Even though political commercials stopped airing earlier this month, and will temporarily give us all a break from the onslaught of attack ads until the next go-around, the news cycle is still dominated by the presidential election that took place two weeks ago today. That's partly because of the subsequent fallout regarding the election itself, and partially because former President Barack Obama released the first part of his two-volume presidential memoir. In the press tour for his book, the 44th President of the United States invoked an iconic comic book character to describe his thoughts on his successor Donald Trump.
According to Obama, Trump can be compared to Harvey Comics' Richie Rich, the type of character he says is a "complaining, lying, doesn't-take-responsibility-for-anything type of figure."
“I think about the classic male hero in American culture when you and I were growing up: the John Waynes, the Gary Coopers, the Jimmy Stewarts, the Clint Eastwoods, for that matter," Obama said in a scathing interview with The Atlantic in support of the book. There was a code … the code of masculinity that I grew up with that harkens back to the ’30s and ’40s and before that."
The president added, "There’s a notion that a man is true to his word, that he takes responsibility, that he doesn’t complain, that he isn’t a bully—in fact he defends the vulnerable against bullies. And so even if you are someone who is annoyed by wokeness and political correctness and wants men to be men again and is tired about everyone complaining about the patriarchy, I thought that the model wouldn’t be Richie Rich—the complaining, lying, doesn’t-take-responsibility-for-anything type of figure.”
Richie Rich, of course, was created in 1953 as part of the Harvey Comics universe at the time. His first appearance — from creators Alfred Harvey and Warren Kremer — came in a September 1953 issue of Little Dot. As his story goes, the Rich family was so wealthy, Richie's middle was nothing but a dollar sign.
The most famous adaptation of the comic remains Macaulay Culkin's take on the character in the 1994 live-action Richie Rich. That feature performed admirably enough the studio ordered a sequel, Richie Rich's Christmas Wish, in 998 though the entire cast we replace. Fast forward to 2015, and Netflix reimagined the property for a live-action television series that ran for two seasons.0comments
Most recently, the character appeared in Netflix's animated Harvey Street Kids, voiced by The Boys star Jack Quaid.
Cover photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images & Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images