Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Defunct Comic Book Publishers: Harvey Comics

Harvey Comics was founded by Alfred Harvey in 1941, after buying out a smaller publisher. Brothers Robert Harvey and Leon Harvey joined soon after and the company quickly got into licensed characters, which by the 1950s became the bulk of their output. Their most prolific artist was Warren Kremer.

Among Harvey’s best-known characters are Casper the Friendly Ghost, Baby Huey, Herman and Katnip, Little Audrey, and related characters such as Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost, The Ghostly Trio, Casper's horse Nightmare, Hot Stuff the Little Devil, and Wendy the Good Little Witch. These characters originated as licensed properties, having been created by Paramount Pictures' animated division, Famous Studios, in the late-1940s. Harvey published many successful comic books based upon the original Famous characters, and they also developed original characters such as Richie Rich, Little Dot, Little Audrey, Little Lotta, Jackie Jokers and Stumbo the Giant.

Harvey also adapted popular characters from newspaper comic strips, such as Mutt and Jeff and Sad Sack. Although the company tried to diversify its publications with brief forays into superhero, suspense, horror, and westerns; kiddie comics were the bulk of their output.

Due to a slump in the comic book industry, Harvey limited its output and then finally stopped publishing between 1982-86. The original company was sold in 1990, and became Harvey Entertainment. They initially published comics in the early-1990s as Harvey Classics. In 2001, Harvey Entertainment sold its properties and rights to the Harvey name to Classic Media, which licenses characters from the Harvey library and then changed the company name to Sunland Entertainment. Sad Sack is still owned by the successors of the Harvey family, as is the golden age heroine, The Black Cat.

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