Spooky doing what he does best.


Original Medium: Comic books
Published by: Harvey Comics
First Appeared: 1953
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When Casper the Friendly Ghost was just an animated character at Famous Studios, with a cartoon coming out every couple of months at most and disappearing almost immediately, writers could …

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… get away with a certain amount of repetition — in fact, they could (and did) use the same story over and over. But when he started appearing in comic books, with multiple stories per issue, and back issues tending to linger around the house for comparison, there needed to be a little more variety. There, Casper needed a supporting cast.

Harvey Comics, which took over publishing Casper's comics in 1952, acted quickly to fill the void. By the middle of the decade, Casper had a ghost horse (Nightmare, no relation), a ghost family (The Ghostly Trio) and had become a regular playmate of Wendy the Good Little Witch. One of his earliest and most successful supporting characters was Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost, who first appeared in Casper the Friendly Ghost #10 (June, 1953).

As the name implies, Spooky was a tough guy. Like a lot of fictional tough guys, he spoke with a Brooklyn accent; thus, his girlfriend's name was Poil, not Pearl. One of her major functions was to curb Spooky's toughness, i.e., convince him not to scare people so much. (Yelling "Boo!" at unsuspecting mortals was about as anti-social as he got. He was like a neighborhood bully who threatens a lot, but never beats anybody up.) This prompted strategems on Spooky's part to enjoy the thrill of scaring people without Poil catching him.

A couple of years later, Spooky got his own comic. The first issue was dated November, 1955. And like most Harvey characters, he had a few ancillary titles as well, such as Spooky Spooktown (1961-76), Tuff Ghosts Starring Spooky (1962-72) and Spooky Haunted House (1972-75). When Casper returned to animation, Spooky wasn't as prominent as some of the others, but he hasn't been completely absent. Actors who have done his voice include Rob Paulsen (Gusto Gummi, Gladstone Gander) and Samuel Vincent (Sonic the Hedgehog, Edd in Ed, Edd & Eddy).

During the 1970s, Harvey Comics started to have trouble scaring up readers. All of their titles faltered during that decade, and were gone in the next. Spooky's title gave up the ghost with its 161st issue (September, 1980). There was a brief revival in the '90s, but it's years since any of the Harvey characters have appeared regularly in comics.

In animation, Spooky will no-doubt continue as a supporting character in Casper's sporadic appearances, but doesn't seem likely to return to stardom.


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Text ©2005-010 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Harvey Entertainment.