In the mid 1970s the Harvey Comics line of children's comics - starring giant-headed children suffering from various obsessive-compulsive disorders - had reached a high water mark, with 32 different Richie Rich titles alone. What do successful businesses do when they've reached creative capacity? Why, expand further, of course! Expand with whatever ideas you can come up with in the course of one three-martini lunch!
Adam Award$, who does "good turns" for everybody, sports a garish blazer and an anachronistic buzz-cut. Even though his deeds have earned him a giant trophy, he will never be seen anywhere but this mysterious one-panel promotional ad. Even more obscure is his fellow panelist at the Copyrighted Names Award Dinner - "Komix Kidd" - whose appearance here marks his one and only time in the spotlight, or rather, four seats from the spotlight. And the less said about "Nap Sack", the better. Seated just left of Mr. Rich, however, is a mysterious figure in a bellman's uniform who would soon burst onto the comics scene with all the fury of an unleashed hurricane - Billy Bellhops!
Billy Bellhops! Able to bend steel in his bare hands! Change the course of mighty rivers! And, in... oh, forget it, he's a bellhop. That's what Harvey thought kids wanted to read in 1977 - stories about kids slightly older than themselves who work in hotels for tips. And they want to be reassured that this comic contains the wildest story they will ever read, ever, because God forbid they'd put this comic down and instead go read that Captain America comic by Jack Kirby where the Red Skull is about to crush a blinded Captain America with a rock, while the castle of Dr. Arnim Zola, an evil scientist with a face in his chest and no head and a lab full of genetic freaks, explodes around them. There's no WAY that story could possibly be any wilder than a story about a bellhop and some lemons. LEMONS, people!
I'm going to forestall the inevitable comment about child labor laws and nepotism, and... well, no, I'm not. Billy Bellhops doesn't go to school, he works in a luxury hotel in Miami where his dad is the concierge. Wonder how Billy got that sweet gig! Beats learning that boring geography, doesn't it kids! I bet you'd like to work instead of going to school! Write your congressman and tell him!
The snappy Ernie Colon artwork illustrates just how to handle those guests who seem to want to carry their own luggage. Politely, that's how.
Remember, just because a bag ticks, that doesn't make it a bomb! It might just be a criminal with a suitcase full of counterfeit money trying to make you THINK it's a bomb! J'ever think of that?
Here in the midst of the "lemon" story - the wildest story you will ever read, remember - we find out Billy likes girls.
For most stories with 3 beauty paegant contestants and a bellhop, this would merely the jumping-off point for wild sexy adventure. However, this is a Harvey comic, so all you're gonna get is "smooch-ola".
So that's what the kids are calling it these days.
I see the "candy man" has arrived to make sure the girls have all the necessary "goodies". Note the second panel where we see actual (non-kissing) TIPPING in action. This is how you show your appreciation for services rendered. You'd be surprised how many people don't tip. Don't be a cheap loser! Leave a tip, you asshole! If you can't afford to tip, stay the hell home!
So the girls eat so much candy they become, um, normal looking. That's the Candy Man's plan - to liberate them from the shackles of male-dominated stereotypes of female beauty! You go girls! Up from under!
Well, no, he's trying to fatten them up so the beauty contest is full of chubbies, somehow thereby convincing the tourists to go to California instead of Miami. Because when you see people who aren't rail-thin, you have no choice but to vacation in California. I understand that we are discussing a one-shot Richie Rich spinoff here, but still, that's some champion half-assed comic book villian logic there, to be sure.
By the way, the "lemon" angle is that the girls are contestants in the Miss Miami Lemon Of The Year Contest. There! Wildest story you'll ever read!
Billy Bellhops is so helpful he carries luggage onto a plane which is then hijacked, which means that in one comic book Billy Bellhops is forced to deal with two separate instances of bombs in suitcases. Only one issue in and already this concept is running out of steam. Also note the stewardess, like the beauty queens, is instantly smitten with Billy Bellhops. Them gals love a teenager in uniform!
Dubious as to the marketability of their new hospitality-industry-themed character, Harvey Comics left the fate of Billy Bellhops in the hands of its readers.
And, as this comic book is the one and only appearance of Billy Bellhops ever (except for the fan fiction, of course) it's safe to say the comic book reading world of 1977 was less than interested, even though this comic did feature the wildest story ever. Comic book fans don't know wild when they see it!
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