Underground comix cartoonist Ted Richards has passed away.
From Last Gasp publisher Ron Turner:
Talked to Miranda Lee Richards today… She let me know her father, the cartoonist Ted Richards had passed away on Friday of Lung Cancer… Ted was the creator of Dopin’ Dan comix, The Astral Outhouse and was one of the infamous Air Pirates who dare take on the Disney mega company. Memorial services are pending.
Ted Richards was one of the funniest and greatest of the 1970s underground cartoonists.
His most famous characters were Dopin’ Dan, E. Z. Wolf, and The Forty Year Old Hippie.
Ted never fit in with the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll aspect of underground comix; well, maybe the drugs (mostly marijuana). Ted’s comix were funny, some of the funniest of the underground era, with a great comic art style.
After getting a start in Cincinnati in 1969 Ted migrated to San Francisco hooking up with the hostile, anti-establishment Berkeley Tribe (and meeting Bobby London there). Later in 1970 Ted and Bobby met with Shari Flenniken and the Disney Corp-obsessed Dan O’Neill at the Sky River Festival a bit east of Seattle Washington, and soon after Gary Hallgren. These talents joined to form the famous Air Pirates.
Throughout the early 1970s, the high times of the comix industry, Ted contributed to a number of anthology comix books as well as his own Dopin’ Dan books.
By the mid-1970s he was syndicating his Ezekiel Wolf and Forty Year Old Hippie characters to underground and college papers through the Rip Off Syndicate.
Ted’s comic strips were a regular part of the Rip Off Comix anthology where Ted more than held his own in a title that also featured Gilbert Shelton, Foolbert Sturgeon (Frank Stack), Bill Griffith, Dave Sheridan, and other greats.
Ted occasionally teamed up with others – Willy Murphy and Ted were partners toward the end of Willy’s life. Ted and Willy, with Gilbert Shelton and Gary Hallgren all teamed to create a one of the best underground comic books for this Revolutionary War and Comic enthusiast: Give Me Liberty.
Ted would spread out to “groundlevel” comic books, National Lampoon and other markets, but…
By the late 1970s the “comix” scene was dying. Ted found a place in Skateboarder Magazine with a Mellow Cat series from 1978 – 1981. From there he segued into computer software designing while still dipping a brush into an ink bottle on occasion.
Comixjoint has an index of Ted’s comix. As does the Grand Comics Database.
The Daily Cartoonist sends our most sincere condolences to Ted’s family and friends.
11 thoughts on “Ted Richards – RIP”
I’m surprised he wasn’t in Mad Magazine. His style would have fit to a ‘T’, especially later on.
Ted Richards was mostly a West Coast guy, having little contact with New York-based publications like MAD. He was proud of having done a one-page parody of R. Crumb as “R. Bread” for The National Lampoon’s “The Very Large Book of Comical Funnies” anthology, edited by P.J. O’Rourke out of Midtown Manhattan. In 1984 Ted created the last two episodes of The Forty Year Old Hippie for an anthology about computer culture, “Digital Deli” published by Workman Publishing in New York.
Having met Ted Richards in 1984 as editor of “Digital Deli”, I was fortunate to have cultivated a phone-based transcontinental friendship over the last few years of his life. We spoke nearly every day about the slow progress he was making as designer of my personal web site steveditlea.com. Ted was a perfectionist, though also a dreamer and easily distracted. His life story was one of the most interesting I’ve encountered in over 50 years as a journalist meeting top creators in film, music, tech, business and medicine. Ted was the son of a U.S. Army Special Forces officer–the man who would have collected Che Guevara for questioning had the Bolivian Army not shot the rebel associate of Fidel Castro (a topic in Ted’s Dopin’ Dan #2). When Ted moved to San Francisco after a brief stint in the Air Force, he became a revolutionary in his own fashion; among his most prized possesions was a Litle Red Book by Chairman Mao, signed by odd entertainer Tiny Tim. A gentle giant of a man, Ted anchored several cooperative ventures between underground cartoonists in San Francisco. Later he wondered why his comix weren’t as well known as Crumb’s and Gilbert Shelton’s, but renewed recognition was coming his way with the recent publication of a book of his Mellow Cat skateboarding comics. May his death be a wake-up call to cartoon fans to give his classic titles another look and offer the praise they deserve!
Where can I find Mellow Cat skateboarding comics?
Ted really was a huge talent.
Mosquito Gulch Studio
The Internet Archive has issues of Skateboarder Magazine featuring Mellow Cat:
The comics begin with issue V4#9 (April 1978) with a promo piece in the V4#8 issue.
The above link only goes up to V6#11 (June 1980) while Mellow Cat went on into 1981,
so you can read a nice portion, but not all, of them there.
Found out from Ted’s daughter Miranda that physical books are not in yet. I have a complete pdf that’s huge: 100 Meg–so too big to email. If you have a Dropbox account I can send it to you free that way.
Meanwhile, two episodes of Mellow Cat are available on Ted’s Web site:
Also check out the episodes of Forty Year Old Hippie Ted did for Digital Deli:
Ted was mightily funny and talented But probably teds finest production is his beautiful talented gentle daughter Miranda Lee Richards who loved him dearly
As we all did
RIP Ted our deep sympathy to his family
Thanks so much for this great tribute to my oldest brother Ted. I had been helping Miranda arrange some longer term at-home care for Ted, but he took a sudden turn for the worse. I will miss our conversations, often about baseball and other sports. Ted was a great baseball player in his youth, hitting home runs from both sides of the plate.
Losing Ted fills me with profound sadness and loss. I pray he has finally found the peace has been searching for, throughout his life.
Excerpts taken from “Open, Time”
By Louise Imogen Guiney
Open, Time, and let him pass
Take him, weak and overworn;
Fold about his dying dream
Boyhood, and the April morn,
And the rolling stream
He shall toil no more, but wake
Young, in air he knew.
He has done with roofs and men.
Open, Time, and let him pass,
Vague and innocent again,
Into country grass.
Ted was talented in many ways. Musically;Artistically; Athletically and intellectually. I loved watching him in little league. Hitting a homer; double and a single from the left side of the plate after injuring his thumb. Amazing but then Ted was an amazing brother.
I will miss his voice and conversations. Ted if you reading this we all miss and love you.
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