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 Ric Estrada  (1928 - 2009)

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Lived/Active: New York/Utah / Germany/Cuba      Known for: cartoon and comic book illustration

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
All-Star Comics #58 Page 18 Original Art
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Ric Estrada was a Cuban-American penciler of comic books for companies including the major American publisher DC Comics.  He also worked in comic strips, political cartoons, advertising, storyboarding, and commercial illustration

Ric Estrada was born in Havana, Cuba, and lived in Luyano, a suburb of Havana.  He made his first professional sale, an illustration used on the cover of the Cuban magazine Bohemia, at the age of 13.  Estrada attended the University of Havana concurrent with Fidel Castro, whom he passed in the halls but never met.  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.   Estrada there attended the New York Art Students League, New York University, and the School of Visual Arts.

In the 1950s, Estrada penciled and inked Bunker, the first comic-book story to feature an African-American hero, and Rough Riders.  Both stories were for the EC Comics series Two-Fisted Tales.  He also drew for Dell Comics, Hillman Periodicals, St. John Publications, and Ziff-Davis.  In 1967 and 1968, he drew stories for Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror comics magazine Eerie.

Much of Estrada's comic-book career was spent working for DC Comics.  Though superheroes were not his preference, Estrada worked on Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and Richard Dragon, and he created or first drew characters such as Lady Shiva, Professor Ojo, Amethyst and Karate Kid as well as co-creating Power Girl with Joe Orlando.  Estrada also drew detective comics, romance comics, war comics and a few horror stories for DC.  For example, 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, and Super Friends.

Estrada's preference was for the war stories. Among the war titles he worked on for DC Comics was GI 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.

While working on GI Combat #169, 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.

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

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

Personal life:
Estrada married his first wife, Vera, in Cuba in 1950; they later had one child.  Estrada continued to work in advertising and comic books in New York City for about 10 years and traveled to Greece, the Middle East, Jerusalem, several European countries, and then to West Berlin, Germany, where in 1966 he married his second wife, photographer Sigrid Estrada.

In the early 1960s in Germany, Estrada rented a room from Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof of the Red Army Faction before it became apparent that Baader and Meinhof were involved in terrorist activity.  While working as a political cartoonist and storyboard artist in West Berlin, Estrada met missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He joined the LDS church in 1969 after moving back to New York City.

Estrada married his third wife, Loretta, in New York City in 1970; the two had eight children. In his later years, Estrada focused most of his attention on writing novels and with his wife eventually moved to Utah, near their children.


Biography from Heritage Auctions:
Born in Cuba, Ric Estrada came to the USA in 1947, and was soon working for Hillman, EC, Ziff-Davis, St. John, and other comic book companies.  In the sixties and seventies, he worked at DC on their romance titles, and also drew many war and superhero stories.

Estrada also worked in the animation field and was an influential instructor at the Famous Artist School and later, the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art.

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