Cartoonist Rick Grimes created a number of original stories (or strips, if you like) for various adult and underground comic book publications from 1976 to 1996, including: DR. WIRTHAM’S COMIX AND STORIES, THE ONE, TABOO, and RARE BIT FIENDS, among various others.
Among the weird, wonderful, and downright disturbing characters Rick created over these near 30 years, such oddities include: Weird Dick and the Professor, the Puzz Fundles (Thripey Skake, Von Sticky, Meemo, Primitive Iggy, Gluggiggla, Malloon, and Gufscha), Sicky Claws & co., etc.
Rick was born in Franklin, Kentucky. As a child, his family moved about for a time before finally settling for good in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1964.
He drew from early childhood, often trying to copy newspaper and comic book characters, (if not hastily from the TV screen), as well as generating his own notebook paper grotesques during school recesses and the like.
Grimes’s first published image was a ballpoint ‘Abraham Lincoln’ drawing as featured in the local newspaper, The Shreveport Times, circa 1973.
In 1976, Rick created two of his earlier and most important characters; ‘the Professor’ in January and ‘Weird Dick’ the following May. To this day, he still considers both characters his most significant creations, even though both have only appeared, as yet, in a few published stories.
From Sept. ’76 to March ’78, Rick attended first and second years of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey, where he met fellow artists, and friends, who became responsible for or indirectly connected to most of his published appearances to date. His first winter at the school saw the creation of the first “Weird Dick and the Professor” comic page (in the Kubert School’s pioneer class yearbook, MANTICORE #1) as well as their fundamental five-page followup story “Head Chez”, which took dreams, cinema and the collages of Max Ernst as it’s inspiration.
That following year in 1977, Rick’s full-page pin-up “Elly” was published in the second Kubert School zine PARADE OF GORE #1, which also featured the work of Steve Bissette (front cover), Rick Veitch, Fred Greenberg, Larry Loc, and Cara Sherman, among others. “Elly” was later republished in Steve Bissette and John Totleben’s TABOO #2.
In 1978, Rick contributed two one-image panels titled, “Kriturz”, to Fred Greenberg’s OMNIBUS #1 & #2 digests (Last Minute Productions). Issue #1 came out in March ’78, and #2 the following summer.
Following his return to Shreveport, Grimes generated and continued further story cycles using the Weird Dick character. Though carrying all of this into the early 1980’s, most of these projects remain unrealized and certainly unpublished.
In 1981, the since-completed “Head Chez” story was published in former classmate Ken Feduniewicz’s fine art fanzine THIRD RAIL #1.
That same year came creation and completion of the complex and bizarre “Sicky Claws Conquers the Weird Dicks” for Clifford Neal’s DR. WIRTHAM’S COMIX & STORIES #7/8.
Bordering on self-parody the mayhemic story relates the conflict to the faux finish of newly upsurgent childhood characters with somewhat diminished versions of Weird Dick, (very much out of his creator’s usual expected contexts for him), and some of his “friends” the aforesaid characters Rick had been living with, actively working on and trying to establish.
Having found Sicky’s gang of ‘holiday helpers’ workable, Grimes, in an April ’82 notebook newly redrew and gave names to another crowd of childhood characters. Dubbed “The Puzz Fundles” they soon appeared in six one-pagers in the back of Rick Veitch’s THE ONE. This time leaving out the dubious abuse of unrelated characters, the strips, (relying less on the contrived burlesque of sadism in ‘Sicky Claws’ and more on the traditional, tho’ crazily refocused, movie staples), follow the ever-growing ‘family’ of oddballs and their escalating confusions in continuously changing residences.
In the late ’80s and early ’90s, inclusive of appearances in DR. WIRTHAM’S COMIX & STORIES #10 and ‘co-conspirator’ Larry Loc’s DOG*STAR FUNNIES xerox-zine, Grimes appeared in all but the first issue of Steve Bissette’s TABOO. Many more storytelling approaches emerged to feed the book’s driving premise.
A few minor pieces, and co-design of another barely-circulated DOG*STAR FUNNIES ; then, the mid ’90s peaks of dream stories in Rick Veitch’s RARE BIT FIENDS, and creation of the febrile “Pills for Miss Betsy”, published in Britain in 1994 via Dave Mitchell.
On a parallel course especially in the last decade, Grimes has also segued into ‘minimalist’ comic experiments and ‘quasi-collage’ writing such as the completed (and indexed) “The Dissolute Lot of Butterchurn Dribble”.
Describing himself as easily bored and so, ever-searching for yet another possible approach to his art, another “clever (if not opportunistic),” way of doing it, Rick promises further use of The Puzz Fundles characters, partly in the pages of a completely redeveloped GOOZLE KOMMIX, (a former almost-was) and the establishment at some point of the Weird Dick stories.
He would also like to return to the so-named ‘trance-narrative’ style seen in “Cactus Water” (TABOO #3) and “Pills for Miss Betsy” – and looks forward to serving up new items on this website! –RH/RG 12/’08