Ric was one hell of an artist, possessing an easy, loose style reminiscent of Harvey Kurtzman at the height of his prowess on the EC war comics...which, incidentally, Ric contributed to in the early 1950s. He was born in Cuba, made his first art sale at the age of 13, went to the University of Havana with Fidel Castro and was encouraged to move to New York to pursue his art by family friend Ernest Hemingway. Ric did the bulk of his work for DC Comics in the romance and war comics of the 50s and 60s and, in the 70s, provided pencils or layouts for such superhero mainstays as All-Star Comics, Freedom Fighters and Karate Kid.
I met Ric in the mid-70s. I was a newbie writer and sometimes-staffer in those days, back when DC still kept a room (or at least a space with a couple of drawing boards) for artists to sit and work when they were up in the offices at 75 Rockefeller Center. Ric would sometimes make use of one of those boards and I would hang out there with him and some of the other semi-regulars like Tex Blaisdell and Bill Draut and talk for hours at a stretch. Well, really, they would talk and I would sit there, drooling fanboy that I was (am) and listen to their stories.
Ric Estrada was, quite simply, one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. Not only did I never hear a negative word cross his lips, but, in an industry full of catty talk and gossip, I also never heard a negative word about him. He was, quite simply, a good guy. You can find out more about this remarkable man here and here. I'm just going to let his work speak for him in the form of a 5-page story he drew from a script I wrote that appeared in Weird War Tales #83 (January 1980). As always, click on images to view in a readable size:
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