DC vs. Marvel Kids


Casper and Fox

Casper and Fox

This is the eighth post in this series. DC versus Marvel superhero posts have been done to death on the internet and I wanted to do something different. This series looks at what happens when you pit the non superheroes of these two companies. This series also gives me an excuse to revisit some of the obscure comic book characters of my past. The dominance of the superhero genre in American comic books has meant that characters of other comic book genres have been ignored for decades and this series to some extent is an attempt to rectify this unfortunate state of affairs.

The first post looked at Westerns and Western heroes. https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/dc-vs-marvel-western-heroes/

The second post looked at war comics and war heroes. https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/dc-vs-marvel-war-heroes/

The third post looked at women’s comics and working women. https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/dc-vs-marvel-working-women

The fourth post looked at space operas and spacemen https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/dc-vs-marvel-spacemen/

The fifth post analyzed funny animals.
https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/dc-vs-marvel-funny-animals/

The sixth post looked at the teenagers of teenage humor comic books. https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/dc-vs-marvel-teenagers/

The seventh post looked at horror comics and horror hosts. https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/dc-vs-marvel-horror-hosts/

I am inventing a comic book genre name for this series. Women’s comics are defined as comic books that appeal to women. I would like to propose there is a genre of comic books that appeals to very young children as opposed to children in general and I would like to name this genre kids comic’s. The ultimate example of this genre would be the children’s Harvey Comics line that included such characters as Baby Huey, Casper, Hot Stuff, Little Audrey, Little Dot, Little Lotta, Spooky, Richie Rich and Wendy the Good Little Witch. Harvey Comics also published comics with superheroes but is best remembered for its kid’s comics. I see similarities between Harvey Comics and Archie Comics.

Faced with hopeless competition with DC and Marvel in the superhero arena, these two comic book companies found success in non superhero genres, an example of niche marketing in the comic book marketplace. Archie Comics has dominated teenage humor for decades, right up until the present and squashed attempts by DC and Marvel to make titles that compete in this genre. Harvey Comics was also able to survive in a similar manner with kids comic books. Interestingly, both Archie Comics and Harvey Comics tried superheroes but eventually gave up these titles probably because of competition from DC and Marvel. Both Archie Comics and Harvey Comics had to learn hard lessons about their core business which turned out to be genres other than the superhero one.

There is tremendous overlap between the funny animal genre, dealt with in the post about funny animals (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/dc-vs-marvel-funny-animals/) and kid’s comics and many comics fit both genres. Still, characters such as Casper are obviously not funny animals. I would propose that funny animals are a subgenre of kid’s comics logically but the funny animal subgenre is so big it must be treated as a genre. In a similar manner, logically superheroes are a subgenre of science fiction but are such a dominant subgenre in terms of the comic book marketplace that superheroes are best dealt with as a separate genre. This post will only deal with kid comics that are not funny animals.

This genre is characterized by a simplified cartoon style, very G rated material, even by comic code approved standards, and very simple plots. The defining characteristic is that the comic book is aimed at a very young readership. I would say the comic books should be able to appeal to preschoolers and they should be able to handle the material without the aid of an adult. Older readers may like the simplicity of the comic books in the same way that even adults can appreciate a children’s book but the reverse is not true. A relatively G-rated comic book like Superman, especially a more recent Superman comic book, will not be appreciated by preschoolers unless their literacy is especially high.

DC kids include the Brat Finks, Stanley and his Monster, as well as, Sugar and Spike. Stanley and his Monster replaced the Fox and Crow in issue #109 but the retitled comic book only lasted until issue #112. Stanley is a six year old with a lisp that mistakes a monster for a dog and lets him secretly live with him. The monster is covered with pink hair, has enormous fangs and is gigantic, maybe nine feet? The parents never catch onto the existence of the monster. In the innocent comic book logic of that era, hiding a nine foot monster in a typical suburban house is considered totally possible. The comic book was printed in the sixties. In the nineties, DC decided to add some back story to the series and include Stanley and his Monster in some DC crossovers. I still prefer the more innocent less sophisticated Stanley and his Monster of the sixties.

Sugar and Spike was created by comic book legend Sheldon Mayer and is one of the best comic books lines ever! Somehow DC forgot to reprint this comic book in their current reprint Showcase series. This is extremely unfortunate and I urge DC to add Sugar and Spike to the Showcase reprint line. Sugar and Spike are two preschoolers that talk to each other in baby talk that adults can’t understand.

Sugar and Spike are constantly trying to figure out adult logic and the adult world and come up with outlandish explanations that nevertheless are totally logical. Mayer was able to capture kid’s logic in a way few cartoonists ever have. The closest any cartoonist has ever come is Calvin and Hobbes but I actually think Mayer does a better job and he is dealing with much younger children that are harder for adults to understand. Sugar is a blonde haired kid. Spike is a red haired kid. Other characters came and went in the strip such as Little Arthur, Uncle Charley and Bernie the Brain and even the secondary characters of this great strip were better than the primary characters of most cartoons. The strip lasted 98 issues, from the seventies into the nineties, and I am sure would have gone on even longer except for his death in 1992.

Marvel Kids, pre-Star imprint, is a much shorter list and I want to mention Homer the Happy Ghost who was brought to my attention by a reader of this post (see comments).  Homer the Happy Ghost was an obvious imitation of Casper that lasted 22 issues, between March, 1955- November 1958, which for a none superheroe is not bad!  Supporting characters included Melvin the Mixed-Up Ghost, Invisible Irwin, Dugan the Dead End Ghost, and Zelda the Zany Witch.  Homer was reprinted for five issues between from November 1969 to May 1970 and I vaguely remember seeing this version of the title.  Anway, thanks for the info Mark!

Marvel Kids include all the characters of their Star imprint that lasted from 1984-88. The characters of the Star imprint included Air Raiders, ALF, Animax, Bullwinkle and Rocky, Care Bears, Chuck Norris and his Karate Kommandos, Defenders of the Earth, The Flinstone Kids, Foofur, Fraggle Rock, The Get-Along Gang, Heathcliff, Heathcliffs Funhouse, Hugga Bunch, Inhumanoids, Madballs, Masters of the Universe, Masters of the Universe Motion Picture, Misty, Muppet Babies, The Muppets take Manhattan, Peter Porker The Spectacular Spider Ham, Planet Terry, Popples, Royal Roy, Silverhawks, Star Wars Digest, Star Wars Droids, Star Wars Ewoks, Strawberry Shortcake, ThunderCats, Top Dog, and Wally the Wizard. Marvel did publish a couple of Casper comic books in 1997.

Most of the Star comic books are not Marvel properties and will not be looked at given the topic of this post. Spider Ham, Planet Terry, Royal Roy, Top Dog and Wally the Wizard are the only true Marvel properties of the Star comic’s line. Spider Ham was already dealt with in the funny animals post so we are down to Planet Terry, Royal Roy, Top Dog and Wally the Wizard.

Planet Terry, Royal Roy and Top Dog were all written by Lennie Herman. Planet Terry was a space saga. Planet Terry was looking for his parents in space with his sidekicks a robot named Robota and a green-scaled muscular alien named Omnus. I swear that Planet Terry’s facial features are very similar to those of Casper. He flew around in a jet pack and many of his flying poses seem directly lifted from Casper comic books. Top Dog is a talking dog and therefore a funny animal and the subject of another post. Royal Roy is Marvels version of Richie Rich of Harvey Comics. Prince Roy lives in Cashelot (Camelot plus Cash) and only
lasted six issues. Wally the Wizard was an apprentice wizard to Marlin the Wizard, Merlin the Wizards older brother.  Wally the Wizard was created by Bob Bolling who had also created Little Archie.

Sugar and Spike team up with Stanley and his monster for a day at the sandbox and run into these two weird kids in weird costumes. One is dressed like a prince, one is dressed like a spaceman and one is dressed like a wizard. Sugar and Spike know all about Halloween and love that day and know darn well this day isn’t that day. They start laughing at the costumed kids and soon a fight ensues. Stanley’s Monster sits on the Marvel kids until they agree to behave. DC wins this round.

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Superpets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

Western Heroes

Women in Refrigerators

Working Women

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8 responses to “DC vs. Marvel Kids

  1. kevin strilchuk

    kevin strilchuk
    8004 churchill dr sw
    calgary alberta canada
    usa t2v2s4

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  2. kevin strilchuk
    8004 churchill dr sw
    calgary alberta
    canada usa t2v2s4

    information to marvel comics of spider man we to meet stan lee from to new york city we to ask tobey maguire is coming to calgary we to see me in town we to found out we to save the world of spider man on the earth of darkness in to marvel in to new york city we to meet the stars is coming to fox kids television show of spider man we to get a new comics of peter parker grave yard in marvel comics of 1995 we to get the comics for me i neet it for me is my special chirstmas gift for me from calgary we to tell santa clause for me is i am biggest fans of spider man we to send to the news letters from the show of spider man we to get a new comics of spider man for me we to tell stan lee for me we to tell him we to get a very special holyday for spider man for chirstmas we to say merry chirstmas to all x men from to new york city and merry chirstmas to all fans of spider man and x men we to see you next year of 2010 previews of spider man i like the show of spider man i am big fan kevin strilchuk from calgary

  3. You forgot one of my favorite of Marvel’s kid characters that pre-dated the Star line; Homer the Happy Ghost! True, he was another Casper clone, but he had the advantage of great Dan DeCarlo art! And I thought it was interesting that he had several ghostly friends with different personalities to hang out with (whereas the Ghostly Trio were never kind to Casper and Spooky rarely appeared with Casper).
    I always thought it would have been fun to have seen Homer guest star with the Planet Terry or Wally the Wizard.

    • You have an excellent point. I actually do know who you are talking about! I never ran into the original 1955 to 1959 run because I was born around that time period. I am not giving an exact date. Homer was reprinted 1969-1970 and I distinctly remember the reprints. I will correct my oversight and include Homer since he certainly had more issues and is a lot less obscure than a lot of the other titles I mention.

  4. kevin strilchuk

    kevin strilchuk
    8004 churchill dr sw
    calgary alberta canada
    usa t2v2s4

    information to marvel comics spider man in to the show on fox kids televison show from to los angeels california usa we to meet tobey maguire for me we to tell him we to see the show of spider man from to the animated series all gone for good this time we to see spider man to meet tobey maguire from to los angeels california we to meet the stars for you we to ask the show of spider man wellcome back from the show of spider man we to see all show is coming from to new york city we to see kirstine dunst from to new york city we to see all show is coming back on the show of spider man the animated series fan club to order comics of marvel spider man in to the aniamted series special for halloween show is coming in october 31st is a real vampires from to marvel in tomb of dracula of horror kinght of evil darkness in to the show all spider man fans to me from to calgary is my name is kevin strilchuk from calgary please to order form for me we to send the letters to me from calgary in alberta canada we to get my mail for me we not have my mail yet please to see all cartoons fans of spider man and x men we to ask you big faver for me we to ask me we to book it for me i am going we to go to marvel television show of spider man in fox kids all new show is coming this fall 2010 this year of spider man tv show of spider man on fox kids special of spider man studios in to marvel from hollywood studios of spider man we to get more video and dvd for me we to order for me is my name is kevin strilchuk from calgary we to ask you we to take the photo of spider man to meet spider carange of spider clone saga of spider man from to the earth of evil empire from to new york city of spider man war faerwell spider man to meet peter parker is spider man no more you good lock the show of spider man faerwell to tobey maguire is not of evil empire of spider man to meet the empire of spider man we to miss the show good well miss you somuch faerwell to tobey maguire is spider man all gone well not coming back at all well miss you by kevin strilchuk from calgary

  5. Mark Morehouse

    I agree with the previous commenter about Homer Ghost; I loved that he had ghostly friends to hang out with. Unfortunately, the few Homer comics I have seen were filled with one-page gags; I wanted to see longer stories featuring his friends. During Marvel’s Star Comics era, I wished that they had brought Homer back and teamed him with Wally the Wizard or Planet Terry.
    There were a few other kids comics that Marvel published around that same time. I’ve seen them in the Comic Book Price Guide, but haven’t read any. They look to be Dennis the Menace clones. There was Awful Oscar, Little Aspirin, Little Lenny, Little Lizzie, Li’l Willie, and Tiny Tessie. There was even a Melvin the Monster (not to be confused with Dell’s Melvin Monster who was actually a monster). Marvel’s Melvin was just a human brat.
    Marvel packaged some of their kids comics together in the 70s in a title called “Li’l Kids”. Early issues were all reprints but later issues featured a new kid comic character, an African-American boy named Calvin who became the cover feature. The only other humor comic I can think of with African American kids in the starring role is Gold Key’s adaptation of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Even when you include all humor comics, I can only think of Gold Key’s adaptation of the Harlem Globetrotter cartoon and the African American version of Archie, Fast Willie Jackson. So that was kind of ground-breaking.

    • Wow you know your comic books. You have shared a lot of information that is new to me and my comic book friends generally consider me to be the comic book encyclopeadia of the group. I consider the comments to be the functional equivalent of addendums of a post and may or may not integrate your new info into the existing article. There are some comic book industry types that do read my blog and don’t be surprised if your idea of having a cross over of the different Star comics characters ends up happening but may with a Vertigo style twist! Alan Moore loves universe reboots and would love to see what he would do with the Star Comics characters
      https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/non-fiction/alan-moore%E2%80%99s-superhero-universe-reboots/

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