Dr. John Adkins Richardson
John was our colleague and friend for many, many years. He was Professor Emeritus of Art and Design at SIUE. My wife, Char, had Prof. Richardson as an art history professor at SIUE, while I knew him as mentor for my own fine art and illustration career. He was a brilliant scholar and professor who loved comics. In fact, much of his amazing comic career had to be closeted away from his academic life in order to avoid his colleague’s criticism.
John was the very successful author of Modern Art and Scientific Thought, Art: The Way It Is and The Complete Book of Cartooning. He was also an underground comic artist who published 'Fever Dreams' at Kitchen Sink Press, worked on 'The Hunting of the Snark' for Wally Wood’s Witzend and 'Maxor' for the fanzine, Fantastic Exploits. He was the 1975 Guest of Honor at one of the first St. Louis comic book conventions, Grafcon. John was the cartoonist for the first published graphic novel of Michael Moorcock’s popular fantasy hero, Elric of Melnibone. Best of all, after his work appeared in dozens of fanzines and underground comics in the 60s and 70s, John developed quite a fan following and simply knew “everyone in the comic biz.”
Char and I own a unique collection of John’s published work which was exhibited in February 2018 at the Edwardsville Arts Center. I love most John’s homage to Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland, Mnemo Son of Little Nemo. The best of both sides of his brain are clearly evident. I also displayed a project we were unable to complete together, due to his untimely death, for the revised edition of the Complete Book of Cartooning. John is well represented in the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Art Collection on campus, as well.