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Casper The Friendly Ghost Becomes SoHo Art Star

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A friendly ghost and a poor little rich boy are just some of the old friends you'll meet at a new museum exhibit in SoHo about some of the most beloved comic book and cartoon characters of all time. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

The comic book series “Harveyland” was always a happy place, full of cheerful characters like Casper the Friendly Ghost, children Little Dot and Richie Rich and Wendy the Good Little Witch.

"They were all kindhearted, gentle souls and all their stories kind of showed how to be a good person,” says Karl Erickson, director of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in SoHo.

Now the beloved comic book characters are featured in MOCCA’s new exhibit, "The Art of Harvey Comics," which highlights the comics created or popularized by the legendary Harvey comic book publisher, which was founded in New York in 1941 by Alfred Harvey. Characters like Casper and Richie Rich became so popular that they eventually made it to the silver screen.

MOCCA Chairperson Ellen Abramowitz knew the Harvey family from her days at an upstate sleepaway camp.

"When I knew we were doing the show, I called up [Alfred Harvey’s son] Adam Harvey, who put me in touch with his other brothers and they actually loaned us some of the work for the show right here," says Abramowitz.

The exhibit shows artists’ preliminary sketches next to the finished comic.

"All these comics came out before the Photoshop and computer era. You can really see how worked over by hand and handmade the comics were,” says Erickson. “You see the touch of the artist in there, just basically how everything was laid out all right there on the surface. So it's a great learning tool as well as a fantastic exhibition."

Abramowitz says the exhibit draws attention to the eight-year-old museum's mission, “to really share the art form of comics, cartoon art, graphic illustration, animation, any form of the art."

"The Art of Harvey Comics" runs through April 18 at 594 Broadway, Suite 401. The suggested donation is $5, and members and children under 12 get in for free. For more information, visit www.moccany.org.

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