With Further Ado #222: Casper and the Sequential Crush Podcast

I love Halloween. I bet that many folks who read this column love Halloween too. But one of the downsides to this glorious, spooky celebration is how pop culture, television stations and retailers all seem to lurch to the next holiday season so quickly after Halloween’s last trick or treat.

In Adweek – you didn’t think I only read comics, did you – they’ve already started their analysis of holiday themed TV commercials. (I will admit, the Katy Perry+LEGO tv spot does look like fun!)

So, with that in mind, shall we drag out Halloween just a little bit longer?

Casper Instead of Candy

We’re one of the families that give out comics instead of candy to trick-or-treaters. Most of the comics we give away are current or recent comics. But I rescued a few old Harvey Comics from a bargain box and thought some kid might enjoy them. Harvey’s Casper, the Friendly Ghost #75 was from November 1964, and I thought it was charming on so many levels.

Caper’s optimistic and kind personality is so refreshing and welcome. What a nice ghost he is! Each story is sweet and fun and sunny.

But the ads were really amazing. They sure did beat kids over the heads about all the other Harvey titles! One house ad headline screams:

“Millions of Kids say Casper is the Best. You too should read the newest Casper comic today!”

What an endorsement, right? And you might not know it, but there were a ton of Casper comics back in the day – Casper’s Ghostland, Casper and Nightmare (his horse), TV Casper and Company, Spooky. And he often palled around with the also-very-sweet Wendy, the Good Little Witch.

In fact, there’s a real charm to the ads as many of them are illustrated and/or presented in comic style. In each issue, kids could kind of get a mini adventure of Rocky and Bullwinkle (promoting Cheerios) or the Lucky Charms Leprechaun.

More Sequential Casper Crushing

I realize that I didn’t know much about Casper comics, and that led me back to Jacque Nodell. She is a fascinating and brilliant person. You might remember I interviewed her to learn about her book How to Go Steady: Timeless Dating Advice, Wisdom, and Lessons from Vintage Romance Comics. This wonderful book is, in many ways, a celebration of the old romance comics. The full interview is here.

One of her new efforts is the Sequential Crush Podcast. I just listened to her episode focusing on Casper, and I thought it was insightful fun. This podcast is upbeat and positive (kind of like Casper himself, upon reflection). The most recent episode helped me learn quite a bit about Casper and the fascinating story of the creators and a bit of publication history.

Jacque’s style is smooth and focused. She’s reminiscent of Karina Longworth and the You Must Remember This. (That podcast is always exceptional too.) I’m eager to catch up on Jacque Nodell’s previous Sequential Crush Podcast episodes and I can’t wait to hear what she has next.