Richard “Grass[hopper]” Green was a man of firsts. Pioneer comic book fan, comics artist and writer, and musician, “Grass” Green died on August 5, 2002. To commemorate his talent and life, a new comic book titled Forever Green will be published in November by Main Enterprises.
Forever Green will re-release comic strip and book material that Green created with writer Michael Vance, some that has not been seen outside of Oklahoma.
“I’m quite pleased to be publishing Forever Green, and thank Michael Vance for the opportunity to let people get a chance to see these rare treasures!” said Jim Main, Main Enterprises publisher. “The team of Vance and Green worked so well together in these strips. I’m sure many will enjoy these collections of some of the most offbeat comic material ever seen!”
“He was a real talent,” wrote Roy Thomas who was an editor and writer at America’s two largest comic book publishers, Marvel and DC. “And no less so because he worked in alternative comics instead of the ‘pro’ ones. Quality is quality, wherever you find it.”
In the early ’60s, Green established himself as a founding father of fandom, a loose association of people who love the artform. As the first African-American artist to win popularity there, his work in early fan magazines such as Alter Ego, The Comicollector, Komix Illustrated, Super-Hero, and Masquerader included his two most popular characters, Xal-Kor, the Human Cat and Wildman and Rubberroy.
Praised for his cartoony art on stories that parodied mainstream comics such as The Fantastic Four(Marvel), his realistic art on Xal-Kor in Star-Studded Comics (1964) also won him accolades.
Grass’ art and story was published in newsstand comic book titles including Go-Go and Charlton Premier in early 1967.
Green became the first African-American cartoonist in underground comics beginning in the early ’70s. Super-Soul Comix was a hard-edged expose of racism and bigotry in America at the time. His Wildman and Rubberroy stories would be released by an alternative publisher for twelve issues in the 1980s.
Beginning in the 1982, Grass worked with writer Michael Vance on the comic strip, Holiday Out. Some of this work was published through comic books including Holiday Out Comics (Renegade Press), Comico Primer (Comico) and Mangazine (Antarctic Press). It is selections from this and previously unpublished art and related work that are being published in Forever Green.
Vance has been published in dozens of regional magazines and as a syndicated columnist and cartoonist in over 500 newspapers. His book, Forbidden Adventures, has been called a “benchmark in comics history.” He also has written the comic strip Alley Oop, and comic books including Straw Men, Angel of Death, The Adventures of Captain Nemo, and Bloodtide.
Forever Green will be a digest-sized comic book, available in November.