A comic book
creator, artist, and writer that is possibly one of the most prolific and respected people in the comics industry.
Rick attended the Joe Kubert
’s School of Cartooning when he met lifelong friends and collaborators Steve Bissette
and John Totleben. During this period he produced his first published work,” Two-Fisted Zombies!” for Last Gasp
in the waning years of the underground comics market. His first major league work was released shortly after graduating, a collaboration with Steve Bissette. This was the comic adaptation of the Steven Spielberg
In the 80’s Veitch began working for Marvel Comics
. He created Heartburst for marvel’s Epic Comics
, a sci-fi potboiler satirizing corporate media’s influence on culture and exploring themes of war, dreams, and love. He also created The One for Epic, a deconstruction of the super hero
and twentieth century ideology, which at the time was new concept. It is arguable that this current trend in the comics industry springs directly from this work, as well as books like Watchmen
. He would continue this theme later in the King Hell Heroica. For Epic he also created the strip "Abraxas and the Earth Man".
After working for Epic, Veitch was reunited with Bissette and Totleben on Alan Moore
’s groundbreaking run on DC comic’s Swamp Thing
. He eventually followed Moore as writer of the series, during which he wrote a story depicting a meeting between the title character and Jesus Christ
, which ignited a controversy. This led him to leave working on the book and sever ties with DC comics
. Upon leaving DC, Veitch worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
where he created the graphic novel The River for Mirage Comics.
The relationship with Mirage led to a relationship with Tundra, which published his still unfinished but highly, regarded King Hell Heroica. Bratpack
was the first book of the Heroica. At its most visceral level, the Heroica is a savage deconstruction of super hero comics. Beneath that layer the book explores the concept of fleshing out the super hero, breathing life into sometimes-cardboard character. Bratpack explored these subjects by focusing on a group of disposable superhero sidekicks. His next book, The Maximortal
, examined the super man’s mythos, history, and social context. These books are unsettling examinations of the super hero, the business it supports, and the culture it reflects.
After the collapse of Tundra, Rick Veitch self-published the experimental dream comic Rare Bit Fiends. The first collection of the series, Rabid Eye, was a collection of seemingly random sequences reflecting Veitch’s mid-nineties career that possessed a deeper unity when closely read. Pocket Universe, Rare Bit Fiends second collection, created an even richer dream world in which Veitch creates an interesting account of a younger him and the current version of himself meeting and interacting.
Recently Rick has been working with writer Alan Moore on Greyshirt, a gritty detective in the vein of Will Eisner
’s The Spirit. Also in later 2002 Veitch began writing Aquaman
for DC Comics, adding his rare blend of realism and deconstruction to the character. Branded a failure and a traitor, Aquaman is cast out of his role of king of Atlantis. His ability to communicate to aquatic life remains, but under Veitch’s reign they no longer care for him.
I met Rick Veitch at the ACE convention in Manchester, VM in 1994. He was bigger than life there selling his King Hell Press material. At the time I was aware of his work on Swamp Thing, but had not read Rare Bit Fiends. He was very friendly with me as he showed his work, and even remained friendly after I explained my lack of cash would keep me from purchasing anything from him. I’ve always respected his work, as he is a true pioneer in the world of comics.