Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Secrets of Harveylands

This map of "various Harveylands" comes to us from Richie Rich #230 (1987). Before its publications, the proximity of many Harvey characters was apparent, but the fact that their entire kids comic "universe" existed in one locality was a bit of surprise. Looking at the map, I think we can discern other truths about the "Harvey Universe."

The mountains separating it from the outside world reveals it to be a hidden land in the old tradition of Oz or Opar. It is primarily inhabited by magical or fairytale creatures (some in semi-isolated subregions), with one isolated island being the home of talking animals. Based on the comics, these animals enjoy a higher level of technology and infrastructure than the surrounding "enchanted forest" dwellers (though so stories suggest at least the Devils have access to TV and radio.) There are also the two anomalous comics related industries.

Richville's wealth and isolation are a bit of a puzzle. I suspect it is something like the isolated Amazon cities of the rubber boom. The only question is what provided the fortune for the Richs and their city? Whatever it is, it likely has something to do with the magical nature of the surrounding countryside.

Spooktown seems to be the next largest city, and it is walled. Possibly it isn't open to non-ghosts? Maybe witches, since they seem to live in close proximity. Spooktown is big enough that it has suburbs, apparently, where Casper resides.

I always took Tiny Town to be a settlement of normal humans in the Stumbo stories--tiny only in comparison. I wonder now if they are actually smaller, and so Stumbo's size in the stories was exaggerated by the comparison.


bombasticus said...

Astounding. I can't even imagine what it took them to drive that highway through virgin enchanted forest over the protests of the now-absent (or resettled?) inhabitants. It might be something to do with the ubiquitous gemstones-the-size-of-your-head that litter the ground there in some accounts.

I guess this also makes the the Friendlies, Polkas etc. employees in a company town one way or another.

My thought went straight to Stumbo as well. It might not even be on our planet.

Trey said...

@bombasticus - I'm imagining a Heart of Darkness-esque tale of the retrieval of a Rich Co. executive from the suburban Ghostland.

bombasticus said...

All them ghosts and devils didn't slaughter themselves. Back in school we got really into a vaporware project "Peter Greenaway's RI¢H!" that would have touched on a few of these themes in a somewhat juvenile way. Modern would-be auteurs could find "Alan Moore's" version a good springboard.

Trey said...

A friend of mine and I have on occasionally considered what the outline of "Watchmen but with the Harvey characters" would be, but this map makes me think that the New Weird would probably be closer to the mark than old Moore. It's positively synchronicity that I stumbled on this while reading The Vorrh.

bombasticus said...

The cyclopean hand of Brian Catling. Thinking of them over in Devil Holler or whatever they call that district, based on what we know about climate, wildlife and geology, if Harvey was in a U.S. state, where would it be? Suddenly I can't shake Missouri, Arkansas.

Trey said...

I think that's right. Certainly not coastal, but not in the upper Middle either. Though there are the mountains which would seem anomalous.