Rip Kirby the best comic strip start ever
Rip Kirby is a 1946-1999 American comic strip created by Alex Raymond and Ward Greene featuring the adventures of private detective Rip Kirby. With a run spanning five decades, the strip was in the hands of writer/artist John Prentice for more than 40 years.
After World War II, Raymond did not return to work on any of his previous successful comic strips (Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, Secret Agent X-9) but instead began work on a new strip in which ex-Marine Rip Kirby returns from World War II and goes to work as a private detective, sometimes accompanied by his girlfriend, fashion model Judith Lynne “Honey” Dorian. (Her given name and nickname were borrowed from the names of Raymond’s three daughters.)
Rip Kirby was based on the suggestion by King Features editor Ward Greene that Raymond try a “detective-type” strip. First published on March 4, 1946, the strip was given significant promotion by the syndicate, even including fully painted promotional art, a rarity in comic-strip promotions. The strip enjoyed success, and Raymond received the Reuben Award in 1949.
During Raymond’s years on the strip, the stories were initially written by Ward Greene and later, following Greene’s death, by Fred Dickenson. Some sequences were also written by Raymond. In 1956, Raymond was killed in a car crash. King Features quickly needed a replacement and found it in John Prentice. Dickenson continued to write the series until the mid-1980s when he was forced to retire for health reasons. Prentice then took over the writing along with others. Prentice kept the strip going until his own death in 1999. The strip ended with Rip’s retirement on June 26, 1999. Prentice received the National Cartoonists Society Story Comic Strip Award for 1966, 1967, and 1986 for his work on the strip.
Over the years of publication, the strip was ghosted and assisted by many artists and writers, including Frank Bolle (who completed the last episode), Al Williamson, and Gray Morrow.