RAGS RABBITMedium: Comic books
Published by: Harvey Comics
First Appeared: 1946
Creator: Marty Taras
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A regular cover blurb proclaimed Rags Rabbit to be the funniest member of his species in comic books — which may have stood a chance of being true, if the field had been a good deal more limited. As it happened, his competition for the honor included not just Marvel's Super Rabbit, Disney's Brer Rabbit and
even Sheldon Mayer's Bo Bunny, but Bugs Bunny himself. Poor old Rags had to get in line behind some very high-power hares.
But he wasn't completely lacking in assets. Rags was created by animator/cartoonist Marty Taras, whose Baby Huey ensures him a minor but permanent place among cartoon notables. Rags's comic books came from the same publisher as the vast majority of Huey's comic books, Harvey Comics, but he long predates the association of Harvey with Famous Studios, where Huey got his start.
Rags debuted in Harvey's Nutty Comics #5 (1946). Debuting with him were his only supporting characters, twin younger brothers Pesty and Jesty, his answer to Donald Duck's Huey, Dewey and Louie. But Nutty Comics folded three issue later, with a July, 1947 cover date, and that could easily have been the end of him.
But Rags got his own comic, dated June, 1951. It was a continuation of another title, probably Babe Ruth Sports Comics, tho Little Max has also been cited as its original name. The latter is unlikely, however, as Little Max, which starred a Joe Palooka supporting character, remained continuously in print for another ten years. Before Rags's second demise in March, 1954, Harvey published #s 11-18.
After a couple more years in limbo, Rags re-surfaced in Harvey Hits #2 (October, 1957). The purpose of the first issue of Harvey Hits seems to have been to establish The Phantom as a recurring star — he was in seven subsequent issues, but never did get his own title at Harvey. The one after Rags tried out Richie Rich, who had started in Little Dot's back pages, for his own title. But Rags's issue seemed to be mostly an excuse to claim him as a current star — that same year, they used him to fill up three commercial comics promoting Tasty-Freez ice cream stands. They didn't use him again either in Harvey Hits or in a title of his own.
But he did turn up decades later, reprinted as filler in Harvey Wiseguys, a digest-size comic book available at supermarket checkout stands. Harvey Wiseguys lasted four issues, dated November, 1987 through November, 1988.
Which does show a certain tenacity on Rags's part. But it's quite a comedown for a guy once cover-blurbed as the "Funniest Rabbit in Comics".