Richie Rich Issues #5 and #6
A Graphic Content Review by John Wilson
There are things from our childhood that we deem as precious. Certain shows, films and images speak to our younger selves and they speak to a certain point in our lives and we lock them away fondly in our hearts. One of those "youth touchstones" to me was Richie Rich. Never a big fan of the romances of Archie or the a little too sweet nature of Casper (although I loved Hotshot, the little devil), Richie Rich allowed me as a poor kid to have a little wish fulfillment ("Rich Fulfillment"?) by reading the adventures of a boy who literally had money to burn and had the best gadgets ever, provided by the slightly mad scientist Professor Keenbean. They were found memories lock away in my head that allowed me to forgive the mediocre Machaly Chalkin movie and when I heard that the comic was being resurrected, I gave it the same eye roll that I give to most remakes that more often than not fail to live up to the original. This was until I found out who the writer was and when I finally got a look at it, I was blown completely away.
Buddy Scalera is famous for his work as an author of how to book art books but he is also a prolific comics writer and he did a stellar job on these two issues of Richie Rich. He not only updated the characters but he updated the whole concept. Richie is a smart and talented kid who leads his group of friends and servants with the calm grace of a Captain America. Gloria is a resourceful girl who more than knows her way around computers and always has the right tech for the job. Dollar is less the bungling pooch of old as he is a tough and capable hound and often early warning system for the team. Cadbury is no longer the balding, older, upper crust, gentlemen's gentleman but is now a still proper butler but young and massive powerhouse who is a fitting companion for Richie on his adventures. Even the robot maid Irona has a more action adaptive body in the Jocasta vein. Together they are Rich Rescue, a search and rescue team very much like a young Indiana Jones with Donald Trump's checkbook.
Richie's leadership skill show through in these comics. In issue 5, the group becomes trapped in virtual reality super hero game gone nuts and as Super Rich; he flies to the rescue of the team and devises a plan that combines all the skills of each of his friends to set them free. In issue 6, Richie and his friends go to find his missing aunt, monster hunter Noovo Rich. There they encounter Mayda Munny and her rescue team that seems to fall just a little bit short as the bratty Mayda tries to show off but is always undone by the quietly confident Richie and she always manages to self-sabotage her own attempts to get Richie to notice her in a romantic way. And Richie manages to keep a family secret before the story is through.
Buddy does a fantastic job updating this icon. He manages to take the sweetness of the old strips (a few of which each issue includes) and gives it a contemporary spin. The characters speak in a way that is both clever and fun to read. The wordplay is intelligent and funny. He has moved the story beyond the children's fare and I think it can stand its ground against anything on the shelves today. The art of the comics is a true revelation. James Silvani in issue 5 and Marcello Ferreira in issue 6 do a remarkable job in bringing the Rich clan into the 21st Century. The squat bodies and ball shaped head s of old are gone and replaced with cool contemporary forms. Each character has a distinctive look that is a mix of contemporary lines with just the right amount of manga influences. Each character has distinguishing features that would be evident even in silhouette. And I would definitely be remiss if I didn't mention the colors of Dustin Evans. The layered vibrancies of his color work took the art well into the next level. The panels jumped off the page and made both issues as accessible as if they were happening in front of us. Excellent seems too small a word to express the man's skill.
Richie Rich was a joy of my past and now, with the inspired work of Buddy Scalera and his team, it will now be a joy of my present as well. Because everyone needs a little joy now and then, especially if it makes you feel like a kid again. Even for a second.
John Wilson- John Wilson is Co-Owner of Comic Related and Online Editor for Sketch Magazine. He is also a writer for the website Pandoracon.com and writes several comics for Ringtail Cafe Productions.John also does his own pen and ink sketching and creates multimedia art. In his rare free time, he reads multiple magazines and torments his beautiful wife and their goofy dog.
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