The Improved Richie Rich

I hate Richie Rich.

I hate him so much, in fact that when I was having lunch with Dr. K yesterday, an offhand remark turned into a two-hour discussion of why I–and, as it turns out, the good Doctor–can’t stand the little oligarch. Essentially, it boils down to the fact that Richie, a kid known for doing things like building a little castle out of cash and playing football with a huge chunk of pure silver (and, of course, for having terrifying abs), throws around so much cash that it makes P. Diddy look like a Franciscan monk, and he does it with his friends who can’t even afford to buy a new pair of pants.

The only other explanation, and the one that I think we’re supposed to buy given the “Poor Little Rich Boy” tagline, is that Richie isn’t ostentatious, he just has absolutely no concept of the value of money. Seriously, that’s the better of the two possibilities, and imagining Richie’s blank stare as Freckles tries to explain why he doesn’t just sew hundred-dollar bills onto his jeans doesn’t do a whole lot to generate sympathy.

The only way you can make these stories work, then, is to do them with a character that understands a little something about loss, who learns the hard way that there are problems even improbably large safes full of gold coins can’t solve. Someone like…

Ah yes.



Much better.

26 thoughts on “The Improved Richie Rich

  1. Um, what you don’t understand, Chris, is that Richie Rich comes from a different tradition of comics that are in many ways superior to supposedly “mature” western comics.

    But I wouldn’t expect you to understand that…

  2. Years ago, one of the “Super Fun Pak Comix” in an installment of “Tom The Dancing Bug” was of Willie Wealthy, “the rich kid with a heart of gold.” The first panel introduced him taking a bath in coins.

    The second panel was the butler: “When you’re done with your GOLD COIN bath, might I have ONE gold coin, sir?”

    Third panel was Willie again: “Ha ha! No.”

    I bring this up in large part because “Willie Wealthy” as of right now has only four hits on Google, and a parody of Richie Rich that dead-on MUST reach the masses, dagnabbit.

  3. I’m a Richie fan due to the Hanna Barbera toon, never really got into the comic probably due to his tacky sense of style. You just don’t wear a bow tie with short pants. Lil Bruce Wayne is a brilliant concept. It’s the tagline that really got me though. I’d literally kill for that to be an actual comic in my hands at this very moment.

  4. “…a different tradition of comics that are in many ways superior to supposedly “mature” western comics…”

    I don’t really see how Richie Rich comes from a non-western tradition. I really would like that explained.

    What I will always remember of RR was the time he and his impoverished pals took a tour of the US mint and watched (among other things) two men in a furnace room shovelling old and worn out currency into the flames while weeping and crying, saying how they sure could use that money. (No doubt inspiring that recent Queen Latifah caper film). I don’t remember Richie reacting to the scene at all. nada.

    Now, consider what an actual well-written character who is completely defined by his wealth, like a Scrooge McDuck, might do in that situation, and I think you can see why RR sucks. He’s the Paris Hilton of the short-pants set.

  5. There was a Hanna Barbera toon? Was it any good? How did they make him an interesting character?

  6. I’ll take Ace the Bat Hound over Dollar any day of the week. As for Wyre, the cartoon I think made him a bit older. They didn’t make him interesting though.

  7. I have always been freaked out by Richie Rich’s anatomy, especially those legs. *shudder*

  8. You all are missing the crucial point of Richie Rich, it wasn’t a light comedy kid caper cartoon, it was a tragedy about a clinically insane young boy with with only the slightest grasp of reality. If they had ever been able to put the final strips up you would have seen the Richie wakes from his hallucinations to find himself making a living by picking through the trash at a Manila landfill.

  9. Forget the legs, what is with the white go-go boots!

    ps: shouldn’t Richie do a Team-up with the Green Team? Dolla dolla bill y’all!

  10. I have no idea what’s happening on that cover.

    Is he putting radio-controlled money into that safe or is he taking it out?

  11. My childhood dog was named Dollar, which I imagine was because of the cartoon. Not aware that I’ve ever read a Richie Rich comic.

  12. It’s not the radio-control safe (?) that weirds me out so much as the high polished chrome floor. The hell?

  13. The Rollover joke made me spit out some water. Too funny.

    My only experience with Richie Rich was seeing the movie with that Home Alone kid. Or was that Blank Check? I am confused.

  14. runey Says:

    I have always been freaked out by Richie Rich’s anatomy, especially those legs. *shudder*

    They’re bizarre — and no different from Little Lotta’s, either.

    God, I feel dirty.

  15. I was already sick and weak today, but even if I was the picture of health, the rollover joke would have killed me from laughter, my friend. Well done, sir.

  16. I always liked the observation on the Simpsons that Casper and Richie Rich were pretty much identical character designs, and that in the end Richie Rich realized the folly of the material possessions that defined his existence and took his own like, doomed to walk the world as a preta (or hungry ghost) desperate for the true human affection and brotherhood that he lacked in life.

  17. Two possibilities:

    1) Richie Rich is a young Caligula (who got the nickname “Caligula” from his trademark “little boots”).

    2) Richie Rich will grow up to be Adrian Veidt.

  18. What was so ruling about the cartoon was the theme song. I still sing it at least once a week even now. And I am an old and strange man.

  19. I don’t get the insane hate of Richie Rich, other than the “he’s been published so much he must suck” idiom, or something. I like Richie Rich, and always have liked Richie Rich. Try reading the Harvey Comics Classics collection that Dark Horse put out not too long ago, and then it will become clear.