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Geary, Rick 1946–

Geary, Rick 1946–

PERSONAL:

Born February 25, 1946, in Kansas City, MO; son of Edward V. (a banker) and Helen Louise (a homemaker) Geary; married Deborah Lee Chester (a teacher), January 11, 1987. Education: University of Kansas, B.F.A., 1968, M.A., 1971.

ADDRESSES:

Home and office—Carrizozo, NM. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Freelance cartoonist and illustrator, 1977—; illustrator for GUMBY comics, written by Bob Burden; contributor to various publications, including National Lampoon "Funny Pages," New York Times Book Review, MAD, Spy, Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times, and American Libraries; previously worked as a staff artist for two newspapers in Wichita, KS.

MEMBER:

National Cartoonists Society.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Inkpot Award, San Diego Comiccon, 1980; National Cartoonists Society Award for Magazine and Book Illustration, 1995; Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers selection, American Library Association Young Adult Services Division, 1996, for Jack the Ripper; Eisner Award for Best Publication for a Younger Audience, 2007, for GUMBY Comics.

WRITINGS:

Spider-Man: Ghosts, Ghouls, and the Hobgoblin, illustrated by Ken Steacy, Fun Works (Burbank, CA), 1996.

(And illustrator) The Beast of Chicago: An Account of the Life and Crimes of Herman W. Mudgett, Known to the World as H.H. Holmes …, NBM/ComicsLit (New York, NY), 2003.

(And illustrator, with Mike Richardson) Cravan, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 2005.

(And illustrator) The Case of Madeleine Smith, NBM ComicsLit (New York, NY), 2006.

J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography, Hill and Wang (New York, NY), 2008.

The Lindbergh Child ("A Treasury of XXth Century Murder" graphic novel series), ComicsLit (New York, NY), 2008.

ILLUSTRATOR:

Donna Z. Meilach, Plant Hangers, Crown (New York, NY), 1977.

J. Arthur Campbell, Chemistry: The Unending Frontier, Goodyear Publishing (Santa Monica, CA), 1978.

Donna Z. Meilach, Macrame Gnomes and Puppets, Crown (New York, NY), 1980.

Byron Preiss and Michael Sorkin, Not the Webster's Dictionary, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1983.

Robert M. Gorodess, How to Sell Remodeling, Craftsman Book Co. (Carlsbad, CA), 1985.

Mark Davies, Inside the Airport, Contemporary Books (Chicago, IL), 1990.

David Keller, Great Disasters: The Most Shocking Moments in History, Avon (New York, NY), 1990.

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, Berkley Publishing Group (New York, NY), 1990.

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Berkley Publishing Group (New York, NY), 1990.

H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man, Berkley Publishing Group (New York, NY), 1991.

Jerry Prosser, Cyberantics: A Little Adventure, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1992.

Ilene Rosenzweig, The I Hate Madonna Handbook, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.

Francis L. Fennell, Collegiate English Handbook, Collegiate Press (San Diego, CA), 1998.

Katia E. Moritz and Jennifer Jablonsky, Blink, Blink, Clop, Clop: Why Do We Do Things We Can't Stop? An OCD Storybook, Childswork, Childsplay (Secaucus, NJ), 1998.

Patricia Lakin, Harry Houdini: Escape Artist, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2002.

CARTOON BOOKS

Television, Schanes & Schanes (San Diego, CA), 1978.

Hello from San Diego, Schanes & Schanes (San Diego, CA), 1978.

Byting Back: A Compendium of TechnoWhimsy, Valleyware Publishing (Solana Beach, CA), 1983.

COLLECTIONS

U-Comix Sonderband 28, Volksverlag (Linden, West Germany), 1980.

At Home with Rick Geary, Fantagraphics Books (Agoura, CA), 1985.

Rick Geary's Wonders & Oddities, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1988.

Housebound with Rick Geary, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1991.

Prairie Moon and Other Stories, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1992.

"TREASURY OF VICTORIAN MURDER" SERIES; GRAPHIC NOVELS

A Treasury of Victorian Murder, NBM Publishing (New York, NY), 1987, new edition, 2002.

Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel Murders, 1888-1889, NBM Publishing (New York, NY), 1995.

The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir of the Infamous Double Murder at Fall River, Mass., 1892, NBM Publishing (New York, NY), 1997.

The Fatal Bullet: A True Account of the Assassination, Lingering Pain, Death, and Burial of James A. Garfield, Twentieth President of the United States; Also Including the Inglorious Life and Career of the Despised Assassin Guiteau, NBM Publishing (New York, NY), 1999, published as The Fatal Bullet: The Assassination of President James A. Garfield, 2001.

The Mystery of Mary Rogers, NBM Publishing (New York, NY), 2001.

The Murder of Abraham Lincoln: A Chronicle of 62 Days in the Life of the American Republic, March 4-May 4, 1865, NBM ComicsLit (New York, NY), 2005.

The Saga of the Bloody Benders, Comicslit (New York, NY), 2008.

COMICS

The Exploits of the Junior Carrot Patrol: "The Unbelievable Journey," Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1989.

The Exploits of the Junior Carrot Patrol: "The Backwards Machine," Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1990.

Blanche Goes to New York, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1992.

Blanche Goes to Hollywood, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1993.

Blanche Goes to Paris, Headless Shakespeare Press (Seattle, WA), 2001.

SELF-ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN'S BOOKS

The Night before Christmask, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1994.

The Mask Summer Vacation, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1995.

The Mask in School Spirits, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1995.

Spider-Man: Chase for the Blue Tiger, YES! Entertainment (Pleasanton, CA), 1995.

Spider-Man: Lights, Camera, Danger! XYZ Distributors (Wauwatosa, WI), 1996.

Regular contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including San Diego Reader, 1975—, National Lampoon, 1979-92, Copley News Service, 1985-97, New York Times Book Review, 1988-92, and Mad magazine, 1996-2000. Also contributor of illustrations to SanDiego Union-Tribune, Spy, Old Farmer's Almanac, American Libraries, Pulse, Wood and Steel, Rolling Stone, Computoredge, Roadstar, California Lawyer, Los Angeles magazine, San Diego magazine, and Los Angeles Times. Contributor of writings and illustrations to "Society of Horrors," in Disney Adventures magazine, 1999—.

SIDELIGHTS:

Rick Geary is a prominent cartoonist whose drawings have illustrated such well-known venues as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times as well as National Lampoon and Mad, magazines long loved for their comics. Young adults may know Geary's work through his contributions to these periodicals or for his graphic novels, notably his contributions to the "Treasury of Victorian Murder" series published by NBM Publishers. Reviewers have found Geary's additions to the series meticulously researched and intriguingly illustrated with unusual points of view and details that add to the tone as well as to the historical veracity of the stories. His Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel Murders, 1888-1889 was selected for the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers List by the American Library Association's Young Adult Services Division, and The Mystery of Mary Rogers, The Fatal Bullet: A True Account of the Assassination, Lingering Pain, Death, and Burial of James A. Garfield, Twentieth President of the United States; Also Including the Inglorious Life and Career of the Despised Assassin Guiteau, and The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir of the Infamous Double Murder at Fall River, Mass., 1892 were each also noted by reviewers for their likely appeal to reluctant readers.

In Jack the Ripper, Geary details the murders of five London prostitutes in 1888 in police-procedural style, sifting through the evidence, including coroner's reports, witnesses' accounts, and clues. His artwork and a "deadpan pulp narrative" create a haunting volume in which the hypocrisy of Victorian society is highlighted, according to a contributor to Publishers Weekly. Another famous unsolved murder inspired The Borden Tragedy, in which Geary goes over the murder of Abby and Andrew Borden, head of a prominent Massachusetts family, and the trial and acquittal of Andrew's daughter, Lizzy, who was never exonerated in the public eye. "It's Geary's artfully precise reconstruction of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Fall River that makes this work so haunting, and such a delight," observed a contributor to Publishers Weekly, who compared it favorably to Geary's Jack the Ripper. Like the earlier case, much has already been written about the Borden case, remarked Ray Olson in Booklist, who added that "the comics medium arguably communicates the facts more forcefully and memorably than any of the many other works about the crimes."

In The Fatal Bullet, Geary tells the parallel stories of President Garfield and Charles Guiteau, the man who shot the U.S. president in the back of the head while Garfield was boarding a train six months into his presidency. The two were strangely similar in background and interests—both studied law and politics—and Geary plays the two off each other, alternating the story of Garfield's rise to the rank of general during the Civil War and then on to the presidency with Guiteau's gradual descent into madness. Geary's text and illustrations also reveal historical details such as the relative dearth of security around the president and the dismal state of medicine, which caused Garfield to suffer for months before dying of his bullet wound. Booklist reviewer Ray Olson compared The Fatal Bullet favorably to The Borden Tragedy, remarking that here Geary "surpasses his own bravura" in the earlier book's illustrations, singling out "subtly expressive facial drawing, and skillful juxtaposition of frames" for special praise.

In The Mystery of Mary Rogers, Geary offers his own true-crime comic "take" on another famous nineteenth-century murder, following in the footsteps of Edgar Allan Poe to tell the tale of the popular cigar girl who was abused and thrown to her death in the Hudson River in 1841. When Mary Rogers was found dead in the river, a quick burial and the proximity of the victim to the Manhattan elite provoked rumors of a botched abortion and a cover-up. Speculation about the perpetrator was rampant. As in his earlier entries in this series, Geary does not attempt to solve the crime, but presents again all the evidence and uses his illustrations to offer the variety of possible suspects and outcomes. Geary's illustrations "capture the spirit of a booming and boisterous New York City in the 1840s," remarked a contributor to Publishers Weekly. Christine C. Menefee made a similar point in her review in School Library Journal, and concluded that "with its commendable historical accuracy, [The Mystery of Mary Rogers] would also enliven studies of U.S. history."

In The Murder of Abraham Lincoln: A Chronicle of 62 Days in the Life of the American Republic, March 4-May 4, 1865, Geary offers readers yet another of his depictions of a true-life murder out of the pages of his- tory. But the story as he writes and illustrates it goes further than the traditional tale as relayed to numerous high school history classes across the country each year. Yes, Geary portrays John Wilkes Booth as the evil villain, Mary Todd Lincoln as the shocked and grieving widow, and poor Abe Lincoln as the hard-working leader of a nation just managing to pull itself out of the depths of a civil war. However, Geary also shows readers the larger picture, which includes the fact that the shooting at Ford's Theater on that fateful night was meant as the cutting blow and final act in a conspiracy that was intended to bring down the existing government once and for all. The plot itself called for Lincoln's abduction, not his murder, and the intention was to ransom the president in order to achieve the release of a number of Confederate prisoners. However, Booth's hasty actions served to destroy the plans and instead resulted in Lincoln being hailed as both hero and martyr. Elizabeth Kiem, in a review for the Bookslut Web site, remarked of Geary's handling of the material that "the narrative is quick and a little quirky, and bows before the illustrations for the honor of heightening the drama." Kiem also noted: "We also must thank Geary for at least one image that has probably never been seen before—that of Secretary of State William Seward in a neck brace, helpless and horrified by a madman's plunging knife." Ray Olson, writing for Booklist, dubbed the book "another honorable entry in a fascinating series."

Cravan teams Geary with Mike Richardson, the DC Comics publisher, as they recount the tale of Arthur Craven. Born Fabian Lloyd during the late nineteenth century, Craven claimed to be the nephew of Oscar Wilde, and he traveled around the world living a fascinating life on the basis of a series of lies and cons. He had a collection of fake names to go with his fake lives, and as a result it is uncertain just what he actually accomplished and what was part of the personas he constructed. Reviewing for Booklist, Ray Olson remarked that "all those escapades and more Geary renders in his characteristically droll, historically observant manner."

The Saga of the Bloody Benders tells the eerie tale of the Bender family, consisting of a mother, father, and their grown son and daughter, who settle in Kansas along the Osage trail in 1870. The father only speaks German, while the mother speaks hardly at all. Therefore, when they build not just a house but an inn and a small grocery store, the two grown children take charge of their business transactions. As time goes by, travelers along the Osage trail, which runs from the northeastern portion of the state down toward the central, southern part of the state, begin to disappear. However, because of the nature of traveling at the time, the disappearances are not immediately noticed, and it is a while before they are finally linked to the disturbing and savage Benders. Francisca Goldsmith, in a review for School Library Journal, wrote that the "details are well researched and presented in suspenseful, Victorian-like perspective, moody with minimalist detail."

With J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography, Geary offers readers a straightforward biography of the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, tracing him from his formative years up through the course of his career, and illustrating his life with a series of crisp, clean drawings that keep a brisk pace to accompany the narrative. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews observed that "Geary expertly marks the exacting effort with which Hoover set out during the Depression years to transform the oft-ignored, nearly powerless bureau." Ray Olson, reviewing for Booklist, praised the book overall but found it somewhat sparse when compared to some of Geary's other efforts, ultimately dubbing it "a dandy skim over a fascinating figure."

Geary once told CA: "At first, my only ambition was to be a freelance cartoonist and illustrator. In time, I found that there was a certain kind of illustrated storytelling I wanted to pursue, which I did initially in a series of self-published mini-books. This led to twelve years of contributing comic stories to National Lampoon, and thence to more or less continuous work in the comic book industry.

"My interest in the strange and unusual corners of history, particularly true crime, led me to the continuing ‘Treasury of Victorian Murder’ series for NBM Publishing, the latest volume of which is The Mystery of Mary Rogers. My goal in these books is clarity and accuracy, above all, along with a certain deadpan humor.

"I work in a studio at my home near downtown San Diego. Though I value the freedom of working at home, my days are necessarily highly structured in order to complete the half-dozen or so projects I have going at one time. Self-employment, it took me years to learn, requires self-discipline.

"There are many artists and writers whose work I enjoy and appreciate, but the most influential, as both artist and writer, is probably the late Edward Gorey."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 1997, Ray Olson, review of The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir of the Infamous Double Murder at Fall River, Mass., 1892, p. 604; July, 1999, Ray Olson, review of The Fatal Bullet: A True Account of the Assassination, Lingering Pain, Death, and Burial of James A. Garfield, Twentieth President of the United States; Also Including the Inglorious Life and Career of the Despised Assassin Guiteau, p. 1919; April 15, 2001, Ray Olson, review of The Mystery of Mary Rogers, p. 1514; June 1, 2005, Ray Olson, review of The Murder of Abraham Lincoln: A Chronicle of 62 Days in the Life of the American Republic, March 4-May 4, 1865, p. 1770; November 15, 2005, Ray Olson, review of Cravan, p. 35; December 1, 2007, Ray Olson, review of J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography, p. 32.

Bookslut, June 8, 2008, Elizabeth Kien, review of The Murder of Abraham Lincoln.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2007, review of J. Edgar Hoover.

Publishers Weekly, April 17, 1995, review of Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel Murders, 1888-1889, p. 42; January 19, 1998, review of The Borden Tragedy, p. 364; July 12, 1999, review of The Fatal Bullet, p. 86; May 28, 2001, review of The Mystery of Mary Rogers, p. 52.

School Library Journal, September, 1990, Sylvia S. Marantz, review of Inside the Airport, p. 215; March, 1998, Francisca Goldsmith, review of The Borden Tragedy, p. 249; August, 2001, Christine C. Menefee, review of The Mystery of Mary Rogers, p. 213; December, 2002, Edith Ching, review of Harry Houdini: Escape Artist, p. 124; September 1, 2007, Francisca Goldsmith, review of The Saga of the Bloody Benders, p. 226.

ONLINE

Rick Geary Home Page,http://www.rickgeary.com (January 15, 2003).

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