San Francisco, California
|Died||November 23, 1985
|Area(s)||Cartoonist, Writer, Penciller|
Brand grew up in El Sobrante, California, where he was friends with cartoonist Joel Beck. Both had many wild escapades while attending De Anza High School, and they remained lifelong friends. In the 1960s, Brand moved to New York City where he began in comics as an assistant to Gil Kane and Wally Wood during the mid-1960s, contributing to Wood's witzend and moving on to such publications as Creepy, Eerie, Jungle Jim and Web of Horror.
Dan Adkins remembered working with Brand:
I did a story called "The Haunted Sky". I'm not sure if that's a Creepy or Eerie story—but it was in one of the books, and I penciled the splash, and I didn't want to do the rest of the story, because I guess I had to do something for Marvel, so I gave it to Roger to finish. So "The Haunted Sky," which was printed in one of the books, is my splash, a story Archie [Goodwin] wrote for me about planes, that I begged him for, then I gave it back to him and screwed him, and Roger finished the story. So how much Roger helped me, I don't know. Roger did a few—oh, I know what he helped me on! He helped me on that anniversary issue, the 100th issue of "Sub-Mariner versus the Hulk", Tales to Astonish, I guess. Roger helped me ink that, we inked nine pages in a week... I don't know how I met Roger. Bill Pearson used to have an apartment that wasn't too far from Wally Wood... You'd meet all kinds of people over at Bill's place. I probably met Roger, because I also knew Michelle, his wife. So I met her over there.
Some of Brand's earliest work appeared in the early 1960s in UC Berkeley's California Pelican humor magazine, alongside drawings by Joel Beck. Entering the underground comics field, Brand drew for the tabloid Gothic Blimp Works and such titles as Banzai!, Blab!, Candid Press, Insect Fear, Real Pulp Comics, Tales of the Leather Nun, Tales of Sex and Death, Yellow Dog, and Young Lust.
He eventually returned to San Francisco, where he edited Real Pulp Comics, which became a springboard for cartoonist Bill Griffith's Zippy the Pinhead, as Griffith recalled, "In San Francisco in 1970, I was asked to contribute a few pages to Real Pulp Comics #1, edited by cartoonist Roger Brand. His only guideline was to say, "'Maybe do some kind of love story, but with really weird people.' I never imagined I'd still be putting words into Zippy's fast-moving mouth some 38 years later."
In late 1976 while renting a room in Gary Arlington's house in the Mission District, Roger Brand was hired by Robert Beerbohm to work selling comic books in Best of Two Worlds, located at 1709 Haight St, San Francisco. When Beerbohm opened a second location at 2512 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, Calif in May 1977, Brand began working in that location as well alongside Kim Deitch, Bruce Simon and others. By then Brand had had a severe alcohol problem coupled with overuse of "speed."
Brand's wife Michele, who died in 2015, was also involved in underground comix, contributing stories to such publications as It Ain't Me, Babe, Wimmen's Comix, and Arcade. She later married comics artist Bernie Wrightson and continued for many years working behind the scenes in the comics industry.
- Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix, 1963-1990, Chazen Museum of Art (Madison, Wisconsin), May 2 to July 12, 2009.
- T.H. "Comix Artist Richard Brand Dead," The Comics Journal #107 (Apr. 1986).
- Lambiek: Roger Brand
- Grand Comics Database: Roger Brand
- Jon B. Cooke interview with Dan Adkins, Comic Book Artist #14.
- Comic Book Database: Roger Brand
- Dueben, Alex. "Is Bill Griffith Having Fun Yet?", CBR, October 6, 2008.
- MacDonald, Heidi. "RIP Michele Wrightson," The Beat (June 1, 2016).
- Geerdes, Clay. "The Erotic Cartoon Art of Roger Brand", Knight, July, 1971.
- Graphic Story World Interview with Roger Brand
- Peter Richardson on Roger Brand
- Steven Thompson on Roger Brand
- Kim Deitch on Roger Brand