Well, let's check in on Richie Rich and see what he's up to. Hey, it looks like he's still rich.
On the surface this looks to be a fairly standard mid-60s Richie Rich story; Richie enters race with race car. Ho-hum.
But this story takes the time to focus our attention on the real center of our drama, Cousin Reggie. Who is Reggie? Why is he so mean? Must he always compete with Richie? We're never told.
You'd think Reggie's dialog is mere exaggeration, but the fact is that I've read way too many Richie Rich comics and it's the truth - Richie Rich DOES always win. Think about it. Think about the powerful envy building up in Reggie, the rage at a universe that never, ever allows Reggie to come out on top in any situation with his cousin. Think about how that would warp a kid. This is a kid that definitely needs all the therapy money can buy. Luckily, he's rich.
Speaking of therapy, I think a therapist would describe Reggie's car here as a classic textbook example of 'overcompensation'.
Reggie's race strategy seems to be not to drive faster than Richie, but to drive just fast enough to screw with Richie, and no faster. You begin to see why Reggie always loses everything.
Remember this is 1966, a full year before "Speed Racer" would premiere on Japanese TV with its tricked-out super mechanical race cars. Great cartoon minds think alike!
Undeterred by the giant mechanical hammer, Richie grits his teeth and drives on, as Gloria and Mr. Rich watch desperately from the stands. You know who isn't in the stands? You know who is completely absent from his son's life except to deliver contempt and abuse? Reggie's father. I think we begin to understand where the blame might lie for Reggie's psychological hangups.
Uh oh Reggie! Even your oil skid has backfired. Remember to turn into the skid, drivers. Has Reggie any more tricks up his metaphoric sleeve?
Yes he does. The old "pretend I'm hurt and Richie will help me" trick. Works every time, because Richie Rich is a fine upstanding young man with compassion for all, while Reggie is psychologically crippled by at least six of the seven deadly sins.
And finally. FINALLY. At LAST Reggie has what he's longed for his entire life; victory over Richie Rich. Nothing matters but this victory. Nothing can EVER take away the satisfaction of beating Richie Rich. NOTHING!!!
BUT... UH... BUT... WINNING....
And it's at this precise moment that this seemingly inconsequential Richie Rich story approaches something resembling perfection, as we are given, in the space of one single panel, a shockingly detailed look directly into the tortured soul of Reginald Van Dough. All the jealousy, the bitterness, the frustration.
Why, Reggie? Why does victory taste like ashes?
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