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Harvey Comics Classics, Vol. 1: Casper

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It's amazing how many comics fans who grew up admiring Spider-Man, Batman and Nick Fury still retain warm places in our hearts for Casper the Friendly Ghost. Now Dark Horse is delighted to participate in the revival of Casper who remains among the most beloved of cartoon and comic book icons. Casper the Friendly Ghost made his first appearance as a star of Paramount's Famo It's amazing how many comics fans who grew up admiring Spider-Man, Batman and Nick Fury still retain warm places in our hearts for Casper the Friendly Ghost. Now Dark Horse is delighted to participate in the revival of Casper who remains among the most beloved of cartoon and comic book icons. Casper the Friendly Ghost made his first appearance as a star of Paramount's Famous Cartoons in 1947 and entered the comics in 1949. But after five issues, publisher St. John's gave up the title. That's when Harvey Comics stepped in, and where this book begins. Harvey breathed life into Casper, and from the very first issue, the cover designs, stories and artwork - drawn by the same animators who worked on the cartoons - were a cut above.


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It's amazing how many comics fans who grew up admiring Spider-Man, Batman and Nick Fury still retain warm places in our hearts for Casper the Friendly Ghost. Now Dark Horse is delighted to participate in the revival of Casper who remains among the most beloved of cartoon and comic book icons. Casper the Friendly Ghost made his first appearance as a star of Paramount's Famo It's amazing how many comics fans who grew up admiring Spider-Man, Batman and Nick Fury still retain warm places in our hearts for Casper the Friendly Ghost. Now Dark Horse is delighted to participate in the revival of Casper who remains among the most beloved of cartoon and comic book icons. Casper the Friendly Ghost made his first appearance as a star of Paramount's Famous Cartoons in 1947 and entered the comics in 1949. But after five issues, publisher St. John's gave up the title. That's when Harvey Comics stepped in, and where this book begins. Harvey breathed life into Casper, and from the very first issue, the cover designs, stories and artwork - drawn by the same animators who worked on the cartoons - were a cut above.

30 review for Harvey Comics Classics, Vol. 1: Casper

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hal Johnson

    Unlike some of the other children's comics that are currently being reprinted--notably Carl Barks's Duck stories and John Stanley and Irving Trip's Little Lulu--the Casper comics are not good in any traditional sense. They are perfectly serviceable children's stories, but there's no reason for a grown-up to read them. Comparing Lulu to Casper is like comparing Edward Lear to Stan and Jan Berenstain. This is not to denigrate Casper's quality as a children's comic. The stories are fast-moving and f Unlike some of the other children's comics that are currently being reprinted--notably Carl Barks's Duck stories and John Stanley and Irving Trip's Little Lulu--the Casper comics are not good in any traditional sense. They are perfectly serviceable children's stories, but there's no reason for a grown-up to read them. Comparing Lulu to Casper is like comparing Edward Lear to Stan and Jan Berenstain. This is not to denigrate Casper's quality as a children's comic. The stories are fast-moving and fun, and further--what makes the series stand out--Casper consistently presents kindness as a subversive act. With authority figures and indeed all of ghost society pressuring Casper to be "bad" (a concept pretty much limited to scaring people and kind of being a general jerk), Casper stands alone like an existentialist hero and rebelliously does what he thinks is right. What he thinks is right is behaving in a saccharine and cloying fashion, singing, at one point, this paean to insipidness: How sweet the violets smell, How nice the birdies sing, How good to be under nature's spell, How nice is everything. Isn't it pretty to think so? So Casper's rebellion is somewhat sickening, but small matter. For his infernal niceness he is made an outcast from ghost society, which nevertheless keeps him around to abuse and exploit. This is heady stuff for a child! Some years later Archie's Sabrina would mine the same territory, but there it was a fairly explicit attempt by publishers to redirect teen rebellion towards bourgeois norms. Casper's kindness remains (to preserve the existential reading) absurd, and is always tinged with sadness, especially in the earlier stories, before word got around to the forest creatures that Casper was a friendly ghost, when Casper is literally friendless and often weeping. But none of this actually makes the Casper stories good. Yet there is one reason why an intelligent adult might want to pick up this collection. Simply put, Casper featured some of the best art ever to grace a comics page. Howie Post has a loopy, enegetic style he deserves to be celebrated for, but the true hero here is Warren Kremer. At a certain point in the 1950s, Kremer brought the cartoony style to a kind of apotheosis, where every line is both in and of itself an esthetic object and also a building block of an exquisitely composed and rendered drawing. The three-part story from The Friendly Ghost Casper #11 (reprinted in this volume) is one of the best-drawn stories I've ever seen. The plot is essentially a watered-down rehash of "Duck Amuck," as a mischievous penciller messes with Casper's world, but the cartoonist's complex facial expressions, the expressive poses of Casper in flight, and the varied line weight between the cartoonist's "real" world and the world of the comics page he is drawing make this a story worth savoring regardless. Usually the claim that black and white reproductions of color comics serve to showcase the artwork look like feeble excuses to justify a cheap printing decision, but for once the claim is true; I would hate to see the linework in this story obscured by color. Kremer is here at the height of his powers. Or at least I assume it's Kremer. One of the weaknesses of Dark Horse's collection is that it fails to give any credits on any stories. While I understand that Harvey's archives probably lack credits, surely someone could have been found to identify the artists at least. Does Harvey's most famous artist, Ernie Colon, appear in this volume? I didn't spot his style, but I'm no expert, and can only say maybe. This is one of the few defects in the book (the other main one being that twice it has pages reversed), which is otherwise pretty much all anyone can want. It features an informative if workmanlike introductory essay, a generous color section, over 400 pages of stories culled from twenty-five years, and a beautifully-designed cover to boot (and it's a rare day that I single out for praise book design not by Seth or Chris Ware). Fans of the familiar art style of "heroic realism" won't find much to their liking, here, but anyone whose art tastes are more catholic may make one of the great esthetic discoveries of his life, and on these grounds alone I cannot recommend the book too highly. Also, if you're six years old, get someone to buy you a copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    This focuses more on the earlier Casper comics with their crude art and repetitive plots than I'd have liked, but is still a great look back at Casper, long before the movie that tried to give him a backstory or the 'it was all a dream' Richie Rich crossovers. There's a healthy serving of stories about Spooky, the tough little ghost as well. I'd really like to see a full-scale archival re-issue of all the Casper comics, at least from the 60s on. This focuses more on the earlier Casper comics with their crude art and repetitive plots than I'd have liked, but is still a great look back at Casper, long before the movie that tried to give him a backstory or the 'it was all a dream' Richie Rich crossovers. There's a healthy serving of stories about Spooky, the tough little ghost as well. I'd really like to see a full-scale archival re-issue of all the Casper comics, at least from the 60s on.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Ok ok ok ok. I read through the first 100 pages or so, but GOLLY, is this comic repetitive. Good thing kids like repetition. Fun stroll down memory lane, though, and amusing...for better or worse, which is why I'm bumping it up to 3 stars. Casper's a sweet guy, just wants to make friends, and I liked all the classic "AIEEEE!" moments of other characters getting spooked by our little friendly ghost. Then there were at least two comics where he tried to kill himself because he couldn't make friend Ok ok ok ok. I read through the first 100 pages or so, but GOLLY, is this comic repetitive. Good thing kids like repetition. Fun stroll down memory lane, though, and amusing...for better or worse, which is why I'm bumping it up to 3 stars. Casper's a sweet guy, just wants to make friends, and I liked all the classic "AIEEEE!" moments of other characters getting spooked by our little friendly ghost. Then there were at least two comics where he tried to kill himself because he couldn't make friends. And the one with a Mexican bullfight that mixed Spanish words with a French accent. And an "Eskimo" scene with a totem pole (I'm pretty sure totem poles don't figure into Native cultures that far north?). And all the problems inherent with all that. Ah, the '50s. ******** Counting as my Golden Age comic (the text specifies that the comics in Part I fall under the Golden Age category) for the Panels Read Harder challenge.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Casper the Friendly Ghost started out as a supporting feature in Little Audrey comics, got his own comic book and then became a hit television cartoon show. This terrific compilation of 100 comic book stories spans the history of Casper from the late Forties to the mid-Sixties. It includes the first stories featuring Nightmare the Ghost Horse, Spooky, and Wendy the Good Little Witch. Most of the reproductions are in black and white with a few in color (wish it was all in color!). Overall, conside Casper the Friendly Ghost started out as a supporting feature in Little Audrey comics, got his own comic book and then became a hit television cartoon show. This terrific compilation of 100 comic book stories spans the history of Casper from the late Forties to the mid-Sixties. It includes the first stories featuring Nightmare the Ghost Horse, Spooky, and Wendy the Good Little Witch. Most of the reproductions are in black and white with a few in color (wish it was all in color!). Overall, considering the age of the original comics, the printing is very well done and the artwork is excellent. I love the stories and I think kids will love them, too. Thanks, Dark Horse!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Part One: Casper the Friendly Ghost (comics owned by Paramount Pictures) "Casper the Friendly Ghost", Little Audrey #25: Casper's first appearance. He saves a young raccoon from getting skinned and turned into a coonskin cap. "The Unhaunted House", Casper the Friendly Ghost #7: Casper rescues an old lady from theiving ex-servants. "Haunted Housework", CtFG #1: First Casper the Friendly Ghost series comic book. Casper saves the ghosts' home when he tries to befriend the new owners. "School Daze", CtF Part One: Casper the Friendly Ghost (comics owned by Paramount Pictures) "Casper the Friendly Ghost", Little Audrey #25: Casper's first appearance. He saves a young raccoon from getting skinned and turned into a coonskin cap. "The Unhaunted House", Casper the Friendly Ghost #7: Casper rescues an old lady from theiving ex-servants. "Haunted Housework", CtFG #1: First Casper the Friendly Ghost series comic book. Casper saves the ghosts' home when he tries to befriend the new owners. "School Daze", CtFG #6: Casper's mother is introduced. He goes to the beach and befriends a young octopus. "School Daze", CtFG #6: After getting expelled from ghost school for writing an essay on how to make friends, he accidentally saves the huanted school from a wrecking crew. "Search Party", CtFG #6: Casper rescues a lost boy in the woods from a vicious bear. "Spooks & Crooks", CtFG #6: Casper captures bank robbers. untitled short, Little Audrey #26: Casper finds treasure and save a boy and his mother from getting evicted from their castle. "Ride'em Casper", CtFG #7: Casper goes to a carnival and saves 2 kids from falling off the ferris wheel. untitled short, CtFG # 8: Casper saves a groundhog's home from being destroyed. "The Big Bullfight", Little Audrey #27: Casper saves his friend during a bullfight. "Watch the Birdie", CtFG #8: Casper helps a photographer his shots for the local newspaper. "The Winner", CtFG #8: Casper bets $5 on a horserace to raise money for an orphanage. "Scare Raid", Little Audrey #28: During a ghostly raid, Casper saves a baby from a fire and becomes a hero. "Friendship School", CtFG #9: Casper befriends a blind professor who teaches freindship. "The Boo Scout", CtFG #9: Casper saves a scout troop from a bear. "The Man from Mars, CtFG #9: Casper pretends to be from Mars so he can play with new friends. "Scare Raid", CtFG #10: Casper outsmarts the Fright Mob and prevents them from ruining the orphans' party. "Boobeard the Pirate", CtFG #10: Casper rescues a castaway from pirates. "City Snicker", CtFG #10: Spooky makes his first appearance when he visits his cousin, Casper, in the country and gets a taste of his own scare tactics. "Trick or Treat", Little Audrey #33: Casper pretends to be in costume at a Halloween party and meets a friendly girl ghost named Lou. "Lost & Foundling", CtFG #11: Casper helps out at a foundling home. "Dutch Treat", CtFG #12: Casper saves a town in Holland from flooding. "Spooks at School", CtFG #13: Casper, Lou and Spooky attend a real school. "Little Boo Peep", CtFG #14: Casper rescues Bo Peep's sheep from the Big Bad Wolf. "Treasure Haunt", Little Audrey #34: Casper plays pirates and rescues his new friends from the belly of a whale. "Going to the Dogs", CtFG #15: Casper rescues a puppy from the dog catcher. "Heaven Scent", CtFG #15: Casper befriends a skunk and rescues the skunk's pals from the Big Bad Wolf. "The Spirit of '54", CtFG #17: Casper pretends to be Santa for a poor little boy. "Boo Year", CtFG #17: After scaring a town on New Year's Eve, Spooky has a nightmare and resolve to not scare again (at least for a few days) "Mother Ghost", CtFG #18: Casper tells his version of the woman who lived in a shoe. "Horse Laughs", CtFG #19: Casper meets and befriends Nightmare, a ghost pony. "The Ghosts Go West", CtFG #19: Casper and Nightmare visit a ghost town. untitled, CtFG #11: Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost fixes his derby hat. "The Big Fright", CtFG #20: Casper prevents a war between witches and ghosts. "The Poor Little Witch Girl", CtFG #20: Now that witches and ghosts are friends, they're driving Casper crazy with their partying and he leaves the house. He meets Wendy, a little witch, and helps her fix dinner for the witches. untitled, CtFG #23: Spooky replaces his old derby. "The Pen Pals", CtFG #24: Casper befirends a down-on-his-luck artist who turns Casper's stories into comic books. untitled, CtFG #24: Spooky gets a bath even though he didn't want one. "Easy as Eskimo Pie", CtFG #24: The artist draws a comic about the time Casper couldn't convince an eskimo child he was a ghost and t=not a funny snowman. "Water Babies", CtFG #24: Casper tells his last story to the artist and continues his search to make friends and help people. "High Kicks", CtFG #26: The ghosts find out Casper and Nightmare have been invited to a meeting of the Friendly Ghosts Club and try to horsenap Nightmare. untitled, CtFG #28: Spooky reads a scary story before bed. "Ghost Riders", CtFG #26: Casper and Nightmare try to outrace the ghosts to the meeting of the Friendly Ghosts Club." untitled, CtFG #29: Spooky's room is cold so he burrows a hole to hell for heat. "Good Yawning", CtFG #26: The Sandmen oversleeps and Casper gives him an alarm clock. untitled, CtFG #28: Casper's good deed for Spooky backfires. "The Witch Widow", CtFG #37: The witches had a huge fight and expect Wendy to pick up the mess so Casper andf Nightmare visit the Witch Widow to borrow modern appliances. "To the Rescue", CtFG #37: The Witch Widow modernizes the witches' house but they don't like the new gadgets. untitled, CtFG #37: Spooky gets chased a man-eating lion and almost loses his derby. "Wendy's Wish", CtFG #41: Casper learns Wendy's secret wish is to own red dancing shoes. "Spellbound", CtFG #41: The dancing shoes Casper gave Wendy were bewitched by an evil witch named Weevil. untitled, CtFG #35: Spooky scares himself with a skeleton costume. "Bewitched and Between", CtFG #41: Witch Weevil refuses to remove the spell on Wendy and casts a spell on Casper for pestering her. A fairy listens to Casper's story and breaks both spells because he unselfishly wanted Wendy's removed. "Little Lost Ghost", CtFG #53: Casper finds a lost baby ghost. "Boo-Who?", CtFG #53: The lost ghost is named Something and the other ghosts decide to keep him and rais him to be bad. "A Special Something", CtFG #53: Something proves too tricky for the other ghosts. Fortunately, Something's mother finds him. "Rudy Toot", CtFG #58: Casper guides a lost train engine named Rudy Toot back to the tracks and promises to help him deliver an important shipment to Cactus City. untitled, CtFG #58: Wendy rescues Rudy Toot's engineer from the Encahnted Forest. "Heapum Big Trouble", CtFG #58: Casper and Rudy Toot are chased by angry Indians and repair a broken bridge. "The Right Track", CtFG #58: After they outsmart a train robber and put out a forest fire, Casper and Rudy Toot finally arrive in Cactus City. "Throwing the Book at 'Em", CtFG #58: Spooky takes lessons from Bat Belfry on how to become a bigger and better ghost. "The Sick Spook", CtFG #22: The Ghostly Trio make Casper take mean pills. "Spooky's Other Self", CtFG #26: Casper disguises himself as Spooky to teach him a lesson. "The Happy Brew", CtFG #28: Casper and Wendy give the other ghosts a potion which temporarily turns them friendly. Part Two: The Friendly Ghost Casper(Harvey now owns the rights) "Kidnapped", "School Daze", and "Black & White Magic", TFGC #1: In an attempt to break up Casper and Wendy's friendship, the witches force Wendy to attend Miss Viper's School for Ghoulish Girls. "How to be Nice", "Gooey Ghosts", and "Practice Makes Perfect", TFGC #3: When the Ghostlyh Trio discovers their Aunt Softy plans to visit they beg Casper to teach them how to behave. "Mind Over Matter", TFGC #7: Spooky fails to scare an audience attending a lecture on the nonexistence of ghosts. "Super Spook", "Muscle Bound", and "The Trick", TFGC #10: Casper's cousin Powerhouse visits and helps Casper trick the Ghostly Trio into believing Casper can gain stupendous strength at will. "Million Dolalr Ghost", TFGC #10: Spooky daydreams of what it would be like to be wealthy. "Real Gone", "The Uncomic Book", and "The Honeymoon Is Over", TFGC #11: A mean cartoonist takes over the comic while Harvey is on vacation. untitled, TFGC #11: wordless. Wendy's painting of a lake puts a fire spark out. "Real Hep Spook Cats", TFGC #11: Claude and Cyril, ghost cats, play a prank on Spooky and his girlfriend, Pearl. "City Ghosts" and "A Little Haunted Home of Our Own", TFGC #30: Casper finds a ghost couple a new home to haunt. untitled, TFGC #30: Nightmare keeps a colt from straying from his mother. "The Fox Haunt", TFGC #25: Spooky gets a fox fur for Pearl. "The End of Casper", "Flying High", and "The Rich Witch", TFGC #35: Casper and the birds of the Encahnted Forest are captured by the Witch of the Mountain but rescued by the Ghostly Trio. untitled, TFGC #35: Wendy fixes a musical problem. "Spooky Meets Shaky Charlie", TFGC #35: Spooky tries to teach another ghost some scaring techniques. "A Dream of a Doll", TFGC #41: Casper seeks shelter from a storm in a doll store and winds up given to a little girl. "Good Old Uncle Gizmo", "Don't Tank Me", and "The Right Gift", TFGC #55: Uncle Gizmo's gifts to Casper keep scaring his friends. untitled, TFGC #55: Two kids explore Casper's home and refuse to believe he's a ghost. "The World's Biggest Bore", "The Bore and the Boar and the Fox", "Go North Young Man", TFGC #67: Boris Stiff wants to make friends but keeps boring people to sleep. "Poil's Dream", TFGC #67: Pearl dreams Spooky becomes famous but turns into a heel in the process. "The Mysterious Zooky", "Tricks Not Treats", "The Awful Planet", TFGC #100: On Halloween night, Casper meets an alien from Neptune who enjoys the scaring people.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This is volume one a series of books called "Harvey Comics Classics," and the high quality of this edition really makes me keen to acquire the others. It's true that the majority of the stories are reproduced in black and white, but in the editor's notes Leslie Cabarga explains in detail the flaws of color printing in early comics and how reproducing that in this book would only take away from the beautiful artwork. The book begins with a 6-page essay by cartoon historian Jerry Beck that explains This is volume one a series of books called "Harvey Comics Classics," and the high quality of this edition really makes me keen to acquire the others. It's true that the majority of the stories are reproduced in black and white, but in the editor's notes Leslie Cabarga explains in detail the flaws of color printing in early comics and how reproducing that in this book would only take away from the beautiful artwork. The book begins with a 6-page essay by cartoon historian Jerry Beck that explains the origins and history of Casper, and it is an excellent preparation for what follows. The first third of the book are mainly stories that are adaptations of Casper's Paramount cartoons, which consist of a series of gags that usually end with a character screaming "A gh-o-o-o-o-ost!!" and running away in a comical fashion. But then the direction of the stories change, and the writers and artists really start to carve out a magical world for Casper and his adventures. The stories become wildly imaginative as our hero has to contend with animals, witches, talking trains, aliens, The Sandman, Mother Nature, mischievous comic book artists, The Ghostly Trio, ghost relatives and others. The tales are entertaining even for adults, and certainly something to be shared with children. If you want to also acquire the Casper cartoons depicted in the book, there is a low-priced DVD set called "HarveyToons: The Complete Collection" that has all of them plus many others.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dominick

    So-called classics from the late 1940s to the mid 1960s demonstrate very well that Casper had some nice moments but that generally the stories are saccharine and formulaic, not to mention intellectually suspect on various levels.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    bacaanku waktu kecil...suka banget. dulu th 80-an kan komik di indo masih terbatas.Ini kubaca bareng sama Richie Rich.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark Arnold

    This is already good, I know...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Abby Rogers

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emmett Grogan

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ciara Elend

  15. 5 out of 5

    blockbomb

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mazie

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mogepy

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nick Ferrara

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tim Jennen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jim Ordolis

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dean

  22. 4 out of 5

    j_ay

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sunhill

  24. 4 out of 5

    Todd Glaeser

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael E.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Relax

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hyde

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashok Banker

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