Monday, December 20, 2010

"Richie Rich Meets Frankenstein" - 2009

This was the second "Guest Blogger" post I did for the blog Frankensteinia, exploring one of the more esoteric corners of the Frankenstein legend. It was really fun to write, and looking over this piece again makes me want to do another one--Frankensteinia is such a great site I love being able to contribute to it.

Richie Rich meets The Frankenstein Gang!

Yes, the Poor Little Rich Boy's adventures did go beyond just looking for places to store his money. In Richie Rich Vault of Mystery, (one of approximately 10,000 different Richie Rich titles) Richie and his less solvent pals had all kinds of adventures, none as exciting for monster fans as this issue, when he encountered Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf Man!

This story opens with Richie and his pal Freckles visiting "The famous old Castle Theater!"
Richie and Freckles at first thing the spooky sound is just the wind, but things start seeming more suspicious when an old sandbag comes crashing down the rafters, almost killing Richie! Richie is still not put off, but even he starts to worry when a knife comes sailing from out of the darkness and lands just a few inches above his head!

They decide to split, but on the way out they encounter...The Wolf Man! (Freckles calls it "The Ghost of the Wolf Man!"--why it couldn't just be The Wolf Man, I don't know. Maybe Freckles knows something we don't). He begins to chase them, throwing stage pegs at them. He hits a lever on the wall, causing a trap door to open underneath Richie and Freckles, who fall down into it:

They land in a room where props are kept, where they run into Frankenstein's Ghost (again with the ghost stuff!). They run away from Frankenstein, only to run into the Wolf Man again. They head down another corridor, only to be met by...The Ghost of Dracula! End of Part One!

After a break consisting of two one-page Richie gag strips, we're back to our main story
Hmm, these monsters seem pretty clumsy. I wonder...

Anyway, Richie's pants get stuck on a nail, and in his rush to escape he tears off his pocket, leaving a trail of money in his wake. While Freckles runs away, Richie stops to notice that the monsters are happily scooping up the cash! What kind of monsters are these?

Richie and Freckles hide in a nearby sarcophagus (you'd think this would be a perfect time for the Mummy to make an appearance, but no). The monsters think they've scared the kids off, so they resume their "plan", which involves them heading down yet another trap door. Richie and Freckles follow them, and we see that the monsters are in the middle of digging through a wall, into the bank next door!

Richie is now convinced these aren't real monsters, or ghost monsters, or whatever--they're just crooks in make-up! Freckles asks what he and Richie can do to stop them, but Richie says they don't need to do anything!

Freckles is confused at that, as the monsters drill make it through to the bank:

...the end!

While its disappointing to this monster fan that Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf Man aren't real, merely crooks involved in a Scooby Doo-esque plot, I am intrigued at the notion that these (or any) monsters do, in fact, exist for real in the universe of Richie Rich. After all, Richie and Freckles don't immediately come to the conclusion that these are just guys in costumes--for a moment, they believe they are the real deal, which I find an intriguing footnote to the world of Richie Rich.

Like most Richie Rich stories, there are no writing or art credits on this story, although its safe to assume that this was penciled by the great Ernie Colon, at least. He does a great job rendering the three monsters, especially on the cover, which is about as moody as Harvey was going to allow a Richie Rich comic to get.

One other interesting note: in this story, Dracula is clearly the ringleader, yet the group is called "The Frankenstein Gang." We know who the real star is, don't we?

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