Being somewhat jaded with the current state of comics I have sought refuge in the 50c comic book bins of my local comic book shop Comics Etc. Periodically instead of dusting the store Nathan will dive into the cheap bins for me and find a gem that renews my faith in funny books, how did he go this week?
In the mid 80s Marvel Comics had a label that was aimed at the younger demographics of comic book readers, readers who enjoyed books traditionally brought out by companies such as Harvey, readers of titles such as Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich the Poor Little Rich Kid.
Their titles read like a list of established brands of the day such as Madballs (?!? honestly??), Masters of the Universe, Care Bears, ALF, Star Wars, Muppet Babies and even Chuck Norris. One of their popular titles was Spider-ham which of course was based off of Spider-man, the point being that most of the titles traded in on another property including one of their "original" titles: Royal Roy.
Royal Roy is such a blatant rip off of Richie Rich and issue 5 of the 6 issue series is this week's unearthed 50c bin book. The basics of the plot are essentially the same as Richie Rich except that rather than just being rich the family is royalty and Roy doesn't seem to be as sad as Richie from what I can tell. Issue 5 deals with the royal olympics which is more than appropriate considering this is an Olympic year as well as the Queen's diamond jubilee.
Now the cover promises Roy in a madcap contest with an amazing twist! Which I feel having only skimmed the storyline the book fails to deliver.
There are two stories in this issue one is to do with the promised royal olympics and the other has something to do with a castle on a boat or something, honestly I could bring myself to actually read the whole thing and so the castle boat/submarine story may have in fact been most madcap.
The main story though is the royal olympics and this is where I would expect the bulk of the madcap to be contained I'm not sure how madcap royal soup eating is in most circles but in my world it's just called soup eating.
Mushroom barley soup for those looking for spoilers.
I did enjoy it though how the rain caused a riot and one gentleman was about to kill another by smashing him with a bottle of wine but after hearing Roy's voice he calmed down out of his murderous rage.
Come to think of it I think that the rain was the twist ending... it rained, how amazing.
In keeping with the "original" nature of the comic book I believe the evil character looks somewhat like Lex Luthor in that he has no hair but he also has no eyeballs which is derivative. I'm also slightly creeped out by the attention he's affording young Roy in the last panel.
I've just flicked through the book again and this is not an evil character at all apparently he is a trusted mentor... I don't feel any better about him.
There are only six issues of this book, not surprisingly it was cancelled around the same time that Harvey Comics filed to sue Marvel over copyright infringement.
So how did we make out on our investment of 50c? Well the cheapest I can pick this book up on eBay is $1.39 (with a ridiculous amount of postage attached but I'll leave that off) which is still a pretty good return on investment though nowhere near the cash cow that Samurai Santa will bring.
It's a bizarre comic so it fits the brief nicely.
I've just launched the Facebook page for Too Short To Be A Storm Trooper so if you would like to win this exact copy of Royal Roy head on over to the very empty page and share the Royal Roy post to go into the random draw to win it!