Howdy! This page is part of a guide to comic books recommended for younger readers (along with some stuff their parents might like as well. This page covers the letter "H." Other books are linked to below.

So, come celebrate that groovy, geeky, magical medium that we all grew up on... and share that special sense of wonder with someone smaller and newer than you. By the way, this is a work in progress, and your recommendations are always welcome... )

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"The Harvey Comics Treasury, Volume 1"
(Dark Horse, 2010)

A full-color Harvey Comics omnibus... For the simple pleasures of Casper and Wendy, Little Dot and all the rest, this book should be a real treat. (-)

"The Harvey Comics Treasury, Volume 2"
(Dark Horse, 2010)

This volume focusses on that rascally little devil, Hot Stuff, as well as the dopey giant Stumbo and some other minor characters... (For more Hot Stuff adventures, see the volume of his cartoons listed below...) (-)

"The Harvey Girls: Harvey Comics Classics, v.5"
(Dark Horse, 2008)

Well, here's the good news: this generously-packed volume collects vintage cartoons from the late, great Harvey Comics group, wholesome family-oriented comics from the 1950s and '60s that were geared towards very young readers. Parents who are looking for comic books that aren't overly violent or overly sexualized will be well advised to check these books out, since there is virtually nothing else like it on the market today. Now for the downside: I have been eagerly awaiting a reissue project for the great, goofy "Little Dot" comic, which I would love to introduce to my young daughter. I am sad, though, that I'm going to have to skip this particular volume, since it also includes cartoons featuring Little Lotta, an overweight, food-crazed "big girl" with superhuman strength who is kindly, but also prone to freakish feats of strength, sometimes to thwart bullies and bad guys, but often simply as an extension of her image as an awkwardly large, boyish girl. Even as a child, I considered Lotta to be an offensive character, and since food issues are so psychologically charged and fraught with danger in our society, that I would never want to introduce this troublesome, horribly retrograde character to any small girl. Little Lotta can stay in the rubbish heap of history as far as I'm concerned. On the other hand, Little Dot is a kook, but she's a fun, harmless kook, and I really, really wish the publisher had made a full volume of her stuff available, with just her stories and no one else. Well, maybe in the future, we'll get our wish... If anyone is listening out there, hey, how about a giant-size, full-color collection of classic "Little Dot" cartoons? I would be the first in line to pick *that* one up! (B)

"Hot Stuff: Harvey Comics Classics, v.3"
(Dark Horse, 2008)

When I was little I also enjoyed an issue or two of Hot Stuff, about a mischievous little demon who sometimes does good deeds just to irritate his demonic family... Kind of like Dennis The Menace taken to fiery, supernatural extremes. I haven't picked this collection up, but I imagine it's pretty fun. Like the other "Harvey Classics," it reprints some adventures in color, and others in black-and-white. Also features some back-up stories from Stumbo The Giant and the Devil Kids. (-)

"Houdini: The Handcuff King"
Written by Jason Lutes
Illustrated by Nick Bertozzi
(Hyperion, 2008)

A fine, fast-flowing graphic novel that tells the tale of a single day in the life of fabled escape artist Harry Houdini, as he spars with the press and dazzles the public, worries over his status as one of the world's most famous people, and performs one of the insane, death-defying acts that made him a legend. Writer/illustrator Jason Lutes has a very rewarding style, and a nice grasp of historical subject matter. This modest volume would make a great resource for anyone researching Houdini, and gives a good sense of what his life was like. It's also a fun read. (B+)

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