Ric Estrada: The beginnings of MORMON comics

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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”

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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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The Hero’s Journey of the Mormon Arts

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As Motley Vision‘s newest Official Contributor, I feel an obligation to have my first post explain something of my experience within and attitude towards the Mormon arts.

Several months ago, I plotted out a post called “Hero’s Journey of the Mormon Artist” which I had intended to submit to William. I’m glad I never finished it however as further reflection has suggested to me that I was implying that that my proposed version of the hero’s journey was a necessary part of being a good Mormon artist. As if being an Orson Scott Card or a Dean Hughes is more admirable than being a Heather Moore or an Anita Stansfield (no sexism intended). And so I continued refining the idea and now I feel that it is not Mormon artists who are on a hero’s journey, but the Mormon arts entire. I will not be going into all seventeen stages of the monomyth, but I will deal with the three major groupings and hit on the secondary levels when they seem helpful.

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A Survey of Mormon Comix by Theric Jepson

When I asked Theric Jepson to write a bit about Mormon graphic novels, I didn’t expect that he would launch a full on bibliographic project. But he did — and even though the results make for a very long post, it’s very much worth a read. Indeed, it’s quite the amazing project and must have taken quite some time to put together. Thanks, Theric. ~Wm Morris

I’m also going to make you click through for the full post because the “more” tag seems to be causing some problems with the special formatting for the post.

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Guest post: Theric Jepson on “The Sin of Saint Onan”

When I commissioned Thmazing Theric Jepson to write a guest post, I had no idea that he would work to undermine AMV’s very existence. Or that he would be tossing out words like coitus-interruptus, masturbation, icky and lucre. But since I am a man of my word, I’m going to go ahead and post this. Those sensitive to Old Testament references should probably shield their eyes. Those who can handle it, are welcome to rise up and defend AMV’s honor in the comments. ~Wm Morris

In our lovely Bible, canonized though it may be, we find any number of icky stories filled with stuff that isn’t good fodder for Sunday School. Gang rape and corpse mutilation, horny old men, drunken incest — I could go on. But I’m squeamish.

So let’s move on to Onan, who spilled his seed upon the ground. Now, most times I’ve heard this called masturbation; I hold more with the coitus-interruptus interpretation myself, but either way, the point is this: He didn’t put his seed where it belonged. He totally failed to make babies.

Which is why I pronounce Onan the patron saint of bloggers. Continue reading “Guest post: Theric Jepson on “The Sin of Saint Onan””