Little Lotta And Richie Rich Illustrator Dies Age 92

Sid Couchey best Known for his humorous Harvey Comics drawings dead

Sid Couchey who died last week age 92 was an American comic book artist best known for his inventive work with Harvey Comics characters Richie Rich, Little Lotta and Little Dot. Couchey was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He counts Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon, Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon and Howard Pyle among his influences.

After enrolling in the Landon School of Illustration and Cartooning, a correspondence course out of Cleveland, he continued to practice his craft on the back of his school papers. When he was 14, he wrote to Walt Disney, and asked; “when I should come?”… “I’ve sharpened my pencils”… I’m ready.” However, Disney told Couchey that they weren’t quite ready for him. Couchey graduated from the Art Career School and the Cartoonists and Illustrators School (which became The School of Visual Arts), both located in New York City. For his first job after art school, Couchey assisted John Lehti on the comic strips Tommy of the Big Top and Tales from the Great Book. In his home, Sid displays an original piece from the Great Book strip, in which he appears as the census taker and scribe for the Pharaoh.In the early 1950s, Couchey worked on backgrounds for the Lassie, Big Town and Howdy Doody TV tie-in books. His first complete work was published in Hoot Gibson #6 and several Couchey-illustrated stories appear in Heroic Comics, published by Famous Funnies. Couchey’s long career stretched from serving as an assistant to Superman co-creator Joe Shuster to steady if uncredited work in a number of comics during the 1950s, Harvey in the 1960s and 1970s had a whole second career as a local-interest cartoonist, drawing comics about Champy, Lake Champlain’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster.

Couchey’s “big break” came when Harvey Comics advertised for cartoonists. A few of Couchey’s fellow art school graduates, who had started an art studio of their own, told him about the advertisements. His unpacked style brought many a Little Lotta story to life during the halcyon days of Harvey Comics. His first interview at Harvey Comics was with the man who turned out to be the elder statesman of Harvey cartoonists, Warren Kremer. He created all the spec sheets for the various characters and was a remarkably imaginative and accurate artist. I came there fresh out of art school. ‘Green’ is more appropriate than ‘fresh,’ but fortunately, Warren was also patient. He taught me what I needed to know about the Harvey kids so that I could go back up home to Essex, New York. He was also the first artist to introduce a real-life marriage proposal in a comic, by proposing to his wife in a Little Lotta edition. He was also one of six founders of the Adirondack Art Association in Essex and the Cartoon Museum .

Sid Couchey (May 24, 1919 – March 11, 2012)

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