Cartoonist Rick Grimes created a number of original stories (or strips, if you like) for various adult and underground comic book publications from 1976 to 1996, including: DR. WIRTHAM'S COMIX AND STORIES, THE ONE, TABOO, and RARE BIT FIENDS, among various others.
Among the weird, wonderful, and downright disturbing characters Rick created over these near 30 years, such oddities include: Weird Dick and the Professor, the Puzz Fundles (Thripey Skake, Von Sticky, Meemo, Primitive Iggy, Gluggiggla, Malloon, and Gufscha), and Sicky Claws & co., etc.
Rick was born in Franklin, Kentucky. As a child, his family moved about for a time before finally settling for good in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1964.
Grimes's first published strip was a ballpoint 'Abraham Lincoln' drawing as featured in the Shreveport local newspaper, The Shreveport Times, circa 1973.
In 1976, Rick created two of his earlier and most important characters; 'the Professor' in January and 'Weird Dick' the following May. To this day, he still considers both characters his most significant creations, even though both have only appeared, as yet, in a few stories.
From Sept. '76 to March '78, Rick attended first and second years of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey, where he met fellow artists, and friends, who became responsible for or indirectly connected to most of his published appearances to date. His first winter at the school saw the creation of the first "Weird Dick and the Professor" comic page (in the Kubert School's pioneer class yearbook, MANTICORE #1) as well as their fundamental five-page followup story "Head Chez" (later published in Ken Feduniewicz's fanzine THIRD RAIL #1), which took dreams, cinema and the collages of Max Ernst as it's inspiration.
That following year in 1977, Rick's full-page pin-up "Elly" was published in the second Kubert School zine PARADE OF GORE #1, which also featured the work of Steve Bissette (front cover), Rick Veitch, Fred Greenberg, Larry Loc, and Cara Sherman, among others. "Elly" was later republished in Steve Bissette and John Totleben's TABOO #2.
In 1978, Rick contributed two one-image panels titled, "Kriturz", to Fred Greenberg's OMNIBUS #1 & #2 digests (Last Minute Productions). Issue #1 came out in March '78, and #2 the following summer.
Following his return to Shreveport, Grimes generated and continued further story cycles using the Weird Dick character. Though carrying all of this into the early 1980's, most of these projects remain unrealised and certainly unpublished.
In 1981, the since-completed "Head Chez" story was published in former classmate Ken Feduniewicz's fine art fanzine THIRD RAIL #1.
That same year came creation and completion of the complex and bizarre "Sicky Claws Conquers the Weird Dicks" for Clifford Neal's DR. WIRTHAM'S COMIX & STORIES #7/8.
Bordering on self-parody the mayhemic story relates the conflict to the faux finish of newly upsurgent childhood characters with somewhat diminished versions of Weird Dick, (very much out of his creator's usual expected contexts for him), and some of his "friends" the aforesaid characters Rick had been living with, actively working on and trying to establish.
Having found Sicky's gang of 'holiday helpers' workable, Grimes, in an April '82 notebook newly redrew and gave names to another crowd of childhood characters. Dubbed "The Puzz Fundles" they soon appeared in six one-pagers in the back of Rick Veitch's THE ONE. This time leaving out the dubious abuse of unrelated characters, the strips, (relying less on the contrived burlesque of sadism in 'Sicky Claws' and more on the traditional, tho' crazily refocused, movie staples), follow the ever-growing 'family' of oddballs and their escalating confusions in continuously changing residences.
In the late '80s and early '90s, inclusive of appearance in DR. WIRTHAM'S COMIX & STORIES #10 and 'co-conspirator' Larry Loc's DOG*STAR FUNNIES xerox-zine, Grimes appeared in all but the first issue of Steve Bissette's TABOO. Many more storytelling approaches emerged to feed the book's driving premise.
A few minor pieces, and co-design of another barely-circulated DOG*STAR FUNNIES - then, the mid '90s peaks of dream stories in Rick Veitch's RARE BIT FIENDS, and creation of the febrile "Pills for Miss Betsy", published in Britain in 1994 via Dave Mitchell.
On a parallel course especially in the last decade, Grimes has also segued into 'minimalist' comic experiments and 'quasi-collage' writing such as the completed (and indexed) "The Dissolute Lot of Butterchurna Dribble".
Describing himself as easily bored and so, ever-searching for yet another possible approach for yet another possible approach to his art, another "clever (if not opportunistic)," way of doing it, Rick promises further use of The Puzz Fundles characters, partly in the pages of a completely redeveloped GOOZLE KOMMIX, (a former almost-was) and the establishment at some point of the Weird Dick stories.
He would also like to return to the so-named 'trance-narrative' style seen in "Cactus Water" (TABOO #3) and "Pills for Miss Betsy" - and looks forward to serving up new items on this website!
*Since August 2009 Rick has contributed both new and old stories to the following print & online publications and self-published blogs (see elsewhere on fansite):
"The Man With Two Hearts" (PARAPHILIA #4, August 2009)
"The Bromomaniaks" (PARAPHILIA #5, October 2009)
"Booshwa" + "Joe Head" (CRIMEFIGHTER AND TWO OTHERS, October 2009)
"Blood of the Corn Kings" [poem] (LA BOUCHE #3, October 2009)
"The Usual" (PARAPHILIA #6, January 2010)
"Alagar Pensis" (PARAPHILIA #7, March 2010)
"Hive Baby" (ANTIQUE CHILDREN, November 2010)
"The New Ones" (ANTIQUE CHILDREN, January 2010)
"Hive Baby Two" (ANTIQUE CHILDREN, May 2010)
"The Struggles of Huggles" (PARAPHILIA #8, June 2010)
"The Request" (DUENDE, September 2010)
"Man's Best Friend" (PARAPHILIA #9, September 2010)
"Best Out of Two" (DOPPLEGÄNGERS, December 2010)
"Mizriz O'Payne's Very Perfect Pekiboo" (PARAPHILIA #10, December 2010)
"No Place Like Home" (PARAPHILIA #11, April 2011)
"The Boulder & The Brighter" (REVOLUTION OF THE UNDERDOGS, May 2011)
"The Time Piece" (PARAPHILIA #13, December 2011)
"Kitmonex: One More Slip..." (PARAPHILIA: HYPOKEIMENON, May 2012)
"Go Try Ta Be 'Normal'" (ACQ - KINGDOM FREAKS & OTHER DIVINE WONDERS, June 2012)
"The Excursion" (PARAPHILIA: TAGADA, August 2012)
RGFS.NET: Have you contributed any other work to comics, magazines or books since the mid '90s? And, Do you still draw/write comics, or is this something you since given up to concentrate on other work in your life?
RICK GRIMES: A) "No. Unless Larry Loc put something up on the computer that came and went sometime in there, RARE BIT FIENDS, then to the HPL (THE STARRY WISDOM) book is it.
A couple of 'almosts' completed around that time of my pages in Rick Veitch's dream comic were a comic I mailed out a few times called "Poodles From Uranus"; simpler (at least at first) four-panel pages that would've sunk any chances it had, already, but on top of that it has, (or had if I one day decide to self-censor and alter it), a 'naughty' panel near the climax, let us say. So, that went no place. And when Steve Bissette told me once how little you can actually make on a first comic book of your own, pretty much took the wind out of it for me. Figured I might as well try anthologies some more. At least they might pay off. But, haven't pursued that yet either. My aunt died in '97, my grandmother in '99. Then there was my mother for years. So, I've been on somewhat of an artistic detour where it's, for the most part, less demanding to pursue smaller things. There are comic pages, too, but they're predominantly stories that aren't quite complete, so no one has seen them.
The other 'almost ran' was a story for Mark Arsenault who had intended, about ten years ago by now, to run it in his small press title HOT TUNA, and pay contributors only on publication. Maybe that's why it didn't happen. I did a five page story called "The Usual" about a very hapless baby and his already dead, 'Chester Gouldian' parents. All he gave us was a premise to work from in the little prospectus sheet: something about 'domestic' situation. Don't think it was quite what he'd expected, I largely doubt it had anything to do with it not coming out. He didn't refuse it. The one time we talked on the phone we also hypothesized about his doing an all "Puzz Fundles" book as I was already working on it, back then. [See: GOOZLE KOMMIX]. That still being incomplete, and, again, out of touch I'd been thinking of contacting him, too, just as a courtesy, to get an okay on publishing "The Usual" and shopping GOOZLE, when completed, elsewhere. I figured the 'statute of levitations' had about run out on the two stories; the "Pills for Miss Betsy" story and "The Usual" would've looked good in a book together, but I won't be doing that now. Last I saw his name, Mark was editing Fantagraphics' catalog but that was years ago. Hadn't tried his old address yet. Still don't have a computer."
B) "I still draw and write comics. Also draw single image, one time things not really illos ('cause they're not illustrating anything but themselves). Write a lot of limited, experimental writing oddities I have no intention of illustrating. One's going, then I think of another way of doing it and I get stuck in yet another 'detour' project. Coupla of them I actually managed to hold myself to and virtually finish. I had already been cooking along, on and off, on some of those when I had to begin taking care of my mother. Every day from August of '02 to her death in February [of this year,] '08. Life as art. I thought I had reduced my artwork to a pretty thin mix, trying out minimalist things and so forth but in those years I got even less art done. A couple of new 'illos', inks on some old ones and a couple of Weird Dick pages. But, the writing things I could readily keep up with, or inch along a few more steps while lying down, between other tasks. "Puzz Fundles"; to keep your sanity, too. I wouldn't stop doing something artistic. I don't know how to do anything else.
Tho' never as productive as I should be, I couldn't stop doing it if the wallpaper peeled off the universe.
This year, I've been trying to get back to some things, digging out very old stuff and ink it maybe modify it. Warm up to it all again. I guess I approach things more like painters. I can leave pieces tucked away for years and go back to them or spend decades developing one series of ideas."
RGFS.NET: I was wondering what ever happened to the rumoured collection of your work, GOOZLE KOMMIX, that Steve Bissette and Rick Veitch prepared for Tundra Publishing in 1991-2? Both Bissette and Veitch have expressed regret at never seeing this collection of your work released.
GRIMES: "I don't regret it not working out! Some of the stories were pretty shaggy. I've even thought of destroying a couple of them, but they're still around here someplace too. Even the 'Puzz' story may get a complete or partial redo for a mundane reason I won't go into here. I overdid it on the quicky (ie hack), inking on alot of it, and also regretted foisting the whole mess on Steve when he was busy already with TABOO, and chum and booster enuff not to tell me to piss off.
Anyhow, it gave me that rare chance to go back and change it all before such a thing goes out in public 'again'. I wound up deciding to gut the whole thing, except the cover, and put in the three Puzz Fundles stories I've been working on. All 'Puzz'. All the time.
One is very long, but the art has gone very well; and the complicated story. Nine-panel pages. About 2/3 done with it. But, it takes alot of focus I haven't had again for it yet. (Part of my getting back to tighter work as mentioned in 'Quimby' comments and RARE BIT FIENDS).
The middle story, 5 pages; I think the first two done years ago. A very verbal visit from Thripey Skake's cousin, Powderiffic Watumbi.
The last story, I just recently finished inking the next to last page and expect to draw the last soon. Six panel pages. Experimental, with an initial premise and first page spun from an old Daffy Duck comic book story. But, Meemo...
Other complete single images can fill out the inside covers. Etc!"
RGFS.NET: Finally, do you have any plans to contribute new work to an anthology or collection of some sort in the near future?
GRIMES: "Wouldn't call 'em plans. Do you know any good ones? How about in Australia?"
All artwork featured on this page © 2010, Rick Grimes.