Monday, March 29, 2021

Casper's Epic Adventure in Space

The four issues of the new series Casper's Spooksville contain a continuing story. Casper the Friendly Ghost and his friends--Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost, Wendy the Good Little Witch, and Hot Stuff the Little Devil--journey to another solar system on a planet-hopping adventure.

Mike Wolfer wrote it and I drew it. American Mythology published it.

In all, I drew the exploits of Casper and his friends of the Enchanted Forest for three and a half years. That phase of my career ended when American Mythology chose not to renew the Casper license for Casper due to disappointing sales.

Drawing Mike Wolfer's scripts always gave me pleasure. He managed to re-capture the right tone of the old Harvey Comics Casper in the character's heyday without being slavishly imitative.

I tried my best to capture the look of those comics, attempting to channel the essences of cartoonists Warren Kremer and Howard Post. My attempts stumbled at times when I started, but I got closer the more Casper stories I drew.

When the Casper Spooksville series began as sort of a capper to American Mythology's Casper run--kind of our attempt to go out with a bang--Mike asked me if I had any ideas for stories. Back in Casper's original Harvey Comics series, the character regularly had adventures with aliens or ventured into outer space. For awhile one Harvey series was titled Casper Spaceship (later changing to Casper in Space).

I suggested to Mike that we continue that tradition by sending Casper and his friends on a space adventure. Mike asked me what I thought such a story might be like. I scribbled down a few ideas, formed them into something more coherent, and sent it to Mike. He used some of it as a framework for the grand space adventure that resulted.

One thing I realized while drawing a long, multi-part story featuring Casper, Spooky, Wendy, and Hot Stuff: to be careful when drawing all four as a group. I needed to make sure the two white characters weren't next to each other and make sure the two red characters weren't next to each other, in order to keep them all clearly separated when the story was printed in color.

In addition to the main storyline in each issue, I drew a short 5-page back-up story for each, also written by Mike Wolfer. These back-ups stand alone, though they're loosely connected.

The first back-up story features Hot Stuff the Little Devil and the mischievous Spook-cats, a couple of old single-appearance Harvey Comics characters that Mike resurrected.

The second issue features a back-up starring Wendy the Good Little Witch and the Witch Widow, another old single-appearance character Mike brought back. Instead of a broom, the Witch Widow rode a 1950s-style vacuum cleaner. I updated the vacuum cleaner's look for the new story.

The third issue features Hot Stuff again, this time exploring an ancient Egyptian tomb, and brings back another old character, this one from the 1970s, Cinders the girl devil.

The fourth and final issue features a contest between Hot Stuff and the Spook-cats. Every major character and some minor characters from Casper's supporting cast show up, including Nightmare the Galloping Ghost, the Ghostly Trio, Dumbella, Pearl, the Witch Sisters--even Gnorm Gnome. Just about the only character I didn't manage to fit in was Stumbo the Giant. You can see the original art for page one of this story below.

I'm proud of the Casper Spooksville series. Issues are still available to order here from American Mythology. And you can read it here digitally through Comixology. I hope readers enjoy it.

Copyright © 2021 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.