Part of the Countdown to Halloween. Click on that link to find lots of other great blogs.
This post was originally presented on the previous blog earlier in 2019. It is repeated as a Halloween tie in.
Eek! A ghost!
That’s right, Casper is back and so are all of his pagan friends.
I kid of course. Casper the Friendly Ghost along with Hot Stuff, Wendy, and all the ghosts are back in print from American Mythology Productions. A new issue was presented on this past Free Comic Book Day. I’m looking for title that can start the next generation of comic book readers.
Casper features three stories:
Blow Off Some Scream: written by Pat Shand, art by Eric Shanower, colored by Jeremy Kahn, lettered by Natalie Jane.
The Big Switcharoo: written by Mike Wolfer, art by Eric Shanower, colored by Jeremy Kahn, lettered by Natalie Jane.
The Man From Mars (originally in Casper the Friendly Ghost #9, 1953).
In the first story, Casper’s cousin Spooky (told you they’re all back) is upset his girlfriend Pearl has left him. Spooky wants to have a night out on the town like he did when he was single. This involves him dragging Casper into all sorts of trouble. We all have that friend. Casper realizes this isn’t the life for either of them, and brings Pearl back to Spooky thus reuniting the happy couple.
The Big Switcharoo features Casper’s buddy Hot Stuff, the little devil, attempting to talk Casper into some trouble. Casper needs better friends. Wendy the witch comes along on her way to getting her wand fixed. The wand acts up and all three switch bodies. At the same time Casper’s uncles the Ghostly Trio decide to mess with Casper and his friends. They don’t know about the body switch and thus are soundly defeated by assuming all is normal.
Finally, the Man from Mars is a cute story of a young animal boy being told he’s too small to play spaceman with the other kids. Casper tries to help the kid, who assumes the Friendly Ghost is an alien. Casper plays along and takes the kid to “space” which is various places around town that could look like other planets. When returning the young kid is now a hero and all of the kids want to play with him and Casper.
These stories are exactly what a comic for kids is meant to be. Three short stories 8 or less pages each. Silly, fun, enjoyable, and because of ghosts, witches, and a lil’ devil, with a touch of danger in it. That safe danger that kids love like Halloween or defying bedtime.
Upon first read the character of Spooky seems absurd. Tough guy wearing a derby hat and speaking with a Mobster era Brooklyn accent. Calling his girlfriend Poil for example. How would a kid in 2019 understand such a thing? The same way most of us understood Looney Tunes. The pop culture references, the caricatures in those cartoons meant something when they were new but by the time most of us saw them decades later on TV that knowledge was beyond us. But it didn’t matter at all. These were just funny characters in a great story. Same is true here for Casper.
I hope for the best from American Mythology and as my son continues to feel the lure of comics I’ll direct him towards not only Casper and the rest of the Harvey family now under this umbrella. I’ll also take him to other titles advertised within like Underdog, Laurel and Hardy, and Oggy and the Cockroaches. It’s tough to get any kid away from a screen and reading these days, but self contained stories putting the comic into comic book is a guaranteed way to increase literacy and fun.