KC’S BOOKSHELF: CASPER THE friendly GHOST 60TH anniversary special

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Casper the friendly Ghost

by KC Carlson

To celebrate as well as honor the 60th anniversary of the publication of the very first Casper the friendly Ghost comic book, Dark equine Comics provides a exceptional bit slice of comic history for the youngster in us all.

The hardcover Casper the friendly Ghost 60th anniversary special reprints two very first issues: the total (including advertisements) St. John Casper, the friendly Ghost #1 from 1949 as well as Harvey Comics Hits #61, from 1952, which is likewise understood as Casper the friendly Ghost #6, which likewise occurs to be the very first full-length problem of Casper published by Harvey Comics. as well as if you believe that’s confusing… well, here’s a bit mini-history about Casper.

The origin of Casper

Casper’s actual origins lie not in comic books, however in the world of animation, as well as even then, the character was very first conceived for an illustrated children’s book. The idea of a “friendly ghost” was originally dreamed up in 1940 by a Fleischer Studios animation worker named Seymour “Sy” Reit. He was at first an inker as well as inbetweener for the studio before ending up being a gag writer for Fleischer’s Betty Boop as well as Popeye cartoons. Reit came up with a script for a prospective children’s book as well as dealt with fellow Fleischer animator Joe Oriolo to show the story. Unfortunately, both were drafted into world war II before the job was completed.

When they returned from the War, they found that their animation tasks were gone. Paramount Studios (who were distributing the Fleischer cartoons) had taken over the animation operation, moved it from Florida back to new York City, as well as renamed the business popular Studios. popular had considering that began a new series of cartoons, Noveltoons, an anthology-type series featuring one-shot or recurring characters. In 1944, Reit as well as Oriolo offered their “friendly ghost” idea (as well as all future rights) to popular for $200.

On November 15, 1945, The friendly Ghost, the very first Casper animation (although he wasn’t yet called Casper), debuted in theaters. two a lot more Noveltoons staring the friendly ghost were created before finally, in 1950, Casper was awarded his own animated series. A overall of 55 Casper theatrical cartoons were created up until the series ended in 1959. The cartoons were shown on TV, beginning in the late 1950s, to excellent success, as well as in 1963, new Casper (and other Harvey characters) cartoons were produced the TV show The new Casper animation Show.

Sy Reit composed gags for lots of of the new Casper cartoons, in addition to composing for bit Lulu as well as Archie comic books as well as mad Magazine. He likewise composed over 80 books, lots of of them children’s books, before his death in 2001. Joe Oriolo stayed in animation, ultimately working on both Felix the feline cartoons as well as comic books. By 1971, he had the rights to the character as well as continued to market Felix toys as well as products up until his death in 1985.

Casper the friendly Comic Book

Casper went into the world of comic books in 1949, when St. John publications obtained the rights to publish comics based on the Paramount/Famous friendly ghost. in spite of the truth that three cartoons had been created by this time, the character had yet to be provided his unique name, as well as therefore this very first St. John problem was likewise the very first public appearance of the Casper name! other Paramount/Famous characters infant Huey as well as Herman (of the feline & mouse team of Herman as well as Katnip) likewise make their comic book debuts in this very first issue.

Not surprisingly, these very first Casper comic book stories mirror the fundamental premise of the cartoons quite carefully – Casper wants nothing a lot more than to be good friends with everybody he meets, however since he is a ghost, a lot of everybody runs from him in fear, leaving him unfortunate as well as forlorn. What’s a bit a lot more unusual is that this is sufficient to depress the bad bit person sufficient to want to dedicate suicide! In this very first issue, he attempts to throw himself off a high cliff to his death, as well as in problem #6, we see the bizarre sight of Casper tying himself to a heavy boulder as well as then throwing it into the ocean! Of program – considering that he’s already a ghost – neither of these events have their meant result. however still, this is a bizarre sight to see in a kid’s comic book!

St. John only published five problems of Casper between 1949 as well as 1951. There’s truly not much to state about them, as the artwork is quite generic as well as the composing is of that not-quite-English high quality that so lots of of the golden Age comics of the time display. maybe since of this, Harvey Comics was awarded the permit from Paramount/Famous to create comic books of their characters beginning in 1952, as well as new Casper comic book stories started appearing soon thereafter.

Casper’s Harvey Home

Most people today strongly partner Casper with Harvey Comics, however Harvey was in the comics service long before the character ever graced their pages. Harvey Comics began in 1942, as well as they were mostly understood for publishing licensed characters from other media, including Blondie, Dick Tracy, Joe Palooka, the eco-friendly Hornet, as well as unfortunate Sack. However, Harvey likewise published rather a few of the notorious horror as well as criminal offense comics of the 1940s that triggered a stir.

The comics market was in general disarray in the wake of Fredric Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent, which declared (among other things) that such comics were a major cause of juvenile delinquency. This eventually cause the now-infamous Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency as well as their subsequent investigations into the so-called “lurid” industry. As a result, criminal offense as well as horror comics vanished from the shelves essentially overnight.

Many comics publishers (most famously, EC Comics) either stopped publication or radically altered their publishing lineups. Harvey Comics was one that selected the latter program of action, as well as the purchase of an immediate kid-friendly line featuring Casper as well as his good friends most likely saved the business from extinction. however Casper wasn’t promptly awarded his own comic at Harvey – he had to work his method up!

Harvey Comics Hits #61

Casper’s very first Harvey appearance was as a back-up function in bit Audrey #25, cover-dated August 1952. Next, he made one more back-up appearance in Paramount Animated Comics #1 [better understood as Harvey Comics Hits #60 (Sept. ‘52)] with fellow animation favorites infant Huey, Buzzy the Crow, as well as the cover-featured Herman as well as Catnip. Yes, Casper wasn’t even cover-featured here! Finally, in the complying with problem of Harvey Comic Hits (#61, Oct. ‘52), Casper appeared in his sixth total comic book, as well as his very first at Harvey Comics. That’s the other problem reprinted in this 60th anniversary Special.

The very first Harvey Casper

As well as the previously mentioned second suicide attempt, in the Harvey issue, Casper befriends a lonely infant octopus (who is so awful that nobody will play with him) as well as proceeds to lock them both in an underwater safe. The comic then plays quick as well as loose with the legislations of physics. (For example, Casper can getaway from the risk-free since he’s a ghost, however he can’t open the risk-free since he doesn’t understand the combination, however he can reach his hand into the lock to open it from inside. Umm, precisely how?) This is really a truly wonderful bit story that parents today would be horrified to see since of that kids-locking-themselves-inside-a-refrigerator fear that all parents have.

In the second story, Casper goes to ghost school. (They’re called boopils – get it?) all of his classmates are making things to frighten people with, while Casper composes an essay called “How to Make Friends”. In one more story, Casper’s the only one who can discover a lost infant (piglet, as it turns out – there are no humans in the early Harvey Casper stories) by utilizing his feet like helicopter blades to hover in the sky, an unusual accomplishment that we don’t see as well often. Finally, two bank robbers (weasels, by their looks) choose to utilize Casper’s home as a hideout. Of course, he scares them away, however their cars and truck is stuck in the mud so they can’t flee, so they go back to the house. Casper ultimately realizes that they’re robbers, so while he’s calling the authorities on the phone, one of the robbers puts his gun as much as Casper’s temple – as well as fires two bullets ideal with his head! Yikes! I understand he’s a ghost, however golly!!

There are other bizarre moments as well, as when Casper inadvertently interrupts a couple (of bears) behind a beach umbrella – as well as it’s extremely evident that the bears have been canoodling in personal before they are interrupted. We likewise see a fleeting look of Casper’s mother, a woman ghost. This rarely ever occurred again, as well as subsequent concerns about Casper’s actual origins or parentage were never responded to in the comic books. Finally, we discover in a fact-file-type function that Casper sometimes lives behind old tombstones – as well as we see the oddly smiling deal with of Casper from behind a crumbling severe marker. extremely eerie… as well as odd.

My preferred parts of the book were the old advertisements, which the indicia reminds us “no longer offer any type of viable products or services.” Thus, I am bummed that I can no longer buy “The Chevalier”, the miracle health and wellness advocate Belt that lifts as well as flattens your bulging “bay window!” since I truly envy guy who can “keep on their feet!” You can wear it to work, evenings, even while bowling! Plus, it includes not one, however two air-cooled, scientifically created detachable pouches. If you don’t like your “Chevalier”, you can return it during this complimentary trial Offer. Please keep in mind that this advertisement for a man’s girdle is appearing in a comic book (and one starring a friendly ghost)! who did they believe was reading this ad?

Plus, there’s a comic strip ad featuring then-popular youngster star Margaret O’Brian. At very first glance, I believed was one of those ubiquitous Hostess Fruit Pie ads. close – it’s for Margaret O’Brien’s candy Kitchen, where you can make your own lollipops as well as candy apples!

Casper’s history at Harvey

Harvey was to be a much much better house for Casper as well as his good friends than St. John was. very first off, they promptly got gain access to to one of the extremely best, as well as a lot of recognizable, artists of the age in Warren Kremer. He ended up being art director of the entire line as well as was especially accountable for its look in his hands-on involvement with essentially every cover. The Harvey covers are lovely in their simplicity. a lot of function a simple, direct gag or famous pose, normally provided with either very little or no background aspects at all. since of this simplicity, the Harvey covers actually leapt off the stands, as well as a lot of people who had these comics as youngsters can still recall the covers with extraordinary clarity. Besides his cover work, Kremer likewise drew an extraordinary number of Casper (and Richie Rich) stories. He is quickly one of the most prolific artists in the history of comics.

Casper, the friendly Ghost #7

Another creative aspect that added to the freshness of Harvey’s line was the truth that a big number of artists that serviced the cartoons moved over to draw the exact same characters in the comic books, particularly after Paramount closed their animation studio in the 1950s. (A number of the animation writers made the step as well.) just a few of the artists that serviced the early Casper stories include expense Hudson, Steve Muffatti, Marty Taras, Tom Golden, as well as Dave Tendlar.

The people at Harvey (most notably editor Sid Jacobson) realized early on that the “Casper wanting to be friends” schtick was extremely limited. The comic book stories pertained to be set in an “Enchanted Forest” setting, with new characters for Casper to have adventures with, including Spooky, Wendy, the Ghostly Trio, headache (the horse), as well as Stumbo the Giant. after this premise was well established, a lot of of the early pre-Enchanted forest stories were rarely reprinted (making lots of of the recent Harvey book collections a genuine treat).

The complying with problem of Casper he might lastly phone call his own, as problem #7 of Casper, the friendly Ghost would be the beginning of a extremely long as well as successful run at Harvey Comics, essentially unstoppable up until 1994. All while ending up being the flagship character for the business in addition to the world’s a lot of recognizable (and friendly!) ghost!

Harvey Comics Classics

Casper the friendly Ghost 60th anniversary special is a must-have for any type of severe comics collector or kid’s comics fan. This affordably priced hardcover is a stunning presentation of Casper’s very first two crucial comic appearances – as well as will likewise save you countless dollars as well as the hassle of trying to find the originals. The amazing style as well as production work is when once again by the skilled Leslie Cabarga, who was likewise accountable for the lovely work in the five-volume Harvey Comics classics series – likewise published by Dark equine as well as likewise extremely recommended. The very first volume in that series is a Casper collection as well as features over 100 early Casper stories.

While researching this, I was extremely appreciative of the work of Jerry Beck (who composed the introduction to the Harvey Comics classics Casper volume) as well as mark Arnold (The Harveyville fun Times) in comprehending the sometimes-confusing history of animation as well as Harvey Comics.

KC Carlson has been working in, around, as well as adjacent to comic books considering that the 1970s, a lot of notably for DC Comics as an editor (including Collected Books) in the 90s. KC’s Bookshelf is an continuous attempt to catalog the excellent comic book collections as well as history books that must be on your bookshelf.

The covers to Harvey Comics Hits #61 as well as Casper, the friendly Ghost #7 come from the Grand Comic-Book Database.


Casper the friendly Ghost 60th anniversary Special

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