Many of you were interested in seeing the story of Richie and Reggie and their iphones from the 2012 Richie reboot, so I present it below with some other old and re-colored stories from the Winter Special Gems. But, I also wanted to know more about how the reboot came to be and how Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón became a part of it. Luckily, I know Weldon Adams who was the editor of the new Gems and he gave me a lovely interview you can read to answer your burning questions after the story!
INTERVIEW WITH WELDON ADAMS
How did you get involved in the Richie reboot?
I was an old friend of one of the Ape Entertainment publishers, Brent Erwin. The Richie Rich reboot was essentially all his idea. He designed all the new looks and the new direction for the series. There was a different editor on the “All-New, All-Different” Richie Rich book.
I was brought in to edit several other titles, which included the then-unnamed companion Richie Rich reprint title. I suggested picking up the numbering of one of the old titles. I also suggested we get one as near a landmark issue # as we could, so we could celebrate it. We decided Richie Rich Gems was perfect. We picked up the numbering at #44, making issue #50 just a few away. And ‘Gems’ was a good title for a -mostly- reprint book.
Here’s the part I loved the MOST… It wasn’t -all- reprints. Each issue had an all-new ‘classic-style’ Richie story in it created by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón! Being able to hire those guys to create all new Richie stories was just the greatest! And they were as excited to be working on Richie stories again as I was to be working with them! I am very, very proud of those stories. It’s like they never left the title.
The publishers, Brent Erwin and David Hedgecock, had worked out an idea to theme my issues to match what was supposed to be happening in the ‘new-style’ Richie book that same month. So I had to lead with a super-hero theme in my first issue. That, of course, meant Super Richie… aka Rippy & Crashman!
Where did you find the artwork and stories to digitize? Is there still a giant Harvey warehouse somewhere?
As for where I was pulling these reprints from, Ape Entertainment had a deal with the license holder that gave us access to their library of vintage stats of the original art for thousands of stories. To pare it down a bit, we had them send us the stats for every issue of Super Richie and Richie Rich Success Stories that they had. As Harvey Comics reprinted the stories so much, that actually gave us access to stories that originally ran in many, many other titles.
The stats were not always the sharpest quality, being created decades ago with what is now very outdated technology. So we had them scanned to digital files and then had someone professionally clean up the line art in PhotoShop. This allowed us to represent the art more like it was intended to look, instead of looking like a bad photocopy of a bad photocopy.
The wealth of issues we had to pull from allowed me the freedom to pick stuff that fit the themes I needed. Namely, super-heroes, haunted castles, pirates, and robots & aliens.
What was it like working with Sid and Ernie?
Sid Jacobson had already been asked to produce a new Super Richie story, which Ernie Colón would draw. This turned out to be Rippy & Crashman in their original costumes, which was a nice bit of fun. Then I began working with Sid on story ideas to fit the next issues.
I hired a very talented artist, James Nelms, to digitally recolor some covers, and I reworked the text on them to reflect the new content. Most of the rest of the new color work was done by Dustin Evans.
So I was simultaneously culling old issues to mine for stories to reprint, getting them cleaned up, getting them colored, getting old covers recolored, working with Sid on new scripts, and working with Ernie on getting the art finished on the new story.
Mostly, things went very smoothly with everyone. I would offer a tweak, such as asking that we call Richie’s phone his MyPhone, and his tablet his MyPad. And asking that they be gold or silver. Richie always had great technology available to him, so it was important to me that we continue that.
There were only two snags we ran into… The all-new book fell terribly behind. So the whole matching-theme thing went out the window on the first issue. And I had to ask for some significant art revisions on the alien-theme new story in issue #47. I was nervous about asking a man, whose work I grew up reading (both his Harvey and later DC comics), to redraw portions of the story. But Mr. Colón is a true professional and a gracious man. He did so quickly and efficiently. We were able to move panels around so he really only had to redraw a few panels in all. And that is probably the story I am the most proud of now.
Were the new comics successful?
We got up to issue #48 before low sales made it impossible to continue. I really wanted to hit issue #50… That was my original plan, remember. I had the cover from Richie Rich Diamonds #50 picked out to refurbish as our new Gems #50 cover.
We did get to do a couple of specials… A Winter Special (snow themed stories), and a Valentine’s Day Special. Both were tons of fun to produce. Working with Sid Jacobson (writer), Ernie Colón (artist), James Nelms (cover colorist), Dustin Evans (digital colorist), and Deron Bennet (letterer) was just great!
My time with Ape Entertainment was very rewarding. Working with comic book legends on Richie Rich, and editing other great titles like Strawberry Shortcake, DreamWorks Adventure Magazine, Pocket God, and Temple Run, was very special. I had fun, learned a lot, and I think we turned out some great comics.
Thank you Weldon!