ROYAL ROYMedium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1985
Creators: Lennie Herman (writer) and Warren Kremer (artist)
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When Harvey Comics suspended publication in 1982, and Gold Key in '84, it could be inferred a market niche had opened up — comic books aimed at children, which by then were being supplied only by Archie Comics, supplemented with an
occasional release from Charlton. To fill it, Marvel, the industry's greatest behemoth, launched a new imprint, Star Comics, which offered a mix of licensed and original properties, designed to appeal to young readers. The new line's first set of releases had April, 1985 as their cover date.
One of the ideas bandied about during the Star Comics development period was to license or purchase the Harvey characters. That didn't happen, but the new line did sport as blatant an imitation as that company's most popular character, Richie Rich, ever had. Royal Roy, who was among those first releases (alongside licensed titles such as Fraggle Rock and Strawberry Shortcake, and new ones such as Wally the Wizard and Spider-Ham), had a huge, palatial residence like Richie's; vaults full of cash and jewels like Richie's, and a sunny personality exactly like Richie's. He even looked a lot like Richie, and with good reason — more than a quarter-century earlier, Roy's artist, Warren Kremer, had created Richie Rich. (Roy's other co-creator, writer Lennie Herman, also wrote two other Star titles, Top Dog and Planet Terry.)
But Roy had one thing Richie, a young plutocrat in a country without aristocracy, didn't — royal status. Roy was the only child of King Regal and Queen Regalia of Cashalot, a small but incredibly wealthy country in an unspecified (but European-looking) part of the world. The first issue introduced the kingdom and the family, which also included ancestors, more distant members, and Roy's pet, a toothless crocodile named Gummy.
In #2, Roy got a couple of rival love interests. (He looked too young for such things, but royalty often plans out such affairs ridiculously far in advance.) Crystal Clear was an average kid, living in a nearby village, whom Roy liked — the sort of girl princes often take on as concubines. Lorna Loot (no relation) was, like Richie's non-girlfriend, Mayda Munny, sneaky, conniving and not very likable, but very wealthy — the sort of girl princes often take on as wives. Both stuck around for the duration of the series, but the wife/concubine question was never raised.
Of all the Star Comics originals, Royal Roy was the least durable. His title ran six issues, the last dated March, 1986, and he was never seen again. Later that year, Harvey resumed publication and put Richie Rich back on its schedule, and that was that.