Monday, October 22, 2007

A Treasure Vault of Fun

Harvey Comics Classics volume 2 featuring Richie Rich came out a couple weeks ago. Like volume 1 which featured Casper the Friendly Ghost, this collection from Dark Horse Comics was a joy to read. Again, the book samples with some color pages as well as a lot of black & white stories. This time, the book is split between the early Richie strips where he was a supporting feature in Little Dot's comics and then when he later graduated into his own titles in the early 60's.

The stories seem to keep pretty fresh with a lot of variety on the theme of this millionaire's son trying to use his money to help others. The book also has debuts of a lot of his supporting cast like Reggie (his snobby rich cousin), Freckles and Pee Wee (his poor friends), Gloria (his girlfriend), Cadbury (his faithful butler), and Dollar (his dalmation dog).

These stories take me back to 1970 when I was first getting into reading and comic books. As I have mentioned before, the Harvey staple of titles was a big part of my collecting then. At the time, Richie was starring in dozens of titles a month - so there was always plenty of his books to pick up.

What I learned with getting this collection was that Gene Colan, a staple of super-hero books from both Marvel and DC, also did a lot of Richie work as well. I find it very interesting to see his artistic abilities adapted to this sort of comic. To me, Gene is always synonymous with books like Tomb of Dracula, Dr. Strange and Night Force. So, this was a pleasant sort of surprise.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who started out on these kinds of comics in the 60's and 70's. Even for that feeling of nostalgia, that feeling of sitting on the grass under a tree when you were five or so and just getting into reading for yourself. That's what these collections do for me.

Oh, and hey, volume 3 of the set is slated for February - featuring that devilish Hot Stuff! Yeah, baby.

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