Sunday, 4 October 2009
Hot Stuff, The Little Devil
Dunno about you, but I'm fascinated by the comics I read when I was a really little kid, mainly because I have such dim memories of them. The real interesting thing is how different they seem as an adult. For instance, take this scene from F.F. 7, which I originally read in black & white in The Mighty World Of Marvel. For years, I remembered this scene, seeing it in my minds eye as this huge, complicated piece, whereas in reality it only takes up three panels. Of course, as a very small child, with a smaller level of understanding, it was a massively complicated scene. It's why, sometimes when you read old stuff you loved as a child, it doesn't seem quite as great as you remember it.
What's even more interesting is the stuff you only remember vaguely, almost at a gut level. Like Hot Stuff. Hot Stuff, The Little Devil was published by Harvey from 1957 all the way up to 1982, and was ostensibly written & drawn by Warren Kremer ( though apparently Ernie Colon did some too. Man, would I love to see them! )
I have no idea which issues of Hot Stuff I read as a child, but I know I did read 'em, 'cos the image of that little demonic kid with an asbestos nappy has stuck with me ever since. I also remember reading Richie Rich, Wendy The Good Little Witch & even Casper, but I've no idea if I actually liked 'em, beyond the beautifully 'simplistic' artwork. At that age you'll read anything that's available. ( Anybody else used to get told off for reading at the dinner table? ) Pretty sure I liked Hot Stuff though, I mean he was a devil, after all. Sure, he occasionally did nice things, basically to annoy his family, but at least he wasn't a simpering goody-goody like Casper. He was cool, before I even knew what cool was. He was the Wolverine of Harvey Comics.
Take this cover, for instance:
How hard d'you think it was for the letterer not to write "Who THE HELL are you?" there. Pretty damn hard, I reckon.
And what about a comic actually called Devil Kids? In this day and age, where you have to call a book Essential Marvel Horror and not Essential Son Of Satan for fear of offending anyone, Devil Kids is almost beyond belief.
That green witch there is another gut level memory. No idea what she's called, but she's so familiar it's ridiculous. I guess the things you see as children make such an impact, they become ingrained in your unconsciousness.
Check out this pair of covers too. Hey kids! It's ok to smoke! Hot Stuff says so!
And hang out in grimy pool halls. "Hey kid, you nudged that pink. Two shots to me". Oh yeah, you want this pitchfork up your ass, white boy?
Here's Hot Stuff in action. Man, how creepily familiar is all this?