Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Dick Hodgins, Jr. 1931 - 2016

Dick Hodgins, Jr. has died. Hodgins died of complications cancer treatments for inoperable lung cancer at his home in Wilton, CT on Sunday, April 3, 2016, his son, Richard Hodgins III told WestportNow. He was 84.

Perhaps best known as Hank Ketcham's assistant on the HALF HITCH comic strip, as well as a stalwart cartoonist for King Features, working on such popular comic strips as HAGAR THE HORRIBLE and HENRY. Before that, he worked for the Associated Press where he did a "wide variety of art," and then joined the New York Daily News as editorial cartoonist. He won multiple awards from the National Cartoonists Society, including the prestigious Silver T-Square. He also won two NCS Division awards in the Advertising and Illustration categories in the 1960s and two more for his editorial cartoons in the 1970s. The Connecticut chapter of the National Cartoonists Society gave him its "Legends" award.

I considered Dick Hodgins, Jr. a friend and one of the nicest gentlemen cartoonists you would ever meet. I met him when he was honored by the Connecticut chapter of the National Cartoonists Society. He had a couple dozen Half Hitch original strips on display. Beautiful work that I admit I stared and stared at. Dick Hodgins' ink line was grand.

Born in Binghamton, NY, the son of Orlando Sentinel cartoonist Dick Hodgins, Sr., the family moved to Queens, NY where he "promptly sold" his first cartoon for a dollar to the New York Mirror when he was twelve years old. After high school, he worked doing illustrations for an educational film company by day, while taking on freelance work at night. Then there was a stint in the US Army, where he was the editor (and pretty much everything else) for the base newspaper in Osaka, Japan, as well as contributing to the Stars and Stripes newspaper.

Back in NYC, he did a stint at the School of Visual Arts, as well as a return to working for the film company. He joined the Associated Press creating "a wide variety of art" for the news service. DENNIS THE MENACE creator Hank Ketcham chose Dick to assist him on his new King Features strip HALF HITCH, which ran from 1970 to 1975.

(Hank Ketcham's HALF HITCH, December 19, 1971; ghost-written by Bob Saylor and drawn by Dick Hodgins, Jr. Copyright KFS.)

After the cancellation of HALF HITCH, Dick Hodgins, Jr. took over the long-running pantomime strip HENRY. And, when I met him, he was inking the HAGAR THE HORRIBLE strip. He continued to draw for local Connecticut newspapers as well.

Dick Hodgins, Jr. is also credited with the creation of the fictional "Jessica Fox" comic strip seen in a ninth season episode of MURDER SHE WROTE titled "The Dead File"

Dick and I would send emails and cards occasionally. He was the nicest guy. I can't tell you how shocked I am. Another talented, kind gentleman cartoonist leaves this Earth.  We are the poorer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had just spoke to him shortly before he died. I am so very sad, and shocked.
Dick and I had been been phone friends for the past 2 plus years. I had 1/3
of the Original comic Strip, "Half Hitch" from a friend of mine who had control
of it while he served in the Navy. My friend gave me what he had left of the Original, and
I sold the 400 strips to The Toonseum back in 2008 in Pittsburgh, PA.
They plan on either this Fall 2016 or Spring 2017 of displaying it.
I was just surfing the web a moment ago when I saw his obituary. I had
planned on calling him again this month, and now I am too late!!! I will be
calling his son, Richard (who had spoken to on the phone more than once) on
Monday, April 18th, 2016 to tell him how very sorry I am for his loss.
I will also be calling my other Cartoonist Friend Ron Ferdinand (who draws
Dennis the Menace) and talking to him briefly about Dick! What a Tragedy!
I am so glad to have known him! I have a drawing he did for me back in 2014
of Hagar the Horrible. He had written down 20014 for the Year. He laughed
when I told him of this error....I told him, "Well, Dick, you simply made it
more valuable now...it's one of a kind Art Work!" We both had a good chuckle about it...
He was a great guy, and a terrific Artist!!! May Dick Rest in Peace!