is an American
artist who illustrated for books, magazines and comic books from the 1960s to the 1990s. He was recognized for his work in comics with a Shazam Award for Best Inker (Humor Division) in 1973 and 1974.
While attending the High School of Art and Design in New York City, Reese began his career in 1966 at age 16, as an assistant to Wally Wood. He worked on a variety of Wood projects from Topps trading cards to the DC Comics series Superboy. Reese's recollection of meeting Wood was quoted in Alter Ego:
- After a while, I got to keeping his files in order. His file was astounding! He must have had 30 file drawers of clippings, and I kept them in order. I also kept the place in order. When I first met Wally he had been working in the same room for 12 years, so there was a lot of clutter. The first time I saw his studio I couldn't figure out what was hanging from the ceiling. There were all these things with grey felt on them. They turned out to be hundreds of model airplanes on strings, covered with dust.
With the Wood Studio as a launching pad, Reese became a prolific freelancer. In 1969-1970, for Robert Sproul's Major Publications, he was a regular contributor to Web of Horror, edited by Terry Bisson. One of his earliest credited stories, scripted by Terry Bisson, was "The Skin-Eaters" in the first issue of Web of Horror, and the team of Bisson and Reese returned in the second issue. He also illustrated two Otto Binder scripts for Web of Horror.
During the 1970s, Reese artwork surfaced in a wide variety of publications, from underground comics
to slick magazines
, including National Lampoon
. In Comics Interview
, Larry Hama
recalled working with Reese and Wood:
- I guess in 1971 or thereabouts, I was living in Brooklyn and working with Ralph Reese, freelance stuff. I was penciling, and he was inking. We were doing a lot of jobs for National Lampoon. At the time, Woody was moving to Brooklyn, six to eight blocks from where I lived. In the process of helping him move, he said, "Hey, are you interested in a semi-regular job?" I said sure.
Reese worked from 1972 to 1977 at Neal Adams' Continuity Associates studio at 9 East 48th Street in Manhattan. There he became acquainted with the work and art of freelance artists that included Jack Abel, Sergio Aragones, Dick Giordano, Russ Heath, Bob McLeod, Marshall Rogers, Joe Rubinstein and Lynn Varley. At Continuity, Reese and Hama sometimes worked as a team, and they created numerous illustrations for clients, including the Children's Television Workshop.
Reese's comic book credits include pages for Acclaim
, Byron Preiss
, DC Comics
, Eclipse Comics
, Marvel Comics
, Skywald Publications
and Warren Publishing
. In 1973, he did a memorable adaptation of Thomas Disch
's "The Roaches" for Marvel's Monsters Unleashed
. He collaborated with Byron Preiss on the book One Year Affair
(Workman, 1976), originally serialized in National Lampoon
In 1982, Reese teamed with Al Williamson, Dan Green and Carlos Garzon to bring Philip K. Dick to comic books in an adaptation of the movie Blade Runner. Also during the 1980s, Reese illustrated several titles in Bantam Books' "Choose Your Own Adventure" series. In 1991, he worked on the Flash Gordon comic strip, and from 1992 to 1997, did considerable work for Magnus Robot Fighter and other Valiant Comics.