Aug 16, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 538: Richie Rich Diamond$ #58, July 1982

When I was younger, and we had just moved to Canada, my only real experience of comics were the Star Wars and Doctor Who weeklies that my parents would get me occasionally. The Doctor Who comics came here with us (and will show up in the project eventually), but, sadly, the Star Wars ones are residing somewhere else now, hopefully being appreciated. So when we got here, my parents picked up for me the most ubiquitous kid's comics there were, Archie and Richie Rich.

I used to love the Richie Rich titles - they seemed to me to be fun and light-hearted, with just enough of an air of mystery and suspense to keep me re-reading every comic. The condition of today's comic is a testament to that. Richie's dedication to his friends and to being a decent young man always struck me as being a fairly nice way of portraying how one might be richer than just about everyone, and still be a good person.

These days, I see it as a bit more propagandistic. There's some real up with the 1% stuff going on here, though there's still that undercurrent of giving back. It would be easy to write this comic, and Richie Rich in general, off as purely capitalistic celebration, but I think it's a little more complex than that. I'll have to read a few more to get a real sense of it.

Though, speaking of propaganda, the in-house ads that riddle this issue are something else. Constant reminders of when new comics come out, of the television shows, even product placement of a sort when we see Caspar, the Friendly Ghost on televisions in the Richie Rich stories. It's not that there are necessarily more ads than in other companies' comics, but these ones are really in your face, yelling at the reader with giant speech bubbles not to forget to watch television or buy more comics.

And has anyone ever noticed that Richie Rich is basically Bruce Wayne as a child, pre-parental murder?


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