Ric Estrada

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Ric Estrada
Ric Estrada self-portrait (2001)
Born(1928-02-26)February 26, 1928
Havana, Cuba
DiedMay 1, 2009(2009-05-01) (aged 81)
Area(s)Writer, Penciller, Inker
AwardsInkpot Award 2000

Ric Estrada (February 26, 1928 – May 1, 2009) was a Cuban American comics artist who worked for companies including the major American publisher DC Comics. He also worked in comic strips, political cartoons, advertising, storyboarding, and commercial illustration.


Early life and career[edit]

Ric Estrada was born in Havana, Cuba.[1] He made his first professional sale, an illustration used on the cover of the Cuban magazine Bohemia, at the age of 13.[2] Estrada attended the University of Havana. Through his uncle, Sergio Carbo, Estrada met writer Ernest Hemingway; the two men facilitated Estrada's move to New York City in 1947 to further his artistic studies and start a career.[2] Estrada there attended the New York Art Students League, New York University, and the School of Visual Arts.[1] Estrada's first New York home was in Greenwich Village where he met fellow artists such as Lee J. Ames, Dan Barry, Sy Barry, Frank Frazetta, Andre LeBlanc, Mort Meskin, Pete Morisi, Don Perlin, and George Roussos.[3]

Comic books[edit]

In the 1950s, Estrada penciled and inked "Bunker", the first comic-book story to feature an African-American hero,[4] and "Rough Riders". Both stories were for the EC Comics series Two-Fisted Tales. He drew for Dell Comics, Hillman Periodicals, St. John Publications, and Ziff-Davis.[5] In the late fifties he drew almost half the satirical articles of the first two issues of the Mad magazine imitator Frantic.[6] After that he moved to Germany, where he stayed for three years. He did political cartoons for the Spandauer Volksblatt in the morning and did storyboards for the advertising company Deutschen Documentar in the afternoons.[7]

In 1967 and 1968, he drew stories for Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror comics magazine Eerie.[1][8] Much of Estrada's comic book career after returning from Germany was spent working for DC Comics. Though superheroes were not his preference[9] Estrada worked on Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and Richard Dragon, and he co-created Lady Shiva[10] and Power Girl.[11][12] Estrada drew detective comics, romance comics, war comics and a few horror stories for DC. In 1976, Estrada's work was in such high demand from DC that he illustrated the premiere issues of six separate titles that year: All Star Comics, Blitzkrieg, Freedom Fighters, Isis, Karate Kid,[13] and Super Friends.[14]

Estrada's preference was for the war stories.[9] Among the war titles he worked on for DC Comics was G.I. Combat, for which he illustrated a number of stories in the ongoing features "Blitzkrieg" and "Robert Kanigher's Gallery of War", both written by Robert Kanigher.[15]

While working on G.I. Combat #169 (Feb. 1974), Estrada filled a page shortage with an account from the Book of Ether, a short book of scripture contained in the Book of Mormon. That story came to the attention of Hugh W. Pinnock, who was in charge of creating a comic-style adaptation of the New Testament for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in 1980 Estrada drew all the pictures for that book.[16][17]

Comic strips and animation[edit]

Estrada drew the Flash Gordon syndicated newspaper comic strip in sporadic stints from the 1950s to the 1970s.[1] In the 1980s, he collaborated on the animated television series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Galtar, The New Adventures of Jonny Quest, and Bionic Six.[1]


Estrada died May 1, 2009, at 81, after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.[5][18]


Ric Estrada received an Inkpot Award in 2000.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Ric Estrada". Lambiek Comiclopedia. March 14, 2008. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Jepson, Theric (April 22, 2009). "Ric Estrada: Call me the "Trailblazer"". Motleyvision.org. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013.
  3. ^ Magnus, Don (n.d.). "Conflict!". Comicartville.com. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
  4. ^ "Social History in Comics: Two-Fisted Tales 30 - "Bunker!"". Out of This World. February 13, 2011. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Evanier, Mark (May 1, 2009). "Ric Estrada, R.I.P." NewsFromMe.com. Archived from the original on January 8, 2014.
  6. ^ Yoe, Craig; Apeldoorn, Ger (2017). Behaving Madly: Zany, Loco, Cockeyed, Rip-off, Satire Magazines. San Diego, California: IDW Publishing. ISBN 978-1631408564.
  7. ^ Wagner, Josh (March 2009). "Ric & Seth Estrada". Mormonartist.net. Archived from the original on May 22, 2017.
  8. ^ Ric Estrada at the Grand Comics Database
  9. ^ a b Jepson, Theric (May 13, 2009). "Ric Estrada: Grounded in reality". Motleyvision.org. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013.
  10. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Writer Denny O'Neil and artist Ric Estrada matched up martial arts hero Richard Dragon with dangerous beauty Lady Shiva in January [1976].CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Thomas, Roy (April 2002). "The 1970s Justice Society Revival-All-Starring the Original Cast!". Alter Ego. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. 3 (14). Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2014. Roy Thomas: Joe Orlando is often credited with designing Power Girl, maybe from Gerry Conway's suggestion. But the only design sketch I've ever seen was one you did that DC ran in its fan-magazine Amazing World of DC Comics. Do you remember how that character was designed? Estrada: Not the exact details, but I do know they liked the way I drew women, because I had done a lot of romance stories. In fact, the first year I worked for DC, I did mostly the romance line. I drew girls sexy but not too muscular like they became later.
  12. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 169: "Along with artist Ric Estrada, [Gerry] Conway also introduced the DC Universe to the cousin of Earth-2's Superman, Kara Zor-L a.k.a. Power Girl."
  13. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 170: "Writer Paul Levitz and artist Ric Estrada kicked Karate Kid out of the Legion of Super-Heroes - and the thirtieth century - so that he could headline his own series."
  14. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 171: "Hanna-Barbera's animated Super Friends proved so successful that DC brought the concept full circle, adapting the show into a comic. Scribe E. Nelson Bridwell and artist Ric Estrada crafted the inaugural issue."
  15. ^ "An Appreciation". Bob Kanigher's Gallery of War (fan site). n.d. Archived from the original on May 7, 2009.
  16. ^ "New Testament". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. n.d. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013.
  17. ^ Jepson, Theric (April 29, 2009). "Ric Estrada: The beginnings of Mormon comics". Motleyvision.org. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013.
  18. ^ Pullen, Travis (May 2, 2009). "Rest In Peace, Ric Estrada". FilmFodder. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011.
  19. ^ "Inkpot Award Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Don Heck
Wonder Woman artist
Succeeded by
Curt Swan
Preceded by
Jack Kirby
Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by
George Evans
Blackhawk artist
Succeeded by
Dan Spiegle
(in 1982)