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Old Gags for New Kids: 'Friendly Ghost' Returns

March 08, 1987|NANCY MILLER | Associated Press

NEW YORK — Back from years in comic book limbo, the bad guys in "Richie Rich" still have German accents and the bunny rabbit in "Casper" still begins his sentences with "gosh."

Harvey Publications, publisher of these and other comic classics, have gone back to the presses after a four-year hiatus.

"We hope to regain our market position very soon," said Alice Harvey Eigner, president of Harvey Publications.

"Harvey created a void when it left the market," said Steve Geppi, owner of Geppi's Comic World, the largest U.S. comics distributor.

Harvey was always the steppingstone to other comics, he said. If readers don't discover comic books at a young age (between 6 and 10), they won't pick up the action comics as teen-agers, or become collectors.

When Harvey ceased publication in 1982 because of internal difficulties, it had a 10% share of the $120-million-a-year comic book market, Eigner said.

It re-entered that market in July, printing half a million books a month and issuing only three titles: "Casper the Friendly Ghost," "Richie Rich, the Poor Little Rich Boy" and "Hot Stuff, the Little Devil."

The company is bringing back other familiar titles as well. One is "Little Dot," created for an owner's young daughter who liked to draw pictures by connecting the dots.

The magazines, published in two sizes, cost 75 cents for the 32-page comics and $1.25 for the smaller-format, 96-page digest magazines, which are approximately the same size the Harvey brothers used for their pocketbook editions in 1940.

During World War II, the brothers contributed to the war effort with "War Victory Comics." Profits from the 300,000-circulation series went to the armed services.

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