Welcome back to Rotten Ink! As you can see, we have found ourselves in the kingdom of Cashelot, a place that has the old world and modern mixed over the watchful eye of King Regal and Queen Regalia as well as their son Price Royal Roy, who love those who live on their land! But I guess I should say that it’s time once more to step into the world of Star Comics and talk about one of their original characters that tried to make Star the place for young readers to go when it came to kid’s comics! And for those wondering, Royal Roy was Stars answer for Ritchie Rich and caused the company a little bit of a headache, but we will get into that a little later in this update so if you are ready, let’s enter Cashelot and see what the Royal Family is up to.
Royal Roy is a young prince of the Kingdom of Cashelot, and he is loved by the people and is a well-behaved and noble kid who will do what he can to make things right to all he rules over. His parents are King Regal and Queen Regalia, and they are as well good people with King Regal being a little silly and Queen Regalia being sweet natured. Roy’s pet is a toothless crocodile named Gummy that acts like a dog and is as well friendly and protective of Roy. Speaking of protection, Roy also has a bodyguard named Ascott who watches after him as well as his parents. The castle also has some butlers including the older gentleman named Shuffles and the snooty Lord Proper who are also around and both watch after and help Roy. The creator of Royal Roy was Lennie Herman who was a longtime veteran of comic art and stories for Harvey Comics who sadly passed away in 1983, or so it is reported. The series of Royal Roy would only last six issues and almost got Marvel Comics, the parents company of Star Comics, into a lawsuit with Harvey Comics who claimed the character was too close to theirs…you guessed it, Ritchie Rich…nothing came of the lawsuit. And strangely enough in the early 1980’s, Harvey Comics was having money issues and Marvel was in talks to publish many of their classic characters, that is until two of the Harvey Brothers clashed over this and the deal was void. But really thanks to Harvey as Star become something better than just publishing comics based on dated characters for the then modern kids. Give me Royal Roy over Ritchie Rich and give me Star Comics over Harvey Comics any day! And with that said, I do enjoy some of Harvey comic series and characters.
I know this sounds like a broken record for you long time readers, but I have to stress that I truly think that Marvel pulled the plug on Star way too fast as some of the comics clearly found their readers as Top Dog, Thundercats, Care Bears, Heathcliff, Muppet Babies and Spider-Ham all lasted for pretty long runs, and I knew many kids from school that were reading them with Muppet Babies and Thundercats being very popular among my classmates. But also comics like Masters Of The Universe, SilverHawks and Ewoks were also read and discussed in the halls and on the playground. The part of the history of Star Comics that I find really weird is when Marvel decided to remove the Star brand from the covers of releases new and old but left the Star Comics Presents on the first interior page and ones that come to mind are Camp Candy and Police Academy both of whom started with issue one having Marvel on the cover and Star on the inside…just odd. And with it being 2023, I still would love to see Marvel Comics bring back the Star Comic line as younger readers right now are not being reached and it’s a big missed opportunity as the comic readership market is shrinking, and while I think bringing back Star would be a great idea, you know as well as I do that Disney will not invest any more money into the comics as they are way too busy flooding the market with the similar plotted and brand fatigued Marvel Movies and Streaming Shows to the masses. I miss the classic Marvel Comics Universe that for me defined the 1960’s-1990’s as I felt like the comics had great stories and that the company in general took more risks and the creators put more passion into the issues. The modern Marvel Comics seems to be more concerned with getting social media fans that are non-comic readers to be excited about social topics that they are shoehorning into the Marvel Universe in comics as well as all media. While I doubt this ever will happen, I hope that Marvel Comics one day can break away from Disney and become the leader in comic book industry and masters of creativity that they used to be.
When I was a kid, one of the things that I loved to get in the mail next to my comic subscriptions was the Del Monte Country Yumkins Plush Dolls, very cool plushes based on vegetables, fruit and even other things you would find on a farm like Scarecrow and a Black Bird. If I remember, you would have to send some proof of purchases and a little cash to Del Monte and they would then send you the plush you chose. Now I had a ton of these growing up as my Mom seemed to really enjoy ordering them for me as well and my top three favorite ones were Cobbie Corn, Cocky Crow and Sweetie Pea. They were made by Trudy and to me these little guys were great promo items to promote Del Monte canned & frozen fruits and veggies and as well was a great way to get kids to eat these types of foods. The County Yumkins started in 1982 and ran through around the early 1990’s and really was the company’s most popular promo items of all time and to say that the promotion was a hit would be an understatement. And in 2022 I was chatting with Juliet about them, and we decided that we were going to order four of them and display them in our upstairs workspace. And the first one I was able to get was Sweetie Pea from Etsy and then I got Cobbie Corn & Reddie Tomato from Ebay and finally we got Cocky Crow from Ebay to make up our shelf. And I broke down and had to get Snappy Bean that I picked up on Ebay and also got Country Stawberry off Etsy as they both had to join the collection as they were some of my favorites as well as a kid. Now I am not saying that all the other fellow Country Yumkins plush will not be bought to join the collection in the future, just not anytime soon. Check out the pictures below for the plush we bought as these are the pictures that the sellers used at the time of them being for sale.
So as you can see, Royal Roy was truly Star Comics attempt to capture the readership of Ritchie Rich and also I think was a “slap” to the face of Harvey Comics for not allowing Marvel to publish their characters and this was a way of saying see we can just create our own and compete for that kids comic market. And now it’s time for me to reread the Royal Roy series and see if it not only holds up to what I remember but also if it was a good alternative to Ritchie Rich. I would like to thank Lone Star Comics and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. So before we dive into the money pit, I would like to remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that, let’s see is Royal Roy holds up from what I remember as a kid reading.
Royal Roy # 1 **1/2
Released in 1985 Cover Price .65 Star Comics # 1 of 6
“Mystery Of The Missing Crown” in the Kingdom of Cashelot the people are happy to celebrate the birthday of their Prince Royal Roy and his father and mother (King Regal & Queen Regalia) are very proud of him as well, as he is kind and an over all great kid. But when King Regal and their bodyguard Ascott go to the royal vault in order to fetch the royal crown for the prince they find that it’s missing! King Regal gets all his men to search the castle and even his sister the Duchess Of Muchess shows up and lend her time to try and help. Meanwhile Roy and his toothless crocodile pet Gummy also start looking around and find that the missing crown is in a picture of their ancestor William The Warhorse and he was not wearing it earlier, but before Roy can show his dad, the crown is gone again. That night Roy gets a visit from the ghost of William The Warhorse who tells him that he stole the crown as a test and that he is proud of him and returns the crown and Roy wears it for the ceremony before all his people. The second story is called “Crocadog” and has Royal Roy and his toothless pet Gummy capture some bad poachers that have been hunting in the kingdom.
The first issue of Royal Roy really is a good standard 80’s Kids Comic that really would have been at home at Archie or Harvey Comics showing that Star Comics really was a competitor in that market at the time. The first story’s plot has a the ghost of a multiple-great grandfather of Roy stealing the youngster’s crown in order to test him to see if he would look for it himself, and after Roy does that The Ghost is proud of him and gives the crown back and all ends well as the people of Cashelot get to see their Prince get his crown. The second story is a quick one and has Gummy and Roy stopping some animal killers. Royal Roy, while rich and the Prince of a whole kingdom, is very caring and well behaved and is well loved by all that meet him. His pet Gummy is also very good and acts like a dog. Because he is missing his teeth, he is harmless and Roy also has parents that care and watch after him as well as a whole staff that works for his family that also seem to adore him. This issue has two stories with the first one being the best as I like the idea of a Ghost from his bloodline testing him to make sure Roy is worthy of caring on the families legacy. The stories do have a touch of Ritchie Rich, but has its own touch to the kid comic trope of a sweet rich kid whose money does not affect him being a good person. And best of all, I feel that they stories are charming and hold a very magical feel for young readers who wanted something more than just superheroes. The cover is eye catching for the time fit right at home in layout and design for kid’s comics. The interior art by Warren Kremer is great stuff and you can tell he was a veteran of Harvey Comics. Over all a good start to this series and let’s see what Roy has in store for us next.
Royal Roy # 2 **1/2
Released in 1985 Cover Price .65 Star Comics # 2 of 6
“The Grand Ball” Royal Roy is giving a tour of the castle and after the last one The King shows up and says he is happy it’s over as it makes him nervous having hundreds of tourists in the castle, and with that he runs into a young girl named Crystal Clear who he ends up giving a late tour to and then asks her to be his date for the ball that night, but this annoys Lorna Loot who has a crush on Roy as she wants to be a princess and is very rich and does not understand why Roy would choose a commoner girl over her. And she gets an idea after seeing the book Cinderella on her bookshelf. “Strangest Stranger” the night of the ball Roy and Crystal are having a great time when Lorna now dressed as Cinderella shows up complete with glass slippers annoys everyone trying to get Roy to notice her, and of course this does not work and Lorna leaves without Roy’s attention. The next day Roy calls Lorna to invite her to go on a hike with Crystal and him only for Lorna to yell at him cause her feet are swollen from the slippers. “Maneuvers” Royal Roy is woke up early in the morning by General Battlescar as it’s the day that Roy must attending the maneuver drills for the kingdom’s army, and Roy soon finds out the drills are just he and the General as Cashelot does not have a full army as they have not been in a war for over 900 years and all their weapons are made of cardboard! After playing along for a bit the drills are over, and Roy and the General head back to the castle and Roy is praised for his skills.
This second issue is just as fun as the first issue and has two tales of Royal Roy and his kingdom with one story being told in two parts. And I have to say all the stories in this one is lots of fun and I would say the two part story is the better of the two and that is barely as both are silly fun. Royal Roy once more in this issue shows that he is a caring young man who loves the people that make up his kingdom as well cares about the feelings of everyone, even people who annoy him. It’s also cool to see him fall in love in this issue and also shows that he kind of has a stalker who wants to be with him in order to become royalty. Crystal Clear is a young blonde girl who is very nice an captures the heart of Roy who clearly is crushing on her, and while she is from the common side of town, the Royal Family seem not to care as they see she is a good person. Lorna Loot is a very rich dark haired girl who is mean, pushy and has a crush on Roy’s power as she wants to become a Princess so bad, and will do whatever she can to get his attention. General Battlescar is crazy and seems to want a bigger army with weapons as he so wants to be in charge of soldiers, plus I love that he acts as if the cardboard weapons have real effects. This issue also has cameos by King Regal, Ascott and Shuffles all help add to the fun of the issue. The cover for this issue is pretty fun and showcases Roy pushing a crown that has a massive diamond on the top of it an the interior art by Warren Kremer is great as always. Another fun read an was just as entertaining as I remember it being as a kid, so let’s see if issue three holds up.
Royal Roy # 3 **1/2
Released in 1985 Cover Price .65 Star Comics # 3 of 6
“Curse Of The Prince Roy Dollar Bill” King Regal & Queen Regalia have decided to make a new dollar bill for the kingdom that will feature the face of Royal Roy who is a little embarrassed by this act. Meanwhile Archduke Kraven Von Krunch, the second cousin of the King wants to take over the kingdom and adds itching powder to the ink of the bills that way everyone who handles it will have a bad case of being itchy! And as this spreads all over the kingdom Roy along with Crystal Clear head to the creepy castle of Von Krunch to get answers as Roy knows his relative is to blame. “Into The Kreepy Kastle” Roy gets Ascott to drive him to the castle and tricks Von Krunch into touching the itchy dollar bills and finds that he has a cure for the itching that Roy takes to his kingdom, and also even though he did a bad thing Roy gives Von Krunch a gift of a box of coal and that makes him happy. In the end new Royal Roy bills are printed this time featuring the back of his head in order for people to tell the difference between the good and bad ones. “Driving Him Crazy” Royal Roy wears a mask in order to take his driving test and Ascott goes along for the ride, the tester is in a bad mood and makes the test super hard for the youngster who ends up passing due to the car having some hidden features. “What’s In A Name” a world famous mapmaker named G.O. Graffic gets a tour of the land by Royal Roy so that he can make a map of the kingdom and finds that the land is filled with pearls, oil, gold and silver and that the shape of the kingdom makes a dollar sign, hence the name of the kingdom being Cashelot.
This third issue delivers three tales of adventure for Royal Roy with one being told in two parts. And I would say that the best story has to be the one featuring the itchy dollar bills as its classic kid comic stuff and even features Archduke Kraven Von Krunch who has a castle that is protected by robotic skeletons as well as werewolves and masked henchman and this adds a kids horror comic feel to the tale. And this issue takes Roy from a haunted castle to getting a diver’s license to finally giving a tour of his land, and all are silly tales that deliver some cheesy entertainment for readers. Royal Roy shows that he also has the skills of a detective as he cracks a case that is affecting all the kingdom as well as knows how to drive like a stuntman and once more proves he is a good tour guide. Archduke Kraven Von Krunch is a jerk who wants to bring down his second cousin all because he wants to be the King, and he puts the townspeople through itchy pain in order to try and bring chaos, plus he also surrounds himself with monsters and ghouls. This issue also has many cameos from past issues including Crystal Clear, King Regal, Queen Regalia, Ascott, Lorna Loot, General Battlescar, Duchess Of Muchess, Lord Proper and added a new character to the lineup of sidekicks with that being G.O. Graffic. One thing that is odd is that Gummy, Roy’s pet toothless alligato,r disappeared for many issues and is not even mentioned after the first issue. The cover is pretty cool and has Roy standing being a giant cardboard cutout of a dollar bill and the interior art by Warren Kremer is as always great stuff and is what comes to mind when you think of classic kids comic artwork. The third issue is another good one and keeps the fun nature of the series going as well as keeps building on the world of Royal Roy by showing more people who live in the kingdom as well as landmarks in it. I will also say that this issue is just as fun as I remember it being when I first read it as a kid and I do love that they added some spooky stuff in the issue to add a truly amusement park haunted house feel.
Royal Roy # 4 **1/2
Released in 1985 Cover Price .65 Star Comics # 4 of 6
“The Curse Of The GoldEngaged Bridge” Royal Roy and Crystal Clear are hosting a TV Show about the sites and legends of Cashelot and all the while hiding and watching is Lorna Loot who is mad that Crystal is on TV and not her. But when Roy tells the legend and law of the GoldEngaged Bridge that is if a man is captured by a woman on the bridge they are set to be married in three days, it’s Lorna that rushes the bridge and captures Roy and now the two are set to be married so Lorna can be The Princess of Cashelot! Roy is upset by this law and tries to talk sense into Lorna only to find her to be a Bridezilla ordering massive cakes, rings and being just a spoiled brat. While on the bridge Roy and Crystal are talking and something she says gives him an idea to get out of this wedding. “Practice Makes Prefect” Roy has a great idea and with the help of his friends they are setting up Lorna for a tiring Princess training! She first is woke up super early to run war drills with General Battlescar, she then has to take Gummy, the toothless crocodile, for a wild walk, Lord Proper makes her wear over sized and heavy robes and crowns, the ghost of William The Warhorse tries to scare her away and the final straw is when she had to mix with the common people and she calls off the wedding and Roy is single once more. “Space Race Ace” General Battlescar is behind on time and wants for Cashelot to send a person to space and join the space race, but he only has around $24.00 to make the rocket ship! And he makes the ship from weird parts including a rowboat and a hot air balloon and quickly forces Royal Roy into a suit of armor and then onto his ship, and unknown to them all Gummy is asleep on top of the balloon! But things get scary when the balloon gets a hole in it via a hawk, Roy crashes into a river and it’s Gummy who gets him safely to shore! And in the end Gummy gets a medal for being Cashelot’s first every astronaut.
This is another fun issue that has two stories as well as a single page joke that is at the expense of Lord Proper. The main story has Royal Roy being forced to marry Lorna Loot because of an old legend and law and has to find away to break up the engagement as he wants nothing to do with her as she is a brat! The second story has Roy and his pet Gummy being forced into a make shift rocket ship that when crashing could have lead to Roy drowning if not for the help of his loyal crocodile pet. Both stories are really good but if I had to choose one, I would say the best is the Rocket Ship but only slightly as both adventures are really good! This issue also show cases many of the classic characters we have seen in past issues and is the return of Gummy who has been missing for many issues up to this point. I also like that the ghost of William The Warhorse makes a return as well and tries his best to scare away the would be Princess. We also now get a clear view that Royal Roy is in love with Crystal Clear and even thinks about making her his bride, and that they are now also co-hosts of a TV show. Lord Proper also shows a side of himself as he is helpful in the quest to break off the wedding of Roy and Lorna, showing that while he is a snob, he still does care about the Royal family he serves. The cover is pretty fun and has Royal Roy and Lorna Loot in the middle of her massive engagement ring and the interior art by Warren Kremer is as always great kid comic stuff! I am also very much looking forward to what the next issue has in store for me.
Royal Roy # 5 **1/2
Released in 1986 Cover Price .65 Star Comics # 5 of 6
“The Royal Olympics” The Kingdom of Cashelot has been selected to be the place to hold the Royal Olympics and Roy is selected to enter the games and has to be run through Royal training by the likes of Lord Proper, General Battlescar and his aunt Duchess Of Muchess and is all about things like eating soup right, pinning medals as well as proper hand writing. This goes on for days and Roy finally snaps under the pressure and is upset that he will let his parents down, but of course his father calms his nerves and assures him that they will love him no matter what. The next day is the Olympics and the first event is the soup eating, but before it can begin, a massive thunderstorm breaks out and the crowd starts to panic and almost riot to get away from the rain and lightning, and it’s Roy who ends up grabbing a microphone and getting them all to calm down and to get to shelter and out of the rain, and due to this behavior and the events getting rained out that Royal Roy is given the gold medal. “Ship Shapes” Royal Roy takes Crystal Clear to the family’s yacht that is something very special as he plans to race it that weekend in a contest, but also in the water is Archduke Kraven Von Krunch is wants to sink the boat so that he can save Roy and he thinks the King will give him whatever he likes for doing so, but every time he tries he fails as the yacht can turn into a submarine, a helicopter as well as an off road vehicle. In the end it’s Archduke Kraven Von Krunch who is saved by Royal Roy as he almost goes over a waterfall and to show his gratefulness he becomes the janitor of the yacht during the big race that Roy of course wins.
We get two Royal Roy adventures in this issue and both a very different in nature with the big connection is both are about competition with one being how to be Royalty and the other being ready for a boat race! The first story is about the Royal Olympics and that Roy is feeling the stress of it all do to all his training that is all about being perfect, and this makes him feel like if he screws up that he will be letting his parents down. The second story has Roy on his super yacht sailing around and he is trying to show off to his crush Crystal, all the while his relative is trying to sink the ship in order to be a “hero” that saves him. Both stories are entertaining in their own way but the better of the two is the Royal Olympics that has Roy learn how to eat soup and even has cameos from many of the characters we have meet along the way in previous issues. Also I have to mention that the Archduke Kraven Von Krunch who is a blood relative to Roy so badly craves power and riches that he is willing to put his own family in danger in order to try and gain them both…like he uses bombs and such to try and sink a ship…the explosions could have also killed Roy! The cover on this issue is okay and has Roy running a race to get to a crown finish line, The Royal Olympics art is done by Warren Kremer and is great and the interior art done by Ship Shapes was done by Steve Stiles and is as well good stuff. The fifth issue keeps up the entertaining value of this Star Comic series and let’s see if the sixth and final issue has in store for us.
Royal Roy # 6 **1/2
Released in 1986 Cover Price .65 Star Comics # 6 of 6
“The Secret Power Of Cashelot” while in the Royal Library in the castle Roy and his friend Crystal Clear find an old map in one of the books that leads to the power of the kingdom! And of course Archduke Kraven Von Krunch who was visiting the King over hears the kids talking about the map and decides that if he can find this power than he can be in charge of the Kingdom! Royal Roy, Crystal Clear as well as Ascott head down a secret passage deep into the basement of the castle and all the while behind them is Von Krunch who ends up getting lost and is so mad that he jumps up and down in a fit of anger. Roy and friends end up finding that the power that is spoke about on the map is just a big fuse box! And in the end the floor under the silly Von Krunch gives way and he falls into the fuse box and gets burnt up and has to make up a lie in order to explain why we was following them. “Great Scout” in this adventure Roy wants to become a Royal Scout and learn about nature and camping, but sadly he is shutdown when Lord Proper gets involved and takes the fun out of all things camping. But after a bear scares Proper and he and Roy get lost in the woods, it’s really like scouting that gets them back home and causes Royal Roy and Lord Proper to come up with a new club called Roy Scouts.
Well we are at the final issue of Royal Roy and it has been a six-issue adventure that really was a fun and silly read and showcased why younger readers in the mid 80’s enjoyed this comic series as for me Royal Roy was way better than Ritchie Rich who I did read when I was a kid as well. The two stories in this issue are pretty good with the first one being a mystery map that is said to lead to the power of the kingdom that of course is just a big fuse box and then the second one is all about Lord Proper taking the fun out of scouting and learning a lesson that learning about the land and nature is better than royal rules. The first story called The Secret Power Of Cashelot is the better story of the two as it has a mystery feel and even a hint of spooky haunted house as Roy and his friends travel down a dark staircase with only a candle to light the way. While I feel that the story Great Scout is good is also is slightly bland compared to the other stories we have had in the past issues. In the final issue we also get two small gag pages and one of them allow Gummy to have his final appearance in the series. Speaking of other characters, besides of course Royal Roy the other characters that appear in this swan song issue includes Crystal Clear, Lord Proper, Archduke Kraven Von Krunch, Ascott and King Regal. And I have to say that sadly this does not feel like a final issue and it’s clear that the creative team was not aware that the series was coming to an end as it seems like the characters as well as the readers just did not get closure and that’s a real shame as for an original character like this for Star Comics he should have gotten a true final issue. The thing about Royal Roy is that at first glance to really do get that Ritchie Rich knock off vibe, but when you read his issues you see that he truly is a different character and the only real connection between the two is that they are young and rich. It would be interesting if Marvel Comics would revisit the classic Star Comics characters and set them in modern time so characters like Royal Roy, Planet Terry, Wally The Wizard would all be older and we could then follow the relative of Top Dog! For me that would be an interesting idea, and I think they make them for the ages for the readers who grew up with these characters so we see what their lives are now like. The cover for this issue is cool and has Roy opening a glowing door and the interior art by Warren Kremer is as good as always and his kid comic work is top notch. Over all Royal Roy is a great kids comic and a great Star Comics original characters and if you have not read this series you should check it out and I would also say it could be a good comic series to get younger readers into comics that are not superheroes. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Warren Kremer used in this series.
Royal Roy and the people of Cashelot sadly have been long forgotten at Marvel Comics and with Disney in control I fear that they never will see the light of print again in new stories and adventures, and we will be lucky to get them in reprint paperback novels and digital comics (Yuck!). But while I feel Marvel Comics has been a shell of itself for decades now I hope some day the House Of Ideas returns to it’s full glory, and we get the amazing stories and characters back as the focus away from pleasing social media none comic readers with “topical” tales that lack heart. Well for your next update heart and muscles is what you would have to have in order to win as we will be heading to a “Made For TV” update and cover the 1977 World’s Strongest Man contest! So until next time, read a Star Comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! Oh and make sure to lift those weights and drink that protein shake as this Strongest Man contest is all about the power.