richie and his very tolerant friends, until his foolishness would ultimately backfire on him, giving the stories happy endings, momentarily humbling Reggie (until returning to prank Richie another day).
In spite of all his enormous wealth, Richie simply wanted to be a little boy who belonged, wanting simply to be "one of the guys", playing sandlot baseball, going fishing, inviting all of his friends to either his mansion, yacht, or on some sort of fabulous vacation, etc.. It is really nice seeing Richie treating Freckles and Pee-Wee as equals and not making fun of them because of their being poor.
Seeing this book in the comic shop was a welcome surprise for me. It was an impulse buy, in which I immediately snapped it up, not knowing about it in the first place (I knew about the Harvey Comics Classics Volume 1: Casper, which I plan on getting very soon). And it has been a fun read. And no, I didn't realize that it was mostly black and white until looking at it, but it didn't take long for me to adjust to that. Sure, it would have been nice to have had color, but that's a minor point. What matters is that for the money, you are getting 480 pages of classic comic goodness from a sadly bygone era which we don't see enough of these days.
Nowadays, I would be hard-pressed to recommend any comic for a child to read, since the market has pretty well grown up. There just aren't as many comics out there for kids, which is sad, since children were the once-intended target audience. It's no wonder kids, for the most part, don't read comics today.
Here's hoping that Dark Horse will rectify this and put out future volumes of these "little" treasures. They could go on forever reprinting them, since there are literally decades of these to reprint. These comics deserve tender loving care and need to be introduced to a new generation (as well as reintroducing those of us in the previous ones). Perhaps D.H. will go the Archie route and market digests of classic reprints to be sold in supermarkets and such. What better way to introduce them, since it obviously hasn't hurt Archie. Now this would be absolutely swell.
Are you listening, Dark Horse? In other words, KEEP IT UP!!!!
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 9, 2007 8:16:45 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 9, 2007 8:21:54 AM PST
Good review--I hadn't noticed this book before now. Not too long ago, me and a buddy of mine went to a comic/hobby shop in the mall, and while browsing, I saw a couple of Harvey Comics with recent dates. I must say that like you, I grew up reading Harvey Comics, and seeing those newer ones there on the shelf immediately brought back a flood of childhood memories. While I can't say whether or not they have all the charm and goodness as the ones we grew up with, I can say that it is encouraging to know Harvey is still publishing comics. This, as well as the aforementioned Harvey Comics Classics Volume 1: Casper are both on my "to get" list. I already have a sizable collection of Harvey Comics, and these will make fine additions.
Posted on Jun 10, 2008 2:59:23 AM PDT
Reginald D. Garrard says:
I read 'em all, too. Speaking of younger readership, during the course of my teaching career, I experienced the dwindling youth market. I would bring comics to class to encourage my relunctant readers to pick up the book; however, as the years progressed, the number that had an interest in reading comics got smaller and smaller.
'Guess these later generations await the big-budget movie version...and that's a shame because the comic book is such a cultural icon.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2008 12:48:00 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 30, 2009 4:51:56 AM PST
Couldn't agree more. It truly is sad that the popularity of comics seems to be on the wane these days--particularly given how many movies, cartoons, video games, etc are inspired and influenced by them. I grew up reading Harvey, Marvel, Disney, and DC mostly. But I can't say that I had a preference for super hero type comics over more fun, whimsical stuff. The whole Harvey gang ranked high among my favorites. Hot Stuff was always my favorite Harvey character (his book is on my wish list too) but all of them were great fun to read. Even today, I have a large box crammed full of Harvey comics alone. They are some of my favorite comics, and I still get them out and re-read them from time to time.
Posted on Sep 22, 2013 6:39:56 AM PDT
Excellent review! We didn't have the cash to buy many comics when I was a kid, but we used to get piles of these periodically from a neighbor and it was always like Christmas in summer as we lazed around going through them all, cover to cover. Comics nowadays cater almost solely to the grown up collector market, as that's where the money is. Kids were left in the cold a long time ago. The ubiquity of video certainly didn't help. We didn't have a library of movies to reach for back in the day.
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