I’ll be honest; I’ve never read a Richie Rich comic book. I know about the character, having watched the animated series that ran during the early 80s and seen the live-action movie starring Macaulay Culkin, but as far as the comic book goes, it just wasn’t something that interested me. That is, until I heard about the new series from Ape Entertainment.
Written by Buddy Scalera, who has worked on Marvel Comics’ Deadpool, X-Men, and a host of other characters, Richie Rich #5 features the title character and his friends becoming a team of super heroes. Calling themselves “Rich Rescue” Richie and the team delve into their super powers with the assistance of Dr. Keenbean’s virtual reality program. Scalera has fun with many of the super hero tropes out there, having Richie and the gang change into variations of several popular heroes, such as Richie Rich becoming the equivalent of Superman and his butler Cadbury turning into the hulking, orange Incredible Cadbury. Glorious Girl has an adorable skirt and telekinesis, the powerless Brat-Man wears a dark blue cape, and Wee Devil bounces around the scene wielding his patented Devil SticksTM. Sound familiar?
But the issue provides more than just entertainment, also helping to show youngsters the importance of owning up to ones responsibilities. Scalera delivers this life lesson in a way that doesn’t seem forced or preachy, showing how Brat-Man steps up and assumes at least part of the blame for the danger he and his friends face. The message is also delivered through a clever quip, poking fun at yet another comic book tradition, the idea of “great responsibility”.
The art of the book is simply joyful. James Silvani does an excellent job updating the look of the characters, making them appear as if they’ve jumped out of a Saturday Morning Cartoon than the original Harvey Comics. His figures are highly stylized and playful, making the issue visually fun to read. Paired with the wonderful coloring of Dustin Evans, the images are vibrant and attractive, a perfect way to reimagine Richie Rich in the new millennium. More than that, Silvani and Evans help to enhance Scalera’s story-telling method, maintaining the story’s pace and keeping everything on track.
Though the super hero genre has gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent days, mostly due to the overwhelming amount of stories featuring spandex-clad powerhouses, I enjoyed the idea of Richie Rich taking a heroic leap. Given that he is basically an All-Ages Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne, it would somehow seem fitting that he winds up in the world of super heroing. Scalera, with the help of Silvani and Evans, have taken a 50 plus year old property and found a way to make it work while maintaining the all-ages appeal. Like I said earlier, I’ve never read a Richie Rich comic before, but I’m really glad I gave it a chance. I’m looking forward to more of this great team of creators.