Richie Rich Gold & Silver 1, September 1975, Cover
© Harvey Comics
Penciller: Warren Kremer?
Considering the fact that comic books are often considered kids' stuff, the "funny kid" genre is surprisingly underrepresented on the Periodic Table of Comic Books. Richie Rich Gold & Silver 1 packs an elemental wallop with two of the coinage metals on one cover. These elements are best known for their monetary value rather than their chemical properties.
Richie Rich, the Poor Little Rich Boy, was one of Harvey Comics' most popular characters. He first appeared as a backup feature in Little Dot 1, September 1953. Typical of the Harvey kid characters, his shtick can be described in one phrase: Richie is very rich. Harvey Comics' founder Alfred Harvey, editor Sidney Jacobson and artist Warren Kremer all claim some credit for creating Richie Rich. Probably the basic idea was originated at the administrative level but was fleshed out by Kremer, whose son was also named Richie. Kremer is responsible for much of the "look" of Harvey Comics from the 1950s on. Harvey Hits 3 in November 1957 was the first all-Richie Rich comic book, and Harvey Hits 9 was a book of reprints called Richie Rich's Golden Deeds. Richie apparently didn't catch on as a lead feature at first, because it wasn't until November 1960 that Richie got his own title. He eventually became Harvey's biggest star, appearing in over fifty titles! According to Don Markstein's Toonopedia, Richie may have appeared in more individual American comic books than any other character, neck-in-neck with Archie. Richie
Rich Gold & Silver is typical of the titles appearing in the 1970s, having a successful 42-issue run. Numerous supporting characters were added to Richie's cast over the years: his parents, Richard and Regina Rich; their butler, Cadbury; his girlfriend, Gloria Glad; his buddies, Freckles and Pee-Wee Friendly; and his snobbish cousin and rival, Reggie Van Dough. One of the more obscure characters was the Riches' robot main, Irona, who is featured in a story in Richie Rich Gold & Silver 1. Richie also starred in four digest-sized comic books sold at supermarket checkout counters in the late 1970s.
Richie first appeared in an animated cartoon in November 1980, sharing a Saturday morning show initially with Scooby Doo, later with Pac-Man and the Little Rascals. Richie and the other Harvey
characters were not published in comic books from 1982 to 1986. His comic book reappeared from 1986 to 1994, and a live-action Richie Rich feature film, starring MacCauley Culkin, was released in 1994. Marvel
bought the comic book rights to all of the classic Harvey characters, including Richie Rich, in 1994, but apparently no comic books were ever published.
In June 2000, a group of investors that includes Eric
Ellenbogen, former CEO of Golden Books and Marvel Enterprises, Frank Biondi and Steve Tisch, acquired a majority stake in Harvey Comics. It's not clear what the future holds for the Poor Little Rich Boy.
Thanks to the marvelous Don Markstein's Toonopedia, and The Harveyville Fun Times for information about Richie Rich.