You are bound to find tons of Spider-Man and Superman comics, merchandise, and cosplayers at any convention around the world. These superheroes and countless others have driven the industry for the past sixty years, but comics featuring light-hearted and comedic characters also helped establish comic book culture, especially the characters from Harvey Comics.
Jonathan Sternfeld, the founder and curator of The Harvey Mercheum website, is trying to promote the legacy of the Harvey characters that he loves, and connect with other fans and collectors of Richie Rich, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Hot Stuff, and others.
Sternfeld’s memorabilia display at Terrificon 2022 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut showed off some of his rare collectibles, drawing in curious browsers. Although Sternfeld often has to tell convention-goers that his items “are not for sale”, he is happy to discuss the rare pieces and Harvey Comics in general.
Sternfeld’s fandom started as a child when one day “I was at a day camp, and I found a copy of a comic book behind a bench and started reading it and asked the kids around me if it belonged to them. They said no, so I took it home with me. It was Richie Rich’s Inventions #1 and it had come out the previous summer so who knows how long it was sitting there.”
After that fateful moment, Sternfeld began collecting Richie Rich comics, including those issues that crossed over into other Harvey Comics, as he would “…go to my local 7-11 and browse the spinner rack by the hot dogs and buy them”.
Sternfeld then branched out into collecting anything Harvey Comics related and says (like many other collectors) that “One of my biggest problems is that I am completionist, and if I find a Richie puzzle or game,a nd they made one of the same with Casper, I have to get that one too.”
Sternfeld points out that there was never a lot of Richie Rich comic merchandise produced, which led him down the rabbit hole of Richie Rich movie memorabilia.
As far as the toughest character to collect, according to Sternfeld, it is none other than the most easily recognizable Harvey character, Casper, as “Casper is the toughest to collect because he, by far, has the most merchandise and it goes back the farthest. So Casper isn’t difficult to collect because of availability, but because of volume and price.”
Sternfeld intends to keep updating the website with new finds and Harvey Comics news, and showcase some of his collectibles at local conventions.
Out of all of the items in his collection, the one that brings him the most joy is one of the vintage spinner racks from his youth. Sternfeld says that the one he owns features illustrations of Spider-Man, Superman, Archie, and of course, Richie Rich at the top and is the one that he is most sentimental about.
And like any collector, he’d love to acquire another one. “My friendly local comic shop has one just like it, and I keep asking him when he is going to sell it to me!”
If you’d like to learn more about Harvey Comics and get a look at Sternfeld’s collection, visit the Harvey Mercheum right here.