Monday, May 15, 2006

Homer The Happy Ghost

What do you get when you cross the talents of Marvel Comics maestro Stan Lee (co-creator of Spiderman, the Hulk, the X-men, Fantastic Four, etc.), Archie Comics legend Dan DeCarlo (creator of Josie and the Pussycats, Sabrina, etc.), and the runaway success of Casper the Friendly Ghost? Why, you get the best Casper imitation of them all, of course... Homer! Yeah, it was a blatant rip-off, but it's not like Casper was all that original to begin with. Instead of 'Friendly', Homer was 'Happy'. Instead of a tough, streetwise pal with a bowler hat named 'Spooky', Homer had 'Dugan', the Dead-End Ghost. Instead of a witch pal named 'Wendy', Homer had 'Zelda' (who would later show up in almost identical form in DeCarlo's Sabrina the Teen-aged Witch). The only relatively new addition was Melvin the Mixed-Up Ghost... a complete idiot with consistantly annoying behaviour. I really like Melvin a lot. Homer The Happy Ghost debuted in 1955 and lasted 22 issues, plus two issues of an offshoot series, The Adventures of Homer Ghost... a very good run for a monster kid book, actually. 'Stan and Dan', as they billed themselves on these stories, were already really strong talents, and the stories have a lot more pluck than the decidedly insipid Harvey originals. This Robot cover from 'Adventures of...' number 2 (1957) is one of my favourite covers ever! Inside, Homer and the gang battle Doctor Doom and his sinister robot assistant, Monstro. See for yourself... (click to enlarge) For another story in which Homer battles a robot, check this out.