whoever m. knapp is

I got M. Knapp's old Mutt & Jeff comic for 2 bucks in Bennington Vermont a couple of weeks ago. Just a curiosity really - I'm not a big Mutt & Jeff fan. Two middle-aged low class geezers always trying to get anonymous "prop" pretty girls to kiss them, or trick each other into whitewashing a fence? My initial reaction as I started reading this thing was "How does this fit into the Harvey Universe"?

Then I read the Richie Rich guest star piece and remembered the kind of twisted messages Harvey comics could send to the Youth of America. Money worship, defeating bullies by being a bigger bully, fat jokes - what a gutter!

But what's even more creepy about this particular R Rich story is the art. What's up with the slightly reduced adult men in Richie's class? Their more-or-less normal proportions make Richie's head look grossly hydrocephalic. Why is Hogan scared of a sissy rich boy? And whose idea was it to put those little bow ties on Richie's SOCKS?

Wait, I'm getting off track. The crazy story and the little sock bowties are all just normal Richie Rich ickiness. The main thing I wanted to show you was the slightly-reduced adult classmate.


Jed said...

In Ritchie Rich comics they always had these one-pagers where Reggie would be boasting about some really ostentatious doodad, gadget, vehicle or piece of architecture that he owned, and Ritchie would "win" by explaining that he had an object in a similar vein that was even more enormous and ostentatious.

The main novelty of Ritchie Rich comics was the "reveal" that would show that Ritchie owned something even more rediculously huge or pointlessly made of solid gold or diamonds than the last time.

Somehow his good-natured gee-whizness made up for the fact that he was a major asshole with no social conscience.

And I never understood why Ritchie was the "Poor" Little Rich Boy. I mean, what's up with THAT?

And there were often these strangely proportioned children with freckles, sneers and bags under their eyes, sometimes wearing ill-fitting baggy clothes. Without the sneer they just looked pathetic, and Ritchie would take pity on them. The sneer apparently indicated that they were jerks, and you had free reign to despise them. And there were always a lot of jerks to despise.

We had a lot of Ritchie Rich comics when I was a kid, but I usually found the reading experience unsatisfying and the world that Harvey Comics portrayed dirty in some unidentifiable way. Ritchie Rich was this cypher in a world where everyone was beneath him, and the comics that didn't have a Ritchie-like protagonist were completely unbearable, like Little Lotta or Baby Huey.

Dan Clowes once did this awesome Ritchie Rich parody which pretty much summed it all up for me, though I forget what it was called.

I do dig the superhero comics that Joe Simon created for Harvey, though. I remember a friend of mine had the Piranna (Simon's spelling) comic and how off-putting and wrong it was. But stuff like Jigsaw and Bee-Man are so bent I can't see how you could come up with anything comparable on purpose. The more Joe Simon tried to appeal to popular trends and tastes, the weirder he got: Brother Power The Geek, Prez, and Weird Sports Tales case in point.

Um, sorry about writing so much.

Blake said...

That page you scanned is quite funny. I never saw any of Ritchie Rich except for the live action movie from the 90's (which I happened to like)

bob said...

Yeah, those old Harvey comics are weird, though seldom in the best way. Dark Horse reprinted some fat volumes of them recently, and I've been reading the HOT STUFF book, which has some decent art, but underwhelming stories. Except when Hot Stuff meets Hitler.

eeTeeD said...

ernie colon was the artist on that richie rich sttory. the adult-looking classmate was probably a caricature of a friend or co-worker.

Mark Martin said...

I thought that looked like Ernie Colon's stuff. He sure made a crummy decision caricaturing his friends as kids if that's what he was doing. Even if that WAS what he was doing, couldn't he have drawn them more AS KIDS and still had his inside-joke fun?

i just noticed something else - the mega-wide loading dock meat locker doors at that school!

Jed said...

How can you tell it's Ernie Colan? To me it just looks like the same homogenized Harvey house style.

Mark Martin said...

There's a certain character to Colon's drawing and inking. I thought it might be him, that's all I'm saying. Could be. Looks like it's possible to me. I'm inclined to think eeTeeD probably knows what he's talking about since he's obsessed with this stuff.

It's the bizarro adult/kids that look most like Colon art. Shapes, folds in cloth...

I'll post some more tomorrow.

HemlockMan said...

I mentioned this on another board recently, but I'll do so again. One of the creepiest things I ever saw was an Ernie Colon illustrated Harvey comic. I'm pretty sure it was in a LITTLE DOT story, but he drew her father with things like triceps. It just seemed damned weird to have something like anatomically correct musculature on what was supposed to be a bigfoot character.

Mutt & Jeff was a leftover from the great days of newspaper comic strips. For some reason it lingered as a Harvey Comic long after the public had largely stopped paying attention to the newspaper version.

Butch Hogan probably realized that Richie's dad could have his working class corpse disappeared with a phone call.

eeTeeD said...