(1976-1978)

 

MANTICORE (1976)

 

Rick’s first published work, “Weird Dick and the Professor”, was in the October 1976 Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art Inc. pioneer class yearbook, MANTICORE #1. Each student did one page, and also drew their own character on the cover (inked by Steve Bissette). Also featuring: Joe Kubert, Mark DeMicco, E. F. Pasanen, Rick Taylor, Larry Nibert,  Elaine Heinl, Steve Barnes, Edmund F. Foley, Jr., John Papesca, Sam Kujava, Benito Ruiz, Rick Veitch, H. Webster, Tom Yeates, Greg Malson, Stephen Bissette, Betty Chafetz, Cara Sherman, Betsy Ambielli, Jack Forcier, Ron Zalme, and Ken Feduniewicz.   

RICK GRIMES: “MANTICORE itself is one of those things, mixed up beast that it is, you wish wasn’t following along after you. I could be ever-embarrassed by it, but what-the-heck, we all did the best we could?

It’s like telling someone with some physical flaw that they have it, like it’s big news.

We already know: ‘Improvement’ is just a nip and tuck away.

Just look at some of the fanzines around you don’t feel so ‘bad’.

 

I did draw the Weird Dick figure on the cover and Steve [Bissette] inked it. An odd first for me then, and maybe the only time to date anyone else has inked over my lines.

Not only was the cover depicting the school, my story page, Weird Dick and the Professor, (as well as it’s five page followup), were set inside the so-called Mansion [Kubert art school].

[…]  The whole strip is a reflection of the place’s initial effect on me.

 

Also, after I left New Jersey, I may’ve been the only one of us to actually send copies of MANTICORE to the Library of Congress via the Copyright Office to copyright my page.

It’s odd to think it may still be there or that someone dutifully microfilmed it all!” — Rick Grimes (December 22, 2008).

– “WEIRD DICK AND THE PROFESSOR” is available to read here, along with full comments…

 

 

THE JOURNAL OF POPULAR CULTURE (1977)

 

Journal of Popular Culture

In 1977, both Rick’s “Weird Dick and the Professor” and “Another Duck” appeared in Jack Venooker and Warehouse Comix Worx’s THE JOURNAL OF POPULAR CULTURE #1 (feat. Jack Venooker, Stephen Bissette, Rick & Tom Veitch, George Erling, Frabbit, Tucker Petertil, Al Greenier, Howard Cruse, Joel Milke, E. F. Pasanen, Ray Weiland, Eric Ulvog, Doug Hansen, Kathleen Kehoe, and Sam Kujava).

 

GRIMES: “Not only was Weird Dick and the Professor my first published comic page, it was also my second! Already a reprint. […] Jack Venooker was good enough to include it in what I thought was a more apt place for it. Authentic underground flavor. […]

Another Duck was one of those sloppy class assignments run amuk. It got laughs, so there it is.

[…] He’s the deathknell of all the lame-ass attempts to trot out the same old duck-rabbit-dog-pig combos like they’re brand new gleaming ideas. […]” — Rick Grimes (December 22, 2008).

{The above stories and many others are also available for your unremitting critical scrutiny under the ‘Art/early comics’ lists of the drop downs at the top of this site page. Jus’ hover and click, ya nut!}

 

 

PARADE OF GORE (1977)

 

Parade of GoreRick’s full-page pin-up “Elly” and text piece “The Seed of Shock” were both published in the second Kubert Art School zine, PARADE OF GORE #1 (1977), a publication also featuring fellow students Steve Bissette (front cover), Rick Veitch, Thomas Ricotta, Fred Greenberg, Larry Loc, M. Kelly, Ernie Pasanen, Scott Beachler, Tom Mandrake, Chris Kalnick, Joe Ragusa, Tom Yeates, Art Raveson, Rick Taylor, J. Schwartz, Marc Vargas, John Totleben, Joe Morello, Mark Dennis, Craig Berman, J. Millard, Kim DeMulder, G. O’Reilly, Dave Dorman, Ron Randall, Cara Sherman, and Mike Wallster. “Elly” was later republished in TABOO #2.

 

 

GRIMES: “PARADE OF GORE: Its reputation may precede it, but any real copy, if ever found, in hand, would soon deflate any mythic expectations.

Again, everyone did what they could on it. But, I always thought it was just MANTICORE #2 with black splats; that only the outside, (though there are nice contributions inside, too, in the general sense), fulfilled our initial vision of it. Not because mine is the back cover. I also had a text story I wrote, inside, usually rightfully ignored, (my response to an illo by Fred Greenberg that I loved. One he already had about, someplace); it ‘belongs’ in an sf fanzine of the day. Steve [Bissette] and probly Larry [Loc] and I were the ones first stirred up to have the thing, once Fred had generously offered to print it. He was never critical of any of us when, perhaps, he could have been. We all put a little money in on it, I think, to defray the costs for Fred. So, none of us were about to loom over anyone to do their part our way. I wouldn’t’ve had the nerve.

 

I thought of the title, in that initial talk the few of us had with Fred when we thought it up. (I had at one time wanted to call a comic Zoo Parade which had already been used years before, {by Marlin Perkins!}. No one knew this later. I remember them or us having art all over {the floor} trying to get some page flow out of the thing. And wagging boxes of them to ‘the City’ (New York), the convention, for the expected minor avoidance and dismay of anyone willing to touch it.

Glancing through it again today, it really isn’t any worse than similar things, such early work. What it would’ve taken to be crazier enough to suit me then I wouldn’t and didn’t know. Guess, the covers seemed like false advertising. Not enough ‘gore’ inside. Too much leaning on fantasy pin ups! Had forgotten alot of what’s in it, even [John] Totleben’s fine centerspread and Larry’s ‘acid troll’ (no doubt back from recent bloodshed) – both were pages they’d been working on anyway, ‘for’ class.

 

My back cover, (named after the partly visible label of a jelly jar), I believe I’d actually already done that summer before the second class came. Quieter. Not at my usual board. It had nothing to do with anything or anyone but putting the ugly headed, ‘warning’ thing on paper. All very purifying. Remember Joe [Kubert] saw it. And Ernie [Pasanen] and his girlfriend. It didn’t even bother me like it might’ve once.

The sick demonic head with its cat whiskers and baline ‘teeth’ harks back to some really disturbing creature on a Marvel Monster magazine cover painting, possibly year or two before PARADE OF GORE or Kubert school in their monster boom of the mid seventies. I don’t have the magazine anymore because it bothered me! This big hell beast with a really nasty, soul-snuffing leer. [See: Monsters Unleashed #10, February 1975. Art by Jose Antonio Domingo].

 

Always liked Bissette’s GORE cover creature, chewing at its leg – worthy of any wire rack in a public restroom. Loved [Rick] Veitch’s marching logo but I always wished they’d left the zipatone off. I saw it when he was working on it, inking it, I guess. It was much snappier that way.

 

My text story called “The Seed of Shock” (one-plus pages), with Fred’s illo, (actually from ’76), was inspired, if that’s not overstating my result, by the picture’s two overlapping aliens, the largest, more ‘faded’, seeming to interpenetrate the other being as it falls from a run. Still think it’s a fine picture. One Fred contrived from two separate pieces, in printing. If I recall right.

Rick Taylor was good enough to do the lettering, uncredited; but mistakenly one of the small, note pages of my writing was copied back instead of front, or vice versa. The funny thing is, tho’ it can be read understandably either way. May have improved it! Was about altering realities, too!

 

One more thing, to clarify on Bissette’s intro of the “Elly” reprint. I asked him, then, to point out the demon’s similarity to Clive Barker’s sketch (in TABOO #1) not to emphasize my supposed originality, but that independently of each other, over a span of some years and no awareness of each other we both drew what looks to me to be the same demon. A slight tweak of Steve’s wording then – probably needed because I wasn’t quite clear myself.

I still have a stack of PARADE OF GORE, never bagged, their edges now burned by time and a continuing inability to magically change themselves into a better magazine. Don’t lay out too much for one, kids!” — Rick Grimes (December 22, 2008).

{The above stories and many others are also available for your unremitting critical scrutiny under the ‘Art/early comics’ lists of the drop downs at the top of this site page. Jus’ hover and click, ya nut!}

 

 

 

THE SUPERHERO BOOK OF GOODIES (1977)

 

Superhero Book - April 1977During 1977, Rick worked on two Superhero Merchandise Catalogs with fellow Kubert Art School classmates called, THE SUPERHERO BOOK OF GOODIES (Superhero Enterprises, April & September ’77), edited by Joe Kubert. The magazines also featured work from Rick’s fellow ‘Kubies’ Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, Elaine Heinl, Ben Ruiz, Rick Taylor, Ron Zalme, Ed Foley, Ernie Pasanen, (and non Kubies) Marie Severin and Dan Adkins.

 

GRIMES: “That catalog is truly insignificant to me.

The others did the lion’s share of the work.

I avoided it as much as possible.

For what it amounted to, the clamor around it all was rather repellent.

I remember redrawing, a littler version of, Kirk and Spock from some product, posters I guess.

Maybe that gives me a wallpaint crevice in the Trekkie Hall of Fame.” — Rick Grimes (December 22, 2008).

 

 

WORLD’S FINEST #1 (1978)

 

World's FinestIn 1978, during his second year of the Kubert Art School, Rick did pasteups on an old DC Comics strip called, “The Duplicate Man”, for Tempo Books 1978 revised edition of old stories titled, WORLD’S FINEST. “The Duplicate Man” was written by Bill Finger, with pencils by Dick Sprang, and originally appeared in World’s Finest Comics No. 106, December 1959.

 

GRIMES: “The only type of junk like that (1977’s THE SUPERHERO BOOK OF GOODIES) I ever actually enjoyed was in the summer (?) of ’77 before the above? (One of the others might know). Before the second year crowd had come. There weren’t many of us around. As I remember it.

We worked at different tables than usual. Nightwork on pasteups for a WORLD’S FINEST paperback reissue of old Superman and Batman stories.

They had to be cut up from phototransfer paper versions and refitted for two-panel paperback pages via pasteup.

We each had a story. Ben Ruiz and I think Ernie Pasanen were there.

Not only does it border on ‘destruction of art’, you can play ‘stickerbook’ or read the cornball stories ‘if’ you get bored.

A life of that I could not do.

But it was sort of fun, then, as those things go. There wasn’t alot of pressure about.

‘My’ story was a Batman – Robin – Superman fracas in a museum display of giant microscope, magnifying glass and oil can.

The Duplicate Man © 1959.

I did nothing more than minor touchups and panel rearrangements.

Of course we never were given copies of it. It didn’t come out ’til 1978 according to the copy I found quite some years later in a used book shop in Shreveport. Who did the original story I’m sure some buff would easily discover.

The artwork is clean and clear with a slight manic humor, all of which was and is reassuringly easier for me to ‘learn’ from.” — Rick Grimes (December 22, 2008).

 

 

OMNIBUS (1978)

 

Omnibus #2Omnibus #1In 1978, Rick contributed two one-image panels titled “Kriturz” to Fred Greenberg’s OMNIBUS, issues #1 (March + feat. Rick Veitch, Steve Bissette, Chris Kalnick, Rod Ollernshaw, Bob Badarracco, Tom Yeates, and John Totleben) & #2 (April + feat. Cara Sherman, S. Bissette, Mark DiMicco, Marilyn Bethke, Frank Cecala, Fred Greenberg & Rod Ollerenshaw, Larry Loc, Rick Fernandez, and Ernest Pasanen) digests.

 

GRIMES: “Fred Greenberg’s OMNIBUS was a digest or rather half-fold style book, I assume of his own creation, that again included many of us at the [Kubert] school.

I deliberately left it out of the list [Steve] Bissette used in TABOO intros, not because Fred didn’t do a nice job with it, and again generously and without (probably well due, in my case) criticism.

But, because I can’t stand my own pieces. Both are “Kriturz”, one image panels with excessively oblique text pseudodescriptions. The first comes closest to an actual creature, a real evil-looking stinker of a thing; the second, little more than a design experiment overly favoring it’s nicely balanced but dualistic logo over any creature content. Both were from my ‘mad’ phase. Hence, of painful aspect to dwell on aesthetically.

OMNIBUS #1 came out in March of ’78. I gave my only copy to some guy overwhelmed with it, who went on to color my page in it, with color pencils, like a coloring book! Haven’t any notion or memory when I trashed or lost its original; and have therefore not laid eyes on it in thirty years!

#2 came out that summer, I guess, after my return to Shreveport. I still have its main parts, tho’ pulled apart with some pages possibly missing.

The books are much saner, if that’s the word, than PARADE OF GORE; perhaps Fred’s way of stepping back again from that. Never asked him that, or absorbed the books as I should have. I was ‘otherwise occupied’.

I always liked Ernie Pasanen’s ‘fisherman’ painting in #2; (another class cull, from our ‘grey wash’ assignment)?

Also, in #2, on the letters page some guy described my page in #1 as an “N.E.V.”, which he then ‘helpfully’, and inevitably, defined for us all as “No Entertainment Value”.

In my case, I’m inclined to agree.” — Rick Grimes (December 22, 2008).        Additional words…

 

{The above stories and many others are also available for your unremitting critical scrutiny under the ‘Art/early comics’ lists of the drop downs at the top of this site page. Jus’ hover and click, ya nut!}

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