Tag Archives: The Mormon Battalion

Ric Estrada: The beginnings of MORMON comics

4.29.09 | | 7 comments

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    Recently I wrote a short monograph about Mormons who work in comics.
    Yes.

    And you’re probably the best known of them.

    Yes, I am.

    And I just wanted — there is — I’m working on — for instance I’m thinking about putting together an anthology of Mormon artists and I was curious what you think Mormon comics should look like in the future

    Oph! Is that a question? What Mormon comics should look like in the future? Well, I tell you: because I worked for commercial publishers, DC comics mostly, for DC Comics for sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years, and for other New York publishers because I lived in New York at the time.

    Right.

    But the comics I did usually followed the stories they gave me to illustrate, which were superheroes, war stories, romance stories, detective stories. I used, you know, in the late, oh, 1940s, early 1950s, western stories, cowboys and Indians.

    Yeah.

    So as far as MORMON comics, I don’t know that there’s anything like MORMON comics.

    I don’t think there is.

    No, I think it’s a, you know, it’s a nice thought, but it’s a misnomer.

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Ric Estrada’s mentor when he first arrived in New York was a, “what do you call him, a Jack Mormon . . . he came from a Mormon background and he told me a thing or two about the Church, but he was disconnected with it.” Needless to say, this man was was not making “Mormon” comics. And outside of Church publications (mainly The Friend), there has been very little done in that respect. A thing here, a thing there. Gags in Sunstone, Mike Allred’s Golden Plates — but not much. So I asked the man with the experience why he thought that was. He offered two reasons.
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Ric Estrada: Call me the “Trailblazer”

4.22.09 | | 11 comments

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    Hello?
    Hello, is this Ric Estrada?

    This is Ric Estrada.

    Hi, my name’s Eric Jepson. Sal Velluto gave me your phone number, I hope you don’t mind.

    No, I don’t mind.

    Oh, great. I work with a Mormon criticism site called Motley Vision and Sal and other people call you the Father of Mormon comics. I was wondering if I could talk to you about that a little bit. I don’t know when a convenient time would be.

    Who calls?

    Oh, Sal does. Sal Velluto?

    He calls me?

    That’s what he calls you: the Father of Mormon Comics.

    Oh my goodness! Wow. Another honor.

When I wrote my seminal much heralded totally awesome somewhat overhyped survey of Mormon comics for Motley Vision last year, all I had to say about Ric Estrada was that he had written a Mormony story for a national comics publisher. I said: “‘The “Mormon” Battalion’ was a six-page sequence in Our Fighting Forces #135, 1972, by Ric Estrada (not LDS, presumably).” Ends up this was incorrect. As DC and The Friend artist Sal Velluto wrote me the same day, “Ric Estrada is the first LDS artist in the history of comics. His story needs to be the heart of your piece.” So I did a bit of research and, well, my original comment would have been somewhat like saying “The Journal of Discourses includes many sermons by Brigham Young (not LDS, presumably).” The grossness of this error requires some serious restitution, even if Brother Estrada himself is a marvelous person who doesn’t seem to hold my sins against me.

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