Yay, we have another story and commentary from Ze Mastor and Richie Rich Money World #16! This is a story I really loved back in the day and I’m happy to read it again. Enjoy! Comments below are from Zeeeee Mastooooor….
Oooooh! A Richie Rich mystery! How I loved getting Richie Rich comics with these kinds of stories! Another ship story, this time with shipwrecks and Rich cargo disappearing.
The ship’s captain starts to tell his story… a weird red lighthouse beam…
The captain explains that they obediently changed their course and the beam guided them to crash the ship on the rocks. *Sigh*, it’s things like this that makes ya wonder why grown-ups were in charge of anything in Harvey-land. Where does Mr. Rich get these ship captains from? Advertising in the local newspaper? Well, yes! That’s how they got Capt. Manta 6 years before (in 1969) and we all know how well that worked out, don’t we?
Richie has Bascomb drive him around to random places in town. “That man! I’ve seen him before!”, thinks Richie. Of course! Bascomb’s seedy twin brother. Just look at Bascomb in the panel above, looks just like him. Bascomb’s seedy twin is jowly due to his typical criminal’s diet of junk food, but one can easily see the resemblance. So Richie jumps into a nearby cab and follows the seedy guy, instead of having Bascomb take him where he wants to go (???).
The guy dashes into a run-down building on the po’ side of town. Richie investigates all by himself and gets a face full o’ chloroform for all his troubles. That’s what Richie gets for not having Bascomb as his backup. It’s not as if the taxi driver was gonna stick around and get involved! When Richie comes to, he finds his old nemesis, Dr. N-R-Gee. Just based on the dialogue, I guessed (back in 1975) that Richie had met Dr. N-R-Gee before, but I didn’t have any other issues with him in it at the time, so I didn’t know the whole story. Thanks reading to this blog, I do now!
Dr. N-R-Gee drags Richie along for his latest caper. He has an incredibly complicated plan to tow a platform out to sea and have his goons build a portable lighthouse, and then he’d signal ships to crash into the rocks. Even though it would be much easier for him to hijack an actual lighthouse and send his signals from there.
It can’t possibly be fun for the henchmen to be hauling 6 foot sheets of metal while climbing up ladders, what with the platform bobbing around in the open sea like that. Dropping an anchor does NOT stop objects from moving in the water with the waves. I love the way the ocean waves are beautifully drawn here- you can practically smell the brine and hear the sound of the seagulls.
I’m really impressed by the bad guys’ ability to stand up straight way up there in the portable lighthouse. The height of the structure would magnify any up/down and side-to-side movement of the floating platform exponentially and toss them around like rag dolls. Meanwhile, Mr. Rich is riding shotgun on his cargo ship, to investigate what’s been happening to his ships. The idiot captain (a different one) insists on obeying the lighthouse signals, even if they’re weird and red. Mr. Rich really starts to regret hiring his ship captains from the classified ads and swears that the next time, he’ll hire someone that actually has a brain.
Richie distracts Dr. N-R-Gee, causing him to spin around. It’s amazing that the bad doctor didn’t fall over on his own, since we know that lighthouse is swaying and rocking. Mr. Rich’s idiot captain finally gets the clue, follows Mr. Rich’s instructions and sails towards the fake lighthouse.
Dr. N-R-Gee and his thugs start to panic when they see the cargo ship headed straight for them. Ummm, gentlemen, yelling and waving your fists at a ship isn’t going to stop it. The SS Rich makes a spectacular crash and demolishes the fake lighthouse. Dr. N-R-Gee manages to escape like a half-drowned ship’s rat and makes it to shore, swearing revenge! And indeed, he returns only 6 real-life months later in Richie Rich Money World #20. Can’t keep a good villain down!
Thank you Ze Mastor! I wonder if Richard freaked out when they picked up little Richie from the freezing ocean, having no idea he wasn’t safe at home! Surely Richie has a chip they could be tracking him with.
I’m also curious how Dr. N-R-Gee could drown or breathe or see anything. I’d like an x-ray into that lightbulb head to see if his real head is behind there or how breathing, eating, vision, etc. would work!
If you want to read more Dr. N-R-Gee, click these links below:
If you missed the Manta story referenced above, click here:
And if you like Bascomb dropping Richie off in seedy places with no concern for his well being, click here:
Have a great day!
Exceptional action art here, and I don’t mean only the big things like Richie’s death-defying dive from a 20-foot tower. Mr. Rich’s face on page 6 shows plenty enough expression to keep a conversation from derailing a climactic scene…however, the line ”Whatever it is, we’re going to RAM it” almost accomplishes the same by making me doubt whether that’s EVER a good nautical policy.
The Doctor always creeped me out as a kid. Aside from the weird disfigurement (as I recall, the result of his own poorly-supervised science) he was vaguely defined (that red beam had telekinetic abilities as the plot required) and liked to heh-heh-heh like Dr. Sivana, who himself had zero hesitation to cosh a kid in the head.
I’m a little curious about that chloroform segment. Back then doping someone with the liver-damaging liquid was as common as bell-bottoms, but in this case seems pointless. That bald leprechaun doesn’t look like he’d have had any more trouble carrying Richie indoors while muffling his mouth that he did hauling around an incapacitated Richie and arranging him upright-but-untied in a chair. Just another excuse to use a circle template, perhaps?
Steve, thanks for pointing that out (chloroform). I never thought about that, and just accepted that chloroform is used as depicted. Imagine my surprise when I looked up “chloroform” on Wikipedia and found out that not only does it cause liver damage, it can also cause heart attacks and respiratory failure.
And, even worse: “Use of chloroform as an incapacitating agent has become widely recognized, bordering on clichéd, due to the popularity of crime fiction authors having criminals use chloroform-soaked rags to render victims unconscious. However, it is nearly impossible to incapacitate someone using chloroform in this manner. It takes at least five minutes of inhaling an item soaked in chloroform to render a person unconscious”.
Oops! Another trope goes out the window.
Are all of the Rich family ships named SS RICH? On page 6, Richie sees crates and thinks “the cargo from the wrecked ships!” Three of the crates say “SS RICH”. Then on page 9, we can clearly see that the ship Mr. Rich is on is also the SS RICH! Not so much as a Roman numeral to differentiate them! They should pay someone to come up with original names!
The SS Rich, SS Very Rich, SS Crazy Rich, SS Billions, Gems, Diamonds, every Richie title. 🙂
I’m kinda thinking that Dr. N-R-Gee’s lightbulb head contains the same apparatus as Darth Vader’s helmet. Enough mechanical contraptions to help him breathe and maybe he eats intravenously (ewwww!). The bulb would save him from drowning, but not hypothermia, so luckily the bulb (which would help keep him afloat) and his own swimming skills got him to shore.
Perhaps the lightbulb head is like a one way mirror, so he can see out.
I read his origin story and it’s just ASTOUNDINGLY brainless about how he triggered his own disfiguring accident. First: inventing a head-scratching device and if it doesn’t seem to scratch his head hard enough… then STOP! A simple change in shampoo, like a medicated one, should fix the actual problem, not just the symptom. Then: plugging said invention into an untested hyper-powerful electric outlet. Nothing good can ever come out of that. We can fry our shavers and hair dryers by plugging them into overseas 220v outlets, let alone what he did. Owww. It’s painful to think about that ZAP!
We’ll just do some plastic surgery and fix you right up Mr. Lament. And add a red light bulb to your head for no apparent reason and off you go to your fun filled life of having a lightbulb for a head! Ladies really dig it!