Who Will Change the Devil’s Nappy?

« Don’t you know there ain’t no devil, it’s just god when he’s drunk. » — Tom Waits, Heartattack and Vine (1980)

Another week, another heat wave… I had something else in the pipeline for this week, but the canicular conditions brought to mind Hot Stuff The Little Devil (heat rises!) and his creator Warren Kremer‘s monumental parade of beautifully conceived and crafted calefaction variations.

As you may already know, the Harvey Comics stable consists, in the main, of one-note characters erected upon the visual template of licensed 1940s animation properties Casper the Friendly Ghost (Richie Rich, Hot Stuff, Spooky) for the boys, and Little Audrey (Little Dot, Wendy the Good Little Witch, Pearl) for the girls.

CasperRichieA
Would I kid you? (truthfully, I might). There’s even a meme about it.

We’ve already presented cover galleries from Spooky and Little Dot (as well as a Hallowe’en-themed array), and it’s now Hot Stuff’s turn to toast and roast. Though we’ve both been rather dismissive of the contents of Harvey Comics, I must point out that if there is a specific series that burns brighter than its brethren do, it’s Hot Stuff’s… at least during the line’s creative peak, the 1960s. Here’s an example of a good one.

Each cover is the brainchild and handiwork of Harvey’s indefatigable resident genius and art director, Warren Kremer. Obviously, one man does not a company make, and his able colleagues Howie Post, Ernie Colón, Sid Couchey and Sid Jacobson were hardly lightweights or slouches… but Kremer was the cover generator.

HotStuff09A
This is Hot Stuff, the Little Devil no.9 (Feb. 1959, Harvey). Is this helping? Probably not. Sorry!
HotStuff15A
This is Hot Stuff, the Little Devil no.15 (Sept. 1959, Harvey).
HotStuff33A
This is Hot Stuff, the Little Devil no.33 (Mar. 1961, Harvey). I especially admire Kremer’s black covers, though they complicated the printing and make issues in pristine (or even decent) shape a scarce proposition.
HotStuff34A
This is Hot Stuff, the Little Devil no.34 (Apr. 1961, Harvey).
HotStuff36A
This is Hot Stuff, the Little Devil no.36 (June 1961, Harvey).
HotStuff41A
Ah, so that ol’ devil moon is not merely made out of cheese, but of stinky cheese to boot? Good to know. This is Hot Stuff, the Little Devil no.41 (Nov. 1961, Harvey). Fun fact: because of its distinctive holes, Swiss Gruyère is the shorthand cartoon cheese.
HSSizzlers07A
This is Hot Stuff Sizzlers no.7 (Feb. 1962, Harvey).
HSSizzlers08A
This is Hot Stuff Sizzlers no.8 (May 1962, Harvey).
DevilKids03A
This is Devil Kids Starring Hot Stuff no.3 (Nov. 1962, Harvey). One wonders why other comics publishers didn’t show the same lack of regard for the Comics Code Authority Stamp of Approval typically demonstrated by Kremer and Harvey. Their ‘shove it in a corner and colour it invisible’ approach is refreshing. I suppose that, like other publishers specialized in the nominally wholesome ‘kiddie’ market, Harvey’s code approval was a formality.
HotStuff68A
This is Hot Stuff, the Little Devil no.68 (Oct. 1965, Harvey). Listen to this excellent ‘word jazz‘ piece by the late, great Ken Nordine (1920-2019), on the fecund topic of… Fireflies.
DevilKids21A
This is Devil Kids Starring Hot Stuff no.21 (Nov. 1965, Harvey). A little better, cooling-wise?
HotStuff77A
This is Hot Stuff, the Little Devil no.77 (Apr. 1967, Harvey). And how’s this?

That’s it for now! Keep cool, and may your asbestos underwear never chafe!

-RG

2 thoughts on “Who Will Change the Devil’s Nappy?

  1. tref July 26, 2020 / 15:49

    I used to be obsessed with all things Richie Rich. I bought all the titles and man, were there a lot of them. Cut to thirty odd years later and I find a new issue of Richie Rich at my friend, Janna’s house (left there by the kids she was babysitting). I immediately began flipping through the pages, but before my brain could catch up with my mouth, I blurted out, “He hasn’t aged!” Fortunately, she missed what I said, and I refused to repeat it. But I guess it is either a testament to just how much I once loved the character, or my own tentative grasp of reality, that, a part of me, had expected him to have changed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gasp65 July 26, 2020 / 19:30

      “I bought all the titles and man, were there a lot of them.” Yikes, who was bankrolling you? I presume you were buying non-Richie titles as well… which boggles my thrifty, cash-strapped, 70s kid’s mind. Little wonder you could identify with Richie! 😉

      As for his eternal youth, I suspect it has to do with his sharing a body with Casper… if they’re not one and the same. Either way, someone’s messing with our minds.

      Liked by 2 people

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