|Born||Richard Waring Rockwell
December 11, 1920
|Died||April 18, 2006 (aged 85)|
Richard Waring Rockwell (December 11, 1920 – April 18, 2006) was an American comic strip and comic book artist best known as Milt Caniff's uncredited art assistant for 35 years on the adventure strip Steve Canyon. Rockwell was a nephew of the famed painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell.
Early life and career
Raised in Kane, Pennsylvania, Dick Rockwell was the son of Jerry Rockwell — brother of painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell — and Carol Rockwell. He had a brother, John. Rockwell began his career after World War II, during which he'd served as a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot who flew Allied troops to France on D-Day and to the Ardennes Forest for the Battle of the Bulge. His first known comic-book credit is penciling and inking the one-page "Little Know [sic.] Facts About Well-Known Animals" in publisher Fiction House's Jungle Comics #113 (May 1949), and his first known story art is the seven-page "The Masquerading Bandits" in the Prize Comics crime series Headline Comics #36 (Aug. 1949).
He went on to draw for Lev Gleason Publications' Crime Does Not Pay and Black Diamond Western. As Rockwell told the story, samples of this work, which he supplied with his membership application to the National Cartoonists Society in 1952, caught the attention of Milt Caniff, the organization's president at the time. Soon afterward, Caniff hired Rockwell to assist on Caniff's classic syndicated newspaper strip Steve Canyon, penciling and inking secondary characters and backgrounds; Caniff wrote, drew the main characters, and did finishing touches. He served as the uncredited art assistant on Canyon for 35 years, continuing for a brief time after Caniff's death in 1988.
Rockwell's other comic-book work includes at least one story each in 1951 for Man Comics, Girl Comics, Crime Exposed and Susepense, from Atlas Comics, the 1950s precursor of Marvel Comics; and, in 1983 and 1988, a smattering of work for DC Comics, including on the Steve Canyon-like military adventure title Blackhawk. His final comic book work were penciling and inking a six-page story and a two-page character profile, both featuring the "Blackhawk Express", in Blackhawk Annual #1 (1989).
Courtroom artist and other work
Rockwell additionally worked as a courtroom artist doing trial sketches, starting with the 1957 U.S. Supreme Court case involving school desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas. His courtroom work remained a minor sideline until 1983. Rockwell covered the robbery and murder trial of members of the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army who had robbed a Brinks armored truck in Nyack, New York.
Like his legendary uncle, Rockwell also did magazine illustrations. As well, he drew editorial cartoons, taught at New York University, the Parsons School of Design, and the Fashion Institute of Technology, all in Manhattan, New York City.
- Dick Rockwell at the Lambiek Comiclopedia
- Claridge, Laura P. Norman Rockwell: A Life (Random House; 2nd edition, 2001), ISBN 0-375-50453-2, ISBN 978-0-375-50453-2
- Miksch, Joe (February 13, 2003). "Rogues' Gallery: Courtroom Artist Richard Waring Rockwell Sketches Rogues from Gotti to Ganim". Fairfield County Weekly (Bridgeport, Connecticut). Archived from the original on January 25, 2004.
- Dick Rockwell at the Grand Comics Database
- Evanier, Mark (April 21, 2006). "Dick Rockwell, R.I.P.". News from Me (column). Archived from the original on June 28, 2011.
- "Shel Dorf Interviews Milt Caniff in November 1982: Video". ShelDorfTribute.com. January 26, 2010. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Caniff discusses Rockwell in part 11 of 11.