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Dick Kulpa – RIP

Cartoonist and caricaturist Dick Kulpa has passed away.


Richard Allen (Dick) Kulpa
January 12, 1953 – January 3, 2020

 

Family and friends of Dick Kulpa are reporting his death.

… a few days ago when a hospital visit about one thing turned into a deadly diagnosis of stage 4 cancer.
Dick found a battle he couldn’t survive.

From the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star, the area where Dick began his political and cartooning careers:

Kulpa was adept at using his skills as a cartoonist and performance artist to advance his agenda as an elected official, former colleagues said.

He ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of Loves Park in 1973 as a 19-year-old fresh out of Harlem High School.

Four years later, Kulpa was elected to a seat on the Loves Park City Council where he created an alter-ego known as “Alder-Man,” the “defender of truth, justice and my hometown’s way,” Kulpa quipped.

Kulpa’s political cartoons during his days on the City Council lampooned fellow politicians, police and even the Environmental Protection Agency.

Kulpa’s roots as a cartoonist can be traced back to 1969 when the Loves Park Post published his first comic strip, Double Eagle & Co., the semi-autobiographical cartoon that told the story of a young man obsessed with his 1960 Chevy.

In the early 1980s, Kulpa created cartoons for “The Bear Report,” a weekly publication documenting the fortunes of the Chicago Bears.

Dick career as cartoonist started in his teen years, he would draw political cartoons for his local weekly and school papers and superhero comics for fanzines.

The love of drawing never deserted Dick. In the mid-1970s he was drawing his self-syndicated Double Eagle & Co. comic strip for newspapers …

  
© Dick Kulpa

while late in life he had become a famed Southern Florida caricaturist.

But Dick’s most famous creation was for the Weekly World News.

So how did you create Bat Boy?
One of the editors needed an image of a space-alien baby, and so I designed it, and when everybody saw it they said, “Wait a minute, this is more powerful than we’d thought.” I’d drawn a Star Trek comic strip years before, so I loved the pointy ears on Mr. Spock. And I also did another comic strip featuring a character, Officer Jaws, and I loved his teeth. I had total leeway. I don’t think staff knew what I was doing at the time. In this particular case, it took almost a whole day, because the computer kept crashing. That was 1992.

I worked in concert with the retouch department and designed this character. In this specific case, it was absolute and they followed my detailed instructions to the letter. So that’s where Bat Boy was born, but it wasn’t called Bat Boy originally.

  
© respective copyright holders

Dick would eventually become the publisher of Weekly World News and Cracked Mazagine.

As Dick mentioned in that Bat Boy interview, he worked on syndicated comic strips.
He assisted Fran Matera on The Legend of Bruce Lee and then took full control of the art.


© Bruce Lee Enterprises

Not long after the Bruce Lee strip ended Dick drew the last few months of the Star Trek comic strip.


© CBS Studios

Twelve years later Dick and Allan Zullo would create the Ghost Story Club.


© Tribune Media Service, The Wordsellers Inc, and Dick Kulpa

Much more about Dick at his homepage and at his Captain Cartoon site.

 

Community Comments

#1 Nelson Dewey
January/5/2021
@ 12:24 pm

I met Dick when he was editing Cracked (published by the National Enquirer at the time). And I was on a try-out for art director.
I didn’t get the job (probably a lucky thing for me) but spent a week in Boca Raton.
Dick was an interesting guy, and I learned from him.
Sorry to hear of his passing.

#2 Darryl Heine
January/5/2021
@ 2:50 pm

R.I.P. to Mr. Kulpa who was the man behind the Ghost Story Club and Weekly World News’ Bat Boy.

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