Most Disturbing Cartoon Character: Casper the Friendly Ghost

It wasn’t until I found an issue of Casper the Friendly Ghost in a stack of old comics that I realized just how creepy Casper really is.

If you look at the cover, you’ll notice there’s two jokes in place here. First, there’s the innocuous joke where the dorky ginger kid says “weigh to go, Casper!” Then, there’s the second joke where Casper is rather cruelly reminded he is dead and has no physical form (hence the weightlessness).

As a life-long fan of cartoons, I’ve seen some disturbing stuff. I’ve seen, for example, the infamous Donald Duck propaganda film where Donald single-handedly defeats a group of Japanese soldiers. I’ve also seen the notorious marriage scene from The Little Mermaid in its original form. No cartoon though is quite as disturbing as Casper.

I can understand the intentions here: if kids are having trouble sleeping due to their fear of ghosts, let’s make a friendly ghost to put them at ease. It’d be nice if the ghost were a jolly old man who led a long, rich life, but instead we’re given this young boy who was taken much too early, and then we’re given a running gag where Casper occasionally forgets he’s dead and tries to do things like a real living boy. It’s like when Marmaduke thinks he’s a person… but sadder.

As creepy as Casper the Friendly Ghost is, he did manage to become a popular character. He was featured in many cartoon shorts, had his own comic series that ran more than 200 issues, and was the hero of the 1995 film Casper, which was an important film since it’s one of two films anyone can remember Bill Pullman in, and because it’s the least disturbing movie to ever star Christina Ricci. So I was thinking, if Casper is so popular, then maybe I can finally make some money by copying the formula of using a horribly dark idea in a humorous and cutesy way, so let me introduce my new creation, “Uncle Rasputin.” This Monk’ll make you cry uncle!

If you’re a fan of Harvey Toons like me, check out my review of an issue of Sad Sack.

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What’s your opinion of Casper the Friendly Ghost?


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