Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ric Estrada: "Peace With Honor"

Ric Estrada passed away last Friday after losing a long battle with cancer.

In a spinner rack filled with art by the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Joe Kubert, Wally Wood, Neal Adams, John Buscema, Barry Smith, Jim Starlin, John Byrne, and George Perez, art by journeymen like Ric Estrada could be easily overlooked or forgotten. Estrada was a talented veteran of the Old School of comicbook art, a school that believed, to paraphrase Original Captain Marvel co-creator C.C. Beck, that art served the story best when it went unnoticed. Guys like Estrada were storytellers, not illustrators. They didn't try to awe us with thousands of extra lines, they wanted us to be drawn into the story through the art. To view it, as Beck put it, "Through the corner of our eye."

Today, Ric is probably best known for his superhero work, doing layouts for Wally Wood on the All-Star Comics revival or on Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter. A few might remember his work with Joe Staton on Karate Kid. But he did so much more than breakdowns (loose layouts) for superhero comics. Humor, horror, romance, war--you name it. In Ol' Groove's humble opinion, it was on the war books Ric really excelled. Just check out this very personal piece, written and drawn by Estrada, from G.I. Combat #169 (November 1973), "Peace With Honor!"

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